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Author Archives: Pim Alofs

Monumental trees in the national register

The number of monumental trees at Huis Landfort was much greater before 1945 than it is now. Fortunately, there are still seven monumental trees on the Kleine Erf (house island) that appear in the Bomenstichting’s (Tree Foundation) national register of monumental trees. We are particularly proud of these trees, which include an American tulip tree, bald cypress, two hornbeams, a white walnut or butternut, Dutch lime and an oak-leaf beech. 

The fact that trees played an important role for the Luyken family at Huis Landfort is demonstrated by a publication that appeared in 1941 in the German magazine Mitteilungen der Deutschen Dendrologischen Gesellschaft upon the death of Bertha Luyken-Schlimmer (Gorsel 1855 – Huis Landfort 1941), the wife of Albert Gustav Luyken. She also had a great interest in special trees, some of which can still be admired, such as two impressive hornbeams and some bald cypresses.

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Thirty citrus trees

They are here: thirty citrus trees on stems arrived at Landfort today. This long-term loan from the Foundation for the preservation of the Citrus collection was delivered to us by board member Kees Beelaerts van Blokland and his partner.. With the 30 Agapanthuses already present, this forms the basis for the subtropical plant collection that will be established at Landfort.

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Out and about with the team of volunteers

Without volunteers, things would not run as smoothly as they do now at Huis Landfort. That is why we concluded a successful year of collaboration by first visiting Mr and Mrs Van Lynden at Castle Keppel on 11 December with the entire group of volunteers and employees, followed by a delicious dinner at Eet-Lokaal, the organic restaurant of/at Huis Sevenaer in Zevenaar. Combining these two visits worked out very nicely. As a gift, all volunteers received cheese from organic farmer Keuper van de Raesfeldstede in Megchelen. A wonderful way for the foundation and the entire team to end a successful year at Huis Landfort! Thank you all.

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De-rendering facade

The plastered facade is a typical feature of Huis Landfort. The house is neoclassical in design and such white-plastered facades fit perfectly. Although the plaster layer still looked fine, it is necessary for proper repairs to remove and then reapply it. Some parts of the plaster layer were loose on the facade. On a side-note, the building’s history revealed itself when the plaster layer was removed. The removed layer consisted of the non-porous portland cement., which was disastrous for the old brick facade because all the moisture remained in the bricks. The new plaster layer will be made from old-fashioned lime mortar. This is better for the wall and also gives the building a historically correct appearance. The removal of old layers of plaster is referred to in technical terms as ‘de-rendering’. A de-rendered wall can be repaired more easily and rusted wall anchors from earlier centuries will also be replaced. When that work is done, a strong base for a new plaster layer will automatically emerge. The foundation has also engaged the buildings archeologist Peter Boer (Arcx) to carry out additional archaeological building research now that the plaster layer has been temporarily removed.  

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19th-century bathroom furniture on loan

Of special note is that the board of Twickel in Delden, undisputedly one of the most beautiful historic country estates in the Netherlands, has decided to provide 19th-century bathroom furniture to sEL on long-term loan. This will be restored and then placed in the bathroom, which will serve as a remembrance of the Luyken family. In a number of rooms, future visitors will be able to immerse themselves in the 19th century. By the way, the bath will never be used by anyone.

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Clock tower restored

During your walk on the estate’s grounds, you may have noticed   that Huis Landfort’s roof has been completely restored thanks to Van Wely roofing firm. What you could not see is that the roof is now completely insulated on the inside. This was necessary because temperatures there could reach up to 45 degrees Celsius on hot summer days! Imagine how this would have felt for the maids and other live-in staff who usually slept in the attic.

The clock tower has also been fitted with new lead, and the dial and cast iron weathervane have been restored. Did you know that one of the designs for Huis Landfort from around 1825 shows a much larger clock tower? This is most likely the design of the Anholt architect Johann Theodor Übbing (1786-1864). He drew a colossal tower with as many as three floors. The current elegant tower corresponds to the tower that was ultimately built, but unfortunately, no drawings of that design have been preserved. 

Construction of vegetable garden and espalier tree wall

The foundation will be restoring the vegetable and flower garden at the coach house. When the original garden  fell into disrepair due to World War II and other circumstances, a fruit orchard was created on this site. For this purpose, the 18th-century fishpond was filled in. However, the orchard was discontinued when its yield did not offset all the work it required.  

The fishpond was dug out again around 1970. Recently, the foundation started with the reconstruction design of the vegetable garden created by Korneel Aschman. The earthmoving has already started, the monumental fishpond is now shored up and a new moat has also been dug, derived from old maps. The extra soil dug up was used to create a hill from which future visitors will have a beautiful view over the vegetable garden. On the west side of the vegetable garden, a 90-metre (300 feet) long and 2.4-metre (7′ 10″) high espalier tree wall will be built, consisting of 25 bays.

Fencing

Part of the vegetable garden area will be fenced off with an elegant wooden fence. This will prevent deer from eating the plants and it allows the site to close at night. The wooden fence is designed in the style of an earlier fence that once stood here, a drawing of which, dating from around 1823/1825, has been preserved. Other areas will have iron gates placed in beech hedges. 

At the rear of the coach house there will be a parking area for employees, volunteers and people with disabilities. All other guests will be asked to park at the entrance to the park. This gives visitors to the estate the opportunity to walk to the manor house and relax in the atmosphere of the beautifully scenic landscaped park. It also prevents too many cars from driving through the park. The walk from the existing car park to the coach house is only one kilometre.  

Fruit trees

Let us remain in the vicinity of the coach house and the vegetable garden for a bit. After all, René Dessing has wonderful ideas for the orchard, which will be an extension of the vegetable garden. As an expression of Landfort’s connection with other historic country estates, he wants to plant more than fifty (medium-height) standard fruit trees in the orchard. These varieties will all have a link with other historic Dutch country estates. 

There was no such thing as a country estate without an orchard. In fact, country estates were of great importance in the cultivation and preservation of various fruit tree varieties. You could even say that many varieties survive to this day because of their tucked-away existence on country estates. Consider an apple called Manpads Glorie, named after Huis te Manpad in Heemstede. Until recently, only one tree of that type still lived in the orchard of that country estate. In recent years, grafts have been taken from this unique specimen, one of which is now also in sEL’s possession and will be given a home in our new orchard. In the future, this apple variety and its special history can be found in the orchard of Huis Landfort alongside other special varieties. 

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Progress of coach house and manor house

Now that the scaffolding around the coach house has been removed, the colour of the building is clearly visible, and the addition of the dark blue doors and shutters will create an attractive play of colours. This can be seen more clearly on the manor house, where the windows and cornices have already been painted dark blue (Prussian blue). In combination with the light yellow facades and the cream coloured window frames, a surprisingly pleasant interaction has been created that is quite different from the situation before the restoration. The dormers and chimneys are now painted dark grey instead of cream, which better complements the grey tiled roof. As a result, the pediment of the façade stands out more and contrasts with the tiled roof. It is an inspired choice of colours because they are a reminder of the colours of the Luyken family’s coat of arms and they create a pleasant, inviting atmosphere.

In both the coach house and the manor house, the work is shifting from the exterior to the interior. The completion phase has begun, which includes work such as laying pipes, plastering, tiling, panelling and painting. The interior of the manor house will be taken care of in 2021, and that project has been entrusted to the experts of Bouwstra & Verlaan architectural firm. Work on the coach house and the manor house will be carried out by the craftsmen of Hoffman restoration contractor.

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The coach house orangery

Greenhouse builder Van der Vegt from Bleskensgraaf delivered the orangery at the end of October. This is set against the coach house,  where container plants will hibernate during the winter. Orangeries were common in many country estates and the manor house at Huis Landfort originally boasted an indoor orangery, which was quite exceptional for the Netherlands. In the future, this indoor orangery will be used as a winter garden where the collection of porcelain parrots will be displayed.

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Interior shutters

Huis Landfort has more than fifty windows. All these windows originally had interior shutters that have disappeared over time; only a few of these remained stored in the attic. The continuing commitment of sEL to carry out the best possible restoration of Huis Landfort means that interior shutters will be reinstalled on all windows. Each shutter (2 per window) consists of two parts, which equates to a total of 200 shutter parts! Hoffman, our contractor from Beltrum, makes these in their workshop and it’s quite an extensive project! Each shutter consists of different styles and panels, all of which must fit together seamlessly by means of old-fashioned pin-in-hole connections. The first interior shutters will be installed at the beginning of 2021. They are excellent sun protection systems, safe and useful for temperature monitoring.

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