Maarssen, Netherlands | C.1628

Photo Credit: Marco de Groot

From politicians to poets, the Goudestein estate has attracted people from all walks of life since it was built in 1628. Located just north of Maarssen, the stately, Neoclassical-style buitenplaats was one of the first country estates along the Vecht river.

In the Netherlands, a ‘buitenplaats’ – which literally translates to “outside place” in English – was a summer residence owned by the elite. During the 17th century, many traders and city administrators became wealthy and subsequently bought country estates which would be used during the summer. In 1608, the Amsterdam merchant Jan Jacobsz Huydecoper purchased a homestead he named “De Gouden Hoeff”.

Over two decades later, Jan’s son, an administrator of the Dutch East India Company and mayor of Amsterdam, built Goudestein on the site of his father’s original estate. In 1656, the Dutch poet, scholar, and composer Constantijn Huygens visited the Huydecoper family and wrote three poems about Goudestein.

The original structure stood along the banks of the Vecht until 1754 when it was demolished. Later rebuilt, the “new Goudestein” remained in the Huydecoper family for centuries. Sophia van der Muelen even recorded in her will that only a member of the Huydecoper family could inherit the property. However, the municipality of Maarssen would change that in 1955 when they purchased and renovated the estate to become the new town hall.

Today, surrounded by its landscape park, orangery, and outlying buildings, the Goudestein is a picturesque escape harkening back to the height of the Dutch Golden Age. Inside, the council chambers and office of the mayor remain, and visitors can marvel at magnificent portraits of the Huydecoper family. The estate continues to be part of city hall and fittingly, can also be rented for weddings.

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