Vincent and country house “De Moeren 1818”
Based upon “Like a farmer from Zundert” by Frank Kools
Countryhouse “De Moeren 1818” is a beautiful location just outside of Zundert’s city center. The location has a rich history and is connected to Vincent van Gogh’s life.
Below are some facts about “De Moeren 1818”:
- The estate has been owned by only one family ever since 1543; René de Chalon’s descendants
- The estate covers over 600 acres of land and consists of marshes, forests, moors, fields and a rich variation of wildlife
- The country house as it is today was built in 1818; this is why it’s called “De Moeren 1818” nowadays
- In 1807, Govert George I van der Hoeven inherited the estate. His family played an important role in Dutch politics, namely in the city of Breda. Through their political activities they met Vincent van Gogh’s family. Vincent’s grandfather was a minister at a large church in Breda, and also at the Royal Military Academy (KMA). Govert George II van der Hoeven was also connected to the KMA, as he was a teacher there
- Every summer, the Van der Hoeven’s stayed at country house “De Moeren,” where Vincent’s family would visit them. At the time, Vincent’s father, Dorus van Gogh, was a minister in Zundert
Although no paintings by Vincent’s hand exist from this period, he used to write and talk of Zundert’s influence on his artistic shaping. Up until he was sixteen years old, Vincent regularly stayed in Zundert. Vincent’s sister Lies also commented on Zundert:
It was so beautiful in the moors
“He walked past the children without saying a word. He exited through the garden gates, towards the meadows. Yes, he went to the brook. The children would be able to tell because of the bottle and scoop net he would carry with him… They knew how skilled he was at catching the water animals. When he returned, he would sometimes show them what he caught: bugs and beetles, tiny ones and very large ones as well. Broad beetles with shiny, black-blue shields, large round eyes and legs that nervously retracted the moment they stopped feeling water under them. Their brother knew each one of them by name.”
A boy that completely immerses himself in his outdoor adventures. This is the image that Lies van Gogh (Vincent’s younger sister by six years) conveys of her brother in her text “Memories of her brother”. A boy who knew where rare flowers grew, found new look-outs everywhere, and would spy on animals in their natural habitats.
Growing up surrounded by moors, marshes, forests and fields filled with wheat sheaves left an indelible impression on the young Vincent van Gogh. From the large city of The Hague, Vincent wrote to Theo: “You write about the Moors and pinewoods near you. Well, I feel a never-ending homesickness when I think of those things.”
What exactly did it mean for Vincent, to grow up in Zundert’s rural surroundings?
His love for nature definitely originated here, as did his passion for taking long walks. His admiration for the hardworking farmers and farmhands he painted so frequently probably did as well.
A visit to “De Moeren 1818” still conveys the feeling of taking a step back into the 19th century. It does so because of the following elements:
- The country house is fully furnished in 19th century style, even the kitchen still possesses this old-fashioned coziness, although it has been fitted with all modern conveniences
- Nature here is as pure and unspoilt as it was centuries ago
- This location gives a great opportunity to experience the environment that Vincent grew up in: “the bourgeoisie, that barely mixed with the farmers.”
- The peace and quiet this location offers
All of the above combined will ensure that a visit to “De Moeren 1818” causes the visitor to really be WOW-ed.
WOW, because you don’t expect an estate like this in Zundert’s surroundings.
WOW, because of the estate’s 19th century appearance.
The country house is currently available as a meeting location, or for exclusive, small-scaled visits.