There’s a really nice group of International women that I’ve had the pleasure to get to know. Once a month, the ladies in the Culture Club (Boy George not involved) organize and take a day trip to a nearby location in Holland, Belgium, Germany etc. to take in some culture and enjoy each other’s company.
This month we traveled 1.5 hours north of Eindhoven to the Hoge Veluwe National Park, the largest national park in the Netherlands. Most of the landscape in the park was created during the last ice age and is made up of woodland and sand dunes.
On the 55 square meter nature reserve stand a few unique attractions, thanks to Anton Kröller, a dutch shipping tycoon, and his German wife, Helene Kröller-Müller. Helene was an avid collector of art and she collected over 200 pieces by Van Gogh, back when his art was still considered “modern.”
Our first stop on our Culture Club trip started at the Kröller-Müller Museum. Opened in 1938, the Kröller-Müller Museum houses the second largest collection of Van Gogh works (the first largest being the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam). We toured the museum and also took a stroll through the outdoor sculpture garden. Though small, the museum has some very famous and impressive works by Van Gogh. This was a treat to see.
We dined in the Museum Restaurant Monsieur Jacques for lunch. Though a small little cafe, they served up typical dutch lunch offering soups, salads and sandwiches.
Jachthuis Sint Hubertus_
Our afternoon activity was visiting the Jachthuis Sint Hubertus, the hunting lodge of the Kröller-Müller family. We enjoyed a guided tour (in English!) and learned the unique history and origin of the property. In 1914, the Kröller-Müller’s commissioned architect, Berlage, to design the massive family home. Berlage not only designed the brick & slate building but he had a hand in designing everything in the interior as well; furniture, gardens, placement of artwork etc. To me, it seemed unusual that an architect would this involved in the interior design of a building. Yet the cohesion of this design was evident throughout the tour, from the symmetry of the building itself to the design of the ceilings and placement of the furniture and art. Everything in this place was so precise and calculated (talk about OCD!).
Our tour guide started by showing us the ornate stained glass window which depicts the legend of Saint Hubert, a hunter who encountered a deer in the woods. The legend states that the deer turned to Hubert and had a crucifix standing between it’s antlers. The deer spoke to Hubert, urging him to lead a holy life. Berlage and the Kröller-Müller’s were inspired by this story which inpiried the layout, decoration and name of this house.
Our tour guide showed us through the entryway, dining room, smoking room, tea room, and study, all with exquisite furniture and fixtures including colorful bricks and tiles on the ceilings, walls, and floors.
We ended our guided tour in Helen’s study and were escorted outside to a beautiful view of the man-made pond on a classically Dutch rainy and foggy day. Overall, the trip to the Hoge Veluwe National Park was a nice intake of dutch art and culture!