|Het Gein is the name of the property - see website|
The visit to Holland was added to the week we spent in the Normandy area of France. My sister and I wanted to explore more of the land of our birth. We were born in the southern part of Holland (Uden, Noord Brabant) and with our parents and three other siblings emigrated to America when we were in elementary school - quite a while ago. Although we had both spent several vacations in southern Holland, we had never devoted much time to this part of the country. So, for this trip, we (with willing husbands in tow) wanted to explore the Amsterdam and other near-by areas.
I found this house on the Home Away website link and thought it sounded too good to be true. The cost was much less than renting an apartment in Amsterdam and it had two bedrooms with bathrooms en-suite. Even better, there was a place to park our car since we did want to keep it for our non-city excursions.
The descriptions and history were intriguing:
Getting there was a little tricky for the Renault Trafic (HUGE tank-like car) we had rented in France and continued to keep for this week. My poor husband had to navigate some very narrow roads to get to the property which is located on the River Gein and surrounded on several sides by small canals. Once established in our new home, we figured out a system for getting in and out of the gate which involved traffic control by my brother-in-law and the requirement that my sister and I stay as far out of the way as possible.The B&B has a rich history: until the 60’s the summerhouse was a cattle shed with hay-loft and the farm was leased by a farmer’s family. Later on the land was sold by the Amsterdam municipality to the famous Dutch sculptor Nel van Lith. On the old hay-loft she gave sculptor lessons to our Queen Beatrix (then Princess). From 1995 a garden architect lived here and she designed the English/French garden that is still intact today. Since May 2010 the B&B Het Gein is situated in the summerhouse.
The original property was built in 1865 as a farm with several attached and detached outbuildings. Our wonderful hosts, Stephanie and Raymond, lived with their two beautiful daughters and very affectionate dog, Pukie, in what was once the cattle shed - attached to the farmhouse with limited separation. The structure reminded us of the old farmhouse with similar accommodations for milk cows that our grandparents had in Holland when we were young.
The house we lived in was once a home for pigs (can't bear to call it a pig-stye) and a hay loft. It had been beautifully renovated with all necessary modern conveniences including nicely designed bathrooms and a great country kitchen. The true magic of the place, however, is the upper loft (former hay-loft) which is open and spacious with lots of windows and the extensive gardens that are both formal and unstructured in design - with plants and trees and places to sit and dream all over!
In trying to find just a few dozen photos to best demonstrate this magic place, I discovered that I had taken over 300 of the place and the neighborhood - and they are all great. Here are a sample:
|The artist - jan Van Kempen - lived next door - website|
|I bought this pencil and charcoal sketch by Jan Ven Kempen. He showed us the house located across from his garden on the Gein River. He made this sketch during winter.|
|Sisters on the deck behind our home|
|Front view of house|