Vermeer at the Vecht

Oudaen Castle, Breukelen

A picturesque string of country homes, forts, tea pavilions and castles lines the Vecht River. Most date from the 17th and 18th centuries, when rich Amsterdam merchants commissioned a second home along the river to be built or renovated. Oudaen Castle in Breukelen is much older than that. Once occupied by knights, this 13th-century manse with drawbridge is situated on an island surrounded by a moat.

Still lives and vistas reminiscent of Vermeer are around every corner. Even his signature palette of colours –luminescent blue, pastel yellow and whitish-grey– are reflected in the home. Wherever possible, the beams have been painted in oxblood red: a colour used since the Middle Ages to paint ceilings, shutters, doors, and frames. Walls or niches that had to be replastered were deliberately given an uneven surface. The challenge for Gert Voorjans was to incorporate a contemporary intervention into a building so drenched in history, while still doing justice to its historical significance. In harmony with the location, Voorjans left his mark in discreet and authentic ways, as though the house had always been decorated as it is now. 

Photography: Tim Van de Velde | Text: Gert Voorjans & Thijs Demeulemeester