Welcome at Airborne Museum 'Hartenstein'

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An inn named Het Rode Hert (‘The Red Deer’ or ‘The Red Heart’ in the regional dialect), was mentioned for the first time in 1728. The inn was on the Utrechtseweg (Utrecht Road) in Oosterbeek, which was a favourable location because the road connecting Arnhem and Wageningen was becoming increasingly important.

The provincial government ordered the road to be widened and paved, and trees were planted on either side of it. Opposite the inn was a country track over the heath from Dreien to Papendal. At the time, the Hartenstein estate did not exist. In 1779, J. van der Sluys, attorney to the Gelderland Court, bought the inn and its surrounding land. He had the inn pulled down and a mansion built, with annexes approximately on the spot where the Hartenstein@Laurie restaurant (previously the Kleyn Hartensteyn restaurant) is now situated. He named the mansion Hartenstein, probably after Het Rode Hert.

Harten could refer to hert (deer or heart), while the word stein means stone or brick road. After Van der Sluys sold Hartenstein in 1792, the mansion had several owners. Around 1865, the current villa was built. Its owner, Amsterdam real estate agent Th. Sanders, had all the buildings demolished and built a new villa with a coach house and other annexes. Since 1978, the Airborne Museum has been located in the villa, while the Hartenstein@Laurie restaurant is in the former coach house. After Sanders, the estate was owned by the wealthy Arnhem timber trader G.J. Verburgt, who enlarged the villa by adding conservatories on the south and east sides around 1905. The design of the gardens from that period also shows that Hartenstein was prospering in the early years of the twentieth century.

After Verburgt and his wife passed away, the ownership of the villa and the surrounding land passed to the Verburgt-Molhuysen Foundation, which rented the entire estate out to “Het Hemeldal” (The Valley of Heaven) nursing home.

In 1942, the Municipality of Renkum became the owner of the villa and it was turned into a hotel. During the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944, Hotel Hartenstein played a central role as the headquarters of the British Airborne Division, which was commanded by Major-General Roy E. Urquhart.

The Airborne Museum was founded in 1949. It was initially in one of the annexes of Doorwerth Castle, but was moved to the former British headquarters in 1978. On 11 May of that year, the museum was officially reopened by the former commander, Major-General Roy E. Urquhart.

Hotel Hartenstein 1944 Hotel Hartenstein 1945
Hotel Hartenstein 1944 Hotel Hartenstein 1945

Foto's: Collectie Airborne Museum 'Hartenstein'

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