Gunterstein is a castle in Breukelen, on the river Vecht, that was the former home of the rich Dutch widow Magdalena Poulle (1626–1699). She bought the property and associated title after the former castle and stronghold was destroyed by the French in the rampjaar 1672.
Gunterstein castle was built in 1681 on the foundations of an earlier castle, by the architect Adriaan Dortsman (who also designed the new Lutheran church in Amsterdam. The castle grounds had been home to two previous constructions; a 14th-century castle named after Gysbrecht Gunter was destroyed in 1511. After being rebuilt by Gunter descendents, it changed hands several times and belonged for a short time to Johan van Oldenbarnevelt until he was beheaded in 1619. That building was later burned by the French in 1672 along with nearby Castle Nijenrode.
The wealthy Amsterdam widow Magdalena Poulle bought the castle in 1680 and called herself Lady Gunterstein from then onwards. It is her family shield which is above the windows. She planned to leave the house to her nephew Pieter and had him lay the first stone at age three. Her portrait was made along with her nephew holding Dortsman's groundplan by the Amsterdam portrait painter David van der Plas, himself the son-in-law of the architect. This portrait still hangs above the mantelpiece where it was installed in 1683.
Magdalena Poulle became an avid gardener and commissioned a book of etchings called Veues de Gunterstein, dedicated to Madame de Gunterstein et de Thienhoven. This book contains one of the earliest pictures of a Dutch orangerie with hothouses, and was highly influential on later botanists and wealthy garden owners such as Agnes Block and George Clifford III, who also sought to grow unusual plants and record them in albums.
Today, Gunterstein is still a home to descendents of Magdalena Poulle. The surrounding park which is open to the public, is protected as a rijksmonument, as well as all of the older structures around it.References:
Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building"s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l"Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d"Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France"s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.
Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres and the complex had fifteen courtyards. Jules Hardouin Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant"s designs after the elder architect"s death.
Shortly after the veterans" chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature. Inspired by St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome, the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour. It was finished in 1708.
Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.
The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d"artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the Historical Museum of the Armies in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l"armée in 1905. At the same time the veterans in residence were dispersed to smaller centres outside Paris. The reason was that the adoption of a mainly conscript army, after 1872, meant a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans having the twenty or more years of military service formerly required to enter the Hôpital des Invalides. The building accordingly became too large for its original purpose. The modern complex does however still include the facilities detailed below for about a hundred elderly or incapacitated former soldiers.