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:
The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.
The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.
Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.
The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.
Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.
The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.
During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.
In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.