The Menkemaborg was originally brick-built castle house built in the 14th century. It was dramatically altered around 1700 but has since been barely changed. The Alberda family, the 18th-century occupants, commissioned artists to decorate the interior with impressive chimney-pieces carved with baroque ornaments, and paintings of mythological scenes. A four-poster bed, draped with yellow silk damask from China, has also been preserved.

The rooms, which comprise reception rooms, the gentlemen's room, a study, dining room, bedroom, kitchen and cellars, are fully furnished with furniture, silverware, china, brassware and portrait paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries.

The gardens were reconstructed after the surviving garden design dating from around 1705, and are marked by a clear layout with symmetrical patterns of clipped box enclosing beds of 18th-century flowering and ornamental plants. A particularly pretty part is the walled pleasure garden in front of the pavilion, with its trellissed arches and arbours. The natural 'sundial garden' is special too. To the east of the mansion is the utility area with a kitchen garden where vegetables and potherbs are grown and an orchard with ancient strains of apple trees and a pear-tree pergola. At the heart of the maze you will eventually find an old plane tree. In summer, the flowering rose tunnel is not to be missed!

The complex of the mansion and gardens, surrounded by their tree-shaded moat, offers a vivid impression of how the Groningen aristocracy lived in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The Menkemaborg was owned privately until 1902. The last heirs donated it in 1921 to the Groninger Museum, which restored it in 1927 and opened it to the public. In 1969 the 'Stichting Museum Menkemaborg' was founded that manages the museum and grounds. The largest part of the collection in the Menkemaborg belongs to the Groninger Museum. Most of these came from deconstructed 'borgs', because the province of Groningen once had 200 borgs, and only 16 survive.

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Founded: 14th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Netherlands

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Joanna (6 months ago)
Please check the website before coming to the ticket office. The place is worth visiting to understand the history of the region. The interior, the gardens are beautiful, the staff inside the museum is helpful and kind. What I disliked was that the lady at the ticket office did not know the rules, and on top of that was pretty impolite. Only checking myself afterwords on the website did I realise that I had been entitled to free entry. The list with the entrance fees has 11 (sic!) points all in all. Easy to memorise.
Thomas Fortmann (7 months ago)
Very nice little restaurant besides the museum and garden. Tasty food, very friendly staff. The view ist stunning. Pleased visit.
Ewald Schnug (8 months ago)
Here is the door (25.05.2022) through which I walked into my career 12109 days ago?. A tranquil place to contemplate and reflect on yourself.
Dorothea T (9 months ago)
A hidden gem! Beautiful gardens, friendly staff in the café and stunning museum. Easily accessible by car with parking right next to the museum. No matter your native language, the staff is able to accommodate you with information sheets about the details of each room in the museum in many languages (for example French, German, Italian, English etc)! The attention to detail in each room was breathtaking and well explained in the information sheets. Can highly recommend this museum for a nice weekend trip or for a special lunch at the café.
D Parton (2 years ago)
A beautiful 14th century borg with later additions, with friendly staff and a lovely well kept garden.
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