Hackfort Manor was originally a keep that was expanded into a castle in the 13th century. It was destroyed by Spanish troops in 1586 and rebuilt in 1600. It is one of the best preserved fortified stately homes in the province of Gelderland.
The most famous descendant of the Van Hackfort line was Berent (1475-1557). In 1502, he entered the service of the Duke of Guelders and even became commander and deputy to the duke. He also held various posts in the duchy; everything from sheriff to steward. At the time, the Duke of Guelders was at war with the Spanish Habsburg ruler and Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, in an attempt to protect his duchy from the Habsburgs. When the Duchy of Guelders finally lost its independence in 1543, Berent was among those who signed the treaty. Berent lived to the age of 80 and his tomb can still be seen in the church in Vorden.
In 1585, Spanish troops conquered the city of Zutphen and the region turned into a battleground. It was plundered and burned by friend and foe alike and during a failed attempt by the Maurice of Nassau’s Dutch States Army to win back Zutphen, Hackfort Castle was destroyed by the Spaniards. It wasn’t until 1591 that Prince Maurice managed to reclaim Zutphen so that the region could slowly start to recover.
In 1788, Hackfort Castle underwent substantial renovations. The old gate house and outbuildings were demolished and the canals were filled in. The castle was transformed into an 18th-century manor house. Today, only the two towers serve as reminders of the former castle. In 1981, Hackfort Manor passed to The Netherlands Natural Heritage Society (Natuurmonumenten) and the house, coach house and watermill have since been restored and opened to the public. Hackfort Manor’s lovely estate is open to the public as well and the natural heritage society is currently working hard to restore the gardens to their original condition.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.