Since the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th Century, those, who could afford it, fled the malodour of the city during the summer months. In a time span of three centuries over 6000 summer residences appeared all over the country and especially around Amsterdam. Today, some 10% of these historic houses for the summer still survive. This exhibition tells the story of these houses, why they came into existence, how the city dwellers spend their time during summer and how the once spectacular gardens and parks of these houses are maintained and reconstructed today.
The leading theme of the exhibition concerns the rich and influential bourgeoisie families who once lived in the city palace Geelvinck
Hinlopen Huis. Their palatial country houses were exemplary. Many still exist and often the gardens can be visited.
Important exhibits, such as a painting of the country house and gardens of Elswout by Jan van der Heyden (1637-1712) on loan from the Frans Hals Museum, a huge painting of a city garden The courtyard of the Proveniershuis (1735) by Vincent Laurensz van der Vinne II (1686-1742) on loan from the Rijksmuseum Twente and a large reverse glass painting of the country house of Soelen by Jonas Zeuner (1727-1814) on loan from the Amsterdam Museum, are on view. Connected to the exhibition is a new website, which stimulates visiting the gardens and parks of the country houses around Amsterdam, which are open for the public.
The exhibition was developed in a unique collaboration between the museum and the three largest conservation organisations of the Dutch countryside, Staatsbosbeheer (state forestry commission), Natuurmonumenten (nature monuments society) and De12Landschappen (the 12 provincial countryside trusts).
As part of the opening ceremony, the Dutch première took place of the recently retrieved piece Allegro molto (c. 1767) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Sterzing copy, 1780); it was played by Kaoru Iwamura on a square pianoforte by Buntebart and Sievers (1787).
The exhibition is open to the public from 11th July till 4th February 2013. The museum is open daily from 11 AM till 5 PM and closed on Tuesday.