Haardijk 3, Zoelmond.
Right in the heart of Zoelmond – a peaceful village in the rural Betuwe area where children can safely play in the streets and neighbourliness is still very much alive – stands this residence locally known as “Het Klooster”. The primary school is just two hundred metres down the road and the nearest secondary school is a seven-kilometre cycle trip or drive. Zoelmond lies four kilometres from Buren, which is known as the most beautiful old fortress town in the Netherlands. Culemborg, which is bigger and has even more amenities and a train station, is barely eight kilometres. Although Utrecht is less than a twenty-minute drive, it is a world of difference between here and the hustle and bustle of urban life. The stately and nationally listed manor house dates back to 1870 and is separated from the road at the front by several majestic trees and a cast-iron fence. At the even more private side and back of the house unfolds a lush, gorgeously landscaped garden of 10,000 m² – a true paradise with various garden rooms separated by high beech hedges and a “castle wall” with an entrance gate. Apart from the many majestic and ancient deciduous trees, the grounds include an orchard of 900 m² with cherry, apple, pear, and plum trees, almond and walnut trees, and berry bushes in all shapes and sizes, a vegetable patch, extensive lawns, and mysterious hideaways. A giant weeping beech hides a swing and, naturally, the garden includes a tree hut where children can play for days on end! Chickens roam freely among the flower beds. Looking out across this impressive estate, you will undoubtedly feel a huge sense of peace and freedom.
The current owners like to emphasise that the garden from which they eat has been growing organic food for forty years, so no pesticides are used.
They have also elegantly converted the coach house into a guest house with a private terrace, a kitchen, a living room with a fireplace, a wonderful bedroom with an en suite bathroom, and a sauna and gym on the upper floor. Out of sight from the house, in the back of the garden, are a robust and traditionally built wooden barn, a second outbuilding with a workbench and a wood burner, a wood storage, and a second entrance to the estate.
The manor house has an almost square-shaped floor plan. The ground floor offers a living room with the en suite dining room, a library/study, the kitchen, a utility room, a laundry room, and access to the basement. A magnificent conservatory is the icing on the cake. The front door leads to a vestibule which, in turn, leads to a long, marble hallway. The ornamental staircase winds up to the first floor with five bedrooms and a large family bathroom. The second floor comprises a huge attic space with the roof beams in sight. This multifunctional space can be used to create several bedrooms, a grand master suite, or a very generously sized study. A small staircase leads to a viewpoint on the roof from where you can enjoy the absolutely amazing views of the estate, the village, and the surrounding landscape. The estate offers ultimate privacy even though it is right in the middle of the village. The current owners have deliberately chosen to keep the house almost in its original state. Extensive yet careful renovation works were carried out nine years ago as they wanted the house to show and tell its history. After all, time had given it its unique atmosphere and natural patina. The over four-metre-high ornamental ceilings, the marble in the hallway and the wooden flooring in the living areas, the windows with indoor shutters, the granite sink and the old pump in the utility room, the romantic veranda at the back with its artistic wood carvings, and so many other authentic period features have all been retained. They make “Het Klooster” what it is today: a warm and comfortable family home with an utterly unique ambience. A house to love and cherish.