Barneveld - a charming town near the geographic center of Holland

Barneveld is a town and municipality in the eastern Netherlands, in the province of Gelderland (the largest province in the Netherlands). The population of the municipality of Barneveld is 50,028 (2005), while the town itself has a population of about 28,147.  Barneveld has become famous in the Netherlands for poultry farming and egg production. A common breed of chicken used in poultry farming in the Netherlands is called the Barnevelder chicken.  The municipality of Barneveld includes nine villages: Barneveld, Voorthuizen, Kootwijkerbroek, Garderen, Terschuur, Stroe, Zwartebroek, De Glind and Kootwijk.

 

Municipality of Barneveld
In the middle of the Netherlands, you will find a municipality of nine closely connected villages. It is an extended area of 176 square kilometers where living, working and recreation is of great pleasure to everyone.  There, where Randstad and the Veluwe meet, you will find Barneveld, a municipality with modern civil facilities in a beautiful landscape with alternating ancient woods, moorlands, meadows and fields.

Click here to read more about the other villages within the municipality of Barneveld.    In the municipality of Ede (right next to Barneveld), we offer a Lunteren based bike tour that offers another charming view of Holland

Barneveld
Since the middle of the 15th century, the city council and municipality departments can be found in this main village. Centuries ago, the very old village Garderen was the former centre of the municipalities, but in the course of years, Barneveld became uniquely more important.  For centuries, this borderline was the cause of many conflicts and fights between Gelderland and Utrecht. In one of these fights, the heroic soldier Jan van Schaffelaar jumped from Barneveld's tower in order to save the lives of his fellow soldiers. And by doing so, his name will forever be associated with Barneveld, and there is a statue honoring him within the city center. The tower of Barneveld's oldest church is a reminder of former days and of ancient Barneveld in that the church is the center of town and the streets run off from there to shops and stores. Barneveld has earned its precious position in the region by having different markets. In former days, sheep, poultry and wooltrade were very important, nowadays Barneveld is widely known by its egg auction, horsefair and small cattle market.  Especially during the summer, Barneveld offers many varying activities, like the yearly organized Balloonfista, the six "old Veluwse" markets, where lots of ancient trades and folkloristic attractions can be seen. Coming from Barneveld and heading towards Voorthuizen, you can see the Castle De Schaffelaar on the right side of the road. This castle was built in 1852. Now students from all over the world find a temporary home there when taking agricultural courses at Barneveld College.  Across from the tower in Barneveld is the Veluwse Museum Nairac, which is filled with the entire region's history put nicely up for display.

Castle de Schaffelaar

A short history of Castle De Schaffelaar 
The castle, as famous to Barneveld as its chicken and eggs, dates from the 1850's. The so-called 'first stone' can still be found in the northwest corner of the building. It bears the inscription '18 BC 52 J.H. Br.V.Z.', meaning: April 1st 1852, Jasper Hendrik Baron van Zuylen (van Nievelt). Jasper Hendrik was the man who commissioned to build the castle and was its first owner.  The present-day De Schaffelaar is not the first house with this name. Already in the 16th century there was a castle, first called Hackfort, later Schaffelaar, on the Koewei (cow meadow). It was rebuilt in 1767 and must have been one of the most luxurious buildings for many miles around.  The garden of the manor was designed by a student of the famous André Le Nôtre, the architect of the palace gardens of Versailles near Paris. The lanes in the forest can still be recognized as parts of this design. In the winter of 1800 the house burnt down under suspicious circumstances. It is said that parts of the castle bridge could still be seen in the moat in 1935. Perhaps you wonder why both castles took their names from Jan van Schaffelaar, the man who, in order to save the lives of his comrades, jumped off the Barneveld tower in 1482. The answer is simple: the owners of Hackfort were far descendants of our local hero and wanted to honor his act of self-sacrifice by changing the name Hackfort to Schaffelaar. The new Schaffelaar was built by the architect A. van Veggel in a neo-Tudor style. In those days this style was rather popular in England, but it is quite unique in the Netherlands. Two and a half million red bricks were needed for the construction of the Castle and huge quantities of marble had to be imported from Italy. The use of cast iron, especially in the sash-windows, was inspired by the Industrial Revolution. Jasper Hendrik van Zuylen van Nievelt and his wife Jeanne Cornelie Baroness van Tuyl van Serooskerken wanted the castle's interior to be special as well. Their coats of arms can still be seen on the ceilings which were decorated with stalactite ornaments. Another novelty was the application of plate-glass windows. The sudden death of their young son stopped them from completing the decoration, as you can see by the ceiling in the so-called Grote Zaal, now used as a recreation room. The next lord of the manor was A.W.J.J. Baron van Nagell, who would be Barneveld's mayor for forty years. Although the Castle remained in the family's possession, it was not permanently occupied after 1935. In the Second World War it served as an internment camp for a selected group of Jewish people, many of them survived the war, and as a home for aged refugees. After the war the building accommodated a rehabilition center for war cripples, a school for Civil Defense officers, a typewriting school and a sports school. Due to poor maintenance, the condition of the Castle became worse and worse. Shortly after the war the tower had already been pulled down and around 1965 the future of the characteristic building seemed seriously threatened. Fortunately things changed. The municipality of Barneveld bought the house for the symbolic price of one guilder (about $1), although under the obligation to restore it. Various plans were made, including the one to make it Barneveld's new town hall. Finally it was decided to turn it into a guesthouse for students of Barneveld College. The renovation took from September 1977 until December 1979, during which time the tower was reconstructed and the Castle was given back its old glory. It was officially reopened by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands on April 9, 1980.

Jan van Schaffelaar

The jump of Jan van Schaffelaar in 1482 
One period in Dutch history - approximately between 1350 and the end of the 15th century - is known as the 'Hoekse en Kabeljauwse twisten' (quarrels between the Hooks and the Codfish). The two parties were composed of often changing bodies of noblemen and towns in Holland and Zealand. At first the issue was the obtaining and preservation of influence in the government and of lucrative positions within the government and at the court of the Count of Holland. However in the end, the only question was whether one was in favor of one party or against. In the second half of the 15th century, David of Burgundy was bishop of Utrecht. He was driven out of his town by the 'Hooks' local government and retreated to the castle near Wijk bij Duurstede. After this, the 'Codfish' troops besieged Utrecht and attempted to starve the population. Duke John II of Cleve had entered an alliance with the local government of Utrecht. He sent cartloads of food to the besieged town; foodcarts were sent from Deventer as well. At the Castles of 'Puttenstein' near Elburg and 'Roosendaal' near Arnhem, the bishop's soldiers were encamped. They were instructed to intercept the foodcarts. The commander of the horsemen encamped at Roosendaal was Jan van Schaffelaar, probably an inhabitant of the sheriff's county of Barneveld. Jan van Schaffelaar's act is first recorded in a chronicle, published by the utrecht historian Antonius Matthaeus in 1698 (more than two centuries after the glorious jump!):

'On the sixteenth day of July a certain number of horsemen coming from 'Roosendaal' captured the tower and church of Barneveld; the number of men being nineteen. Soldiers from the towns of Amersfoort and Nijkerk besieged the church. They had taken guns along with them, with which they fired at the tower. During this action four or five men were killed. The men in the tower offered to surrender but the soldiers from Amersfoort would not accept that. They demanded that the men in the tower would throw a certain Jan van Schaffelaar down the tower. Yet the men in the tower refused to do so. Then Jan said: 'Beloved fellows, I shall have to die one time, I do not want to cause you any trouble'. He climbed onto the tower's battlements, raised his arms and jumped down. He did survive his fall but was killed by his enemies. The above mentioned was reported me to be true.'

The event has always appealed to the imagination of people. Poets and authors have occupied themselves with it, J.F. Oltmans with his historical novel De Schaapherder (The Shepherd) among these. In 1903 a monument in honor of Jan van Schaffelaar was erected in Barneveld, near the famous tower. It is a stone testimonial for his act of fellowship, which took place five centuries ago.


PWPC