The Rijnhuizen mansion
The history of the Rijnhuizen Castle begins some eight hundred years ago when an originally wooden stronghold was first mentioned in the annals. Hardly two centuries later it was replaced by a brick building forming two fortified houses of 6 x 6 m2 connected together. During some turbulent centuries Rijnhuizen Castle was destroyed several times. In 1640 Sir Reinoud van Tuyll van Serooskerke rebuilt it into its present shape. In 1655 the De Geer family acquired Rijnhuizen that remained privately owned until the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter - FOM - bought it in 1958. The castle itself and the coach houses were renovated in 1959. In the following years the laboratory was built and gradually enlarged on the 11 hectare Rijnhuizen site.
The Alexanderzaal probably dates from the 18th century. It is named after the covering of the walls which depicts, on painted cloth, the battles and victories of Alexander the Great and his triumphal entry into Babylon. The famous tapestries by the French court-painter Charles le Brun, which were designed around 1675, served as a model for the paintings. The original tapestries may be admired in the Louvre Museum, in Versailles, and in a few European castles. The long wall depicts the Battle at Gaugamela, 331 B.C. Up from the center to the window, Alexander and one of his officers are approaching the Royal Tent of the defeated Persian King Darius III. The corner section shows Alexander in a Persian costume, and between the windows the battle near the river Granicus is represented with three struggling horsemen in the foreground. The next panel - between the windows - shows Alexander together with the wounded and defeated Poros, King of India. The last scene, left of the fireplace, depicts Alexander's triumphal entry into Babylon. The ceiling and paneling of the Alexanderzaal date from 1885. The marble fireplace in Louis XIV style is covered with old Dutch tiles.
Up from the center to the window, Alexander and one of his officers are approachingthe Royal Tent of the defeated Persian King Darius III
The Tuinkamer, or Garden room, opposite the Alexanderzaal, holds ornamental paintings, found under a covering plaster in 1971 and skillfully restored afterwards. The original models are likely derived from a pattern-book by the famous French architect Daniel Marot, who worked in Holland for some time in the 17th century.
The restoration of the paintings was financed by the National Restoration Service, the local authority of Nieuwegein and the province of Utrecht.
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