Netherlands: he built himself a castle in his garden

He built a castle in his garden


Published today at 10:25 a.m.

At this point you will find additional external content. If you accept that cookies are placed by external providers and that personal data is thus transmitted to them, you must allow all cookies and display external content directly.

Allow cookiesMore informations

If you liked the palace of Postman Cheval, you will love that of “Lord Gregorious”. This 76-year-old Dutchman built a five-story castle in the Romanesque style in his garden. Knights, dragons and even princesses in recycled metal adorn this building, which is as improbable as it is impressive.

Named Olt Stoutenburght, the building and its towers overlook the small village of Blesdijke, located in the north of the Netherlands. The owner of the place, whose real name is Gerry Halman, started construction of the building thirty-four years ago.

But why did a man with no experience in architecture or construction decide to take on this business? “One morning in 1990, I told my wife, ‘I’m ready. I have the complete picture. I know what the building looks like, from top to bottom,” he told AFP. All that remained was to obtain a building permit… And the task was not easy.

“The mayor said: he’s crazy. It’s not a constructor. He has no experience in architecture and he wants to build a castle!” remembers the retiree. By insisting, he ended up obtaining authorization. The latter, however, limited the height of the building to 28 meters, indicates AFP.

Since then, this mustachioed retiree has traveled to the four corners of the world to find materials (mostly recycled or unearthed on antique markets) for the creation of his work.

A metal chandelier from Istanbul and ornate iron balustrades in Art Nouveau style unearthed in Libya decorate the large vaulted hall. Signs engraved on a wooden bar from the Orient Express dining car invite gentlemen not to urinate on the floor.

The castle is populated with many characters straight out of a children's story: knights in shining armor, damsels in distress or a statue of the Greek goddess Aphrodite.

The man who ran a costume shop in the neighboring town of Zwolle for thirty-five years also populated his castle with numerous characters straight out of a children’s story. Knights in shining armor, damsels in distress or statue of the Greek goddess Aphrodite occupy the place.

At the top of the 26 meter high building sits a dragon made from hundreds of pieces of recycled metal. A nod to Chinese culture. At his side, a cobra, also made of metal, recalls the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. “Since I was a child, I have been a fan of the fantasy world, not the real world,” specifies the manufacturer.

Materials, furniture, decoration and structure were entirely financed by Gerry Halman, who says he has no idea how much was spent.

Gerry Halman quotes Salvador Dali, one of his sources of inspiration: “The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad.”

The site is now visited by many tourists. Like Monique Meijer, a 55-year-old nurse, who says she gasped when she entered the hall. “It’s just fantastic,” she told AFP.

According to Gerry Halman, many people come away from a visit thinking that the designer of the building is crazy. He quotes a phrase from Salvador Dali, another Source of inspiration: “The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad.”

The budding architect emphasizes that, like the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, ​​his work is constantly under construction. “We can always improve beauty,” he slips. In any case, succession seems assured, since his three children plan to continue his work after his death.


“Latest news”

Want to stay on top of the news? “Tribune de Genève” offers you two meetings per day, directly in your email box. So you don’t miss anything that’s happening in your canton, in Switzerland or around the world.To log in

Did you find an error? Please report it to us.




NEXT See all the Quebec stars at the premiere of “Kurios,” by Cirque du Soleil