The Netherlands. He built a huge five-story castle at the bottom of his garden

The Netherlands. He built a huge five-story castle at the bottom of his garden
The Netherlands. He built a huge five-story castle at the bottom of his garden

Some have a cabin at the bottom of their garden, he has a castle. Lord Gregorious, a 76-year-old Dutchman, entertains in his five-story Romanesque-style building, which he built himself, complete with knights, damsels in distress and a recycled metal dragon.

Thirty-four years of work

The towers of the castle, named “Olt Stoutenburght”, overlook the flat landscape around the small village of Blesdijke, in the north of the Netherlands. The owner of the place, whose real name is Gerry Halman, took 34 years to build the building, carefully constructed with materials from dozens of countries, drawing inspiration from China, the Roman Empire and Egypt. Ancient.

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“One morning in 1990, I said to my wife: ‘I’m ready. I have the complete picture. I know what the building looks like, from top to bottom,'” retiree Gerry Halman told AFP. mustachioed wearing a fur hat. Since then, building and furnishing the castle has become his “passion”. He travels all over the world to find materials and give shape to what he has imagined.

Tourists from all over the world

A metal chandelier from Istanbul and ornate art nouveau iron balustrades unearthed in Libya decorate the grand vaulted hall. Signs engraved on a wooden bar from the Orient Express dining car invite gentlemen not to urinate on the floor. The library contains hundreds of books on art and history, a dueling pistol and a traditional Indonesian dagger sit on the desk.

Gerry Halman ran a costume shop in the nearby town of Zwolle for thirty-five years and populated his castle with numerous characters, including knights in shining armor, damsels in distress and a statue of the Greek goddess Aphrodite. Today, tourists come from all over to admire the castle.

“The mayor said: ‘He’s crazy’”

What motivates someone with no experience in architecture or construction to take on such a project? “What pushes people to cycle across France for three weeks or to go to the gym? “, replies Gerry Halman good-naturedly, who felt “obligated” to build the castle.

“I’ve always been a fan of the fantasy world since I was a child, not the real world,” he explains. But he quickly came up against reality when he presented his project to local authorities to obtain a building permit. “The mayor said: ‘He’s crazy. He’s not a builder. He has no experience in architecture and he wants to build a castle,'” the retiree recalls.

A project still being improved

He insisted and ended up obtaining authorization on the condition that the height of the castle did not exceed 28 meters. It was all self-financed but Gerry Halman has no idea of ​​the total bill: “Never ask the price of something, otherwise you would never dare to do it!” » Gerry’s wife of fifty years “loves” the project but “stays away”. “I do my thing, it’s for me. We have the perfect marriage,” he enthuses.

Like the Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona, ​​the Olt Stoutenburght is “never finished,” says its owner. Her motto: “We can always improve beauty. » His three children will continue his life’s work upon his death.

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