Huize "Reehorst"

Huize "Reehorst" - the summer residence of J.W.H. Crommelin in Driebergen
which he had built around 1900

Driebergen is situated near the centre of Holland along a main route to Amsterdam.

Amsterdam banker, Jacob Willem Hendrik Crommelin (1844-1919),
his wife, Clara, (1847-1919) and their five sons.

Seventh child of Gulian Cornelis Crommelin and Louise Smissaert, Jacob became President of Rente-Cassa (bank) in Amsterdam. He was a deacon of the English Reformed Church in Amsterdam 1866-1868 and director of the volk orphanage (Burgerweeshuis) in Amsterdam 1888-1909. On June 4, 1875 Jacob married Clara Wilhelmina Wilkens, daughter of Unico Aubin Wilkens and Agneta Gabriella Wilkens. They had 5 children: Daniel, Aubin, Marinus, Walter, Henri.

The family having lunch around 1900 - likely at Reehorst.

J.W.H. Crommelin's residence on the Weteringschans, Amsterdam, across the canal from the Rijksmuseum.
The outbuilding on the canal is the workshop where a son, Marinus, learned his carpentry in the 1890's.

This Crommelin family lived on the Weteringschans in Amsterdam where a son, Marinus, learned carpentry, but they also had a country residence called "Reehorst" at Driebergen, Holland. The letters of Marinus in America (1901-1902) to his mother, Clara Crommelin-Wilkens, have been published in the book "Dear Mother".

In 1941 Edward Crommelin poses timidly in front of his grandfather's house, Huize Reehorst
in Driebergen when it was being occupied by the Nazis.

Huize Reehorst was commandeered by the Germans during WWII when it became a command centre for the Nazis. Driebergen was where the German resistance to Operation Market Garden was planned and coordinated, therefore this house no doubt played an important role in that tragic wartime operation. After the war the house was left in a shambles.

In what seems an uncanny coincidence, we received word from Alix Royer, the partner of Robert Daniel Crommelin (current chairman of the Crommelin Foundation), explaining her connection to Huize Reehorst:

Lovely to see the article and pictures on the Reehorst on this site. It is the house where my mother, Wendela Bicker, grew up. She was born in 1929 and lived there until the Nazi occupants drove the family out of the house. When they found it back after Holland was liberated in '45, it was a sad mess. This explains in part why my grandmother sold it in 1946.

Who would have thought that I would find these fantastic pictures on the family site of my Robert Daniel Crommelin (born 1953 in Domburg)...

Alix Royer

Alix Royer and son...

For the benefit of Alix Royer, we show a few snippets of correspondence that originated from Reehorst while this residence was in the hands of the Crommelin family.

Marinus Crommelin travelled to Spokane, WA, USA in 1901 to learn advanced mechanized carpentry and returned to Holland in 1902. The above letter arrived in Spokane after Marinus had already returned home. Therefore the letter was duly returned to Reehorst where it originated from. This shows how well the postal system worked in the early 1900's! A collection of Marinus' correpondence to mother, Clara Wilhelmina Wilkens, was translated and published by a grandson, Patrick Serné, in a book entitled Dear Mother.

Marinus Crommelin married Cecilia Boissevain in 1907. Their first child "Donsje" became gravely ill due to a problem in her abdomen. This letter by Clara Wilkens in 1909 acknowledges her shock as to the seriousness of the child's illness. Donsje died shortly thereafter.

In a bid to overcome their grief at the loss of "Donsje", Marinus and Cecilia made an excursion to Venice in October, 1909 and wrote a few words home.

When Marinus' father, Jacob Willem Hendrik Crommelin, died in 1919, he received this letter from his mother, Clara Wilkens, who died a few months later the same year. Sometime after 1919 Huize Reehorst was sold. Amazingly it was sold to the grandmother of Alix Royer, the partner of Robert Daniel Crommelin!

Today the Estate Reehorst is is a multi-functional site: Human Care Farm, Academy of Sculpture, Vocal Arts Group, Research Centre for sustainable growth, Liberal Arts Academy and Antropia Congress centre.
Refer to this website for further information.

History / Historie
History / Historie
Landgoed de Reehorst