The rooms through which you wander when visiting the museum were once lived in by Anton Günther von Holstein. Von Holstein was governor of Brabant from 1733 until his death in 1744, and the Stadspaleis in 's-Hertogenbosch was his home. After his death, in 1768, the palace was given a makeover. Architect Pieter de Swart had the famous classicist façade added and also, it was thought, remodelled all the rooms behind it.
THE SAME LAYOUT
During recent restoration work, however, interior walls were found that pre-date the 1768 refurbishment. Former museum director Charles de Mooij did more research and discovered that all the rooms between the present-day front and rear façades have pretty much the same layout as in 1744. Odd, don't you think?
OLD FLOOR PLANS AND INVENTORIES
How did De Mooij find this out? By perusing old floor plans and the inventory of Van Holstein's estate. When a person died, a room-by-room record, or inventory, was made of the furniture, tableware, linen, kitchen equipment and so on they had left behind. As the person who did the drawings literally walked from room to room, inventories are very logical and accurate records.
JUST LIKE THE OLD DAYS
What did the documents reveal? Many of the rooms on the inventory can be precisely pinpointed on the floor plans following the refurbishment - which means that the interior of the city palace was left untouched during the renovation work in 1768! Thanks to the inventory, we also now know that the museum's Salons occupy rooms that were also used for gatherings in the past. One of them served as a dining room, with all the chairs and tables ranged along the walls, to be set out correctly by the staff when a dinner was held. The layout of the city palace is still recognizable in the museum's main building. So, as well as the collection it houses, the museum building itself provides an insight into 's-Hertogenbosch' rich past. And we are very proud of it!
STATE CHAMBER: THEN AND NOW
Long ago, the State Chamber was the chapel of the Jesuit monastery. In Von Holstein's days, the huge room stood empty. The inventory simply states: ‘copper, but poor quality sconces (candlesticks) on the walls.’ Although the chamber was mentioned as a ballroom at other times, it is highly unlikely that any grand events were held there in the years prior to 1744. There simply was not enough light.
Fortunately, the State Chamber was renovated several times after 1744, so beautifully and to such a high standard that the reception room has become the jewel in the museum's crown. The impressive stained glass windows, glittering chandeliers, sidewalls adorned with ornamental wood, recesses with golden statues and the original wood ceiling all combine to make the chamber imposing and utterly unique.
ROYAL BLUE FABRIC WALLPAPER
No wonder that, for two centuries, it was a favoured meeting place for the Provincial Council of North Brabant. To give the chamber a modern yet stately twist, designer Kiki van Eijk (Tegelen, 1978) designed the royal blue fabric wallpaper, woven in the Textile Lab of the Audax Textile Museum in Tilburg. During the renovation in 2013, improvements were made to the interior and the technology, without detracting from the chamber's history. The result: a unique and prestigious reception room that doubles as a modern auditorium. We look forward to welcoming you!