WaterbergThe Open Air Museum is situated on the former Waterberg estate. Between 1763 and 1825, this estate was owned by the Gaaymans family. They sold it in 1825 to the owner of the Sonsbeek estate, Hendrik Jacob Carel Jan Baron Van Heeckeren van Enghuizen. This acquisition made Sonsbeek an extremely large estate.
At this time Waterberg consisted, among other things, of a manor house with a carriage house, a farmhouse with shed (our white farmhouse), a barn, a stackstand and around 65 hectares of farmland and meadows, including orchards, a garden covering almost 0.8 hectares and an enormous wood containing more than 15,000 beech and pine trees.
The new owner immediately had the manor house and carriage house demolished, as he already had accommodation elsewhere, and used the bricks from the buildings that were pulled down to construct a belvedere on the Sonsbeek estate.
Two buildingsTwo buildings that originally formed part of the estate can still be found at the museum. The white farmhouse is the museum’s oldest building, having already been on the site before 1825. The Gaaymans family built this farmhouse and rented it out. Next to it stood a barn, mention of which was made in 1825. This had to be demolished in the sixties, however, as it had fallen into ruin. The farmhouse is now used as a service building.
Behind the white farmhouse is a second building, which was erected in 1857 as a double dwelling. This houses two of the museum’s highlights, the Hindeloopen room and the horse-driven mill for hulling and crushing buckwheat.
In 1899, the city of Arnhem purchased the majority of the Sonsbeek estate, including Waterberg, and leased out 28 hectares of this area to the Netherlands Open Air Museum Association in 1914. The museum opened its doors in 1918.