Dudok - Noorderbegraafplaats in Hilversum. Het is niet alles geel wat er blinkt
The Peter the Great Year 1996 / 1997 resulted in a renewed interest in Peter the Great's country houses in the Netherlands in 1696/1697 and 1716/1717 and the places and persons he visited at that time. On several occasions he stayed at the country estate Petersburg along the Vecht, owned by his friend Christoffel Brants. Brants even had a Russian bathing stove built for him.
Consequently, it is not surprising that in 1717 Peter the Great received a floor plan (with buildings) of Petersburg as a gift from Brants. The well-known collector of prints, naturalia and antiquities Christoffel Beudeker also came into possession of a floor plan of Petersburg. In the article both these floor plans (a site drawing and a model drawing) are accurately compared with each other and also with the views of Petersburg published in the well-known book De Zegepralende Vecht by A. de Leth and D. Stopendaal (1719).
The draft drawing of the ‘architect’ Simon Schijnvoet proves to contain quite extensive information on the dimensioning of the site and buildings. It appears that Schijnvoet still focused on the Renaissance masters and classics. He provided the mathematical layout of the site with buildings with dimensions according to the harmonious proportions of tierce and quint, analogous to those of measurable, visible forms.
What lent Petersburg a truly and typically Dutch technical ingenuity is the musical ensemble of ornamental gardens, kitchen gardens, cultivation gardens and lanes, canals and quays, smoothly melting into one another in a harmonious way. The various parts of the country estate are subsequently discussed and it is concluded that the draft drawing almost entirely corresponds to the situation executed, contrary to the situation drawn on the ‘clean drawing’ or model drawing.
The latter was mainly an ornamental drawing that was probably hanging in the house. Attention is also paid to the possible influence that the draft of the Netherlands Petersburg may have had on the situation of country estates along the banks of rivers and the Finnish Gulf in St. Petersburg (compared to the situation along the Vecht) and possibly also on the layout of the site of the country estate Dalniye Doebki, designed by the Dutchman Steven van Zwieten.
Just as Petersburg this country estate is defined by water systems transecting the entire site. Finally, an aerial photograph shows that a number of 18th-century structures are still quite clearly present below ground level at the site of Petersburg, such as the transverse basin behind the house, the round basins, some canals and the sight avenue.A landscape archaeological research might provide certainty as regards any other possibly present remains. In case of a positive result a proposal to designate Petersburg as an archaeological monument would be more justified.