The Dutch part of the ~5000km long North Sea Trail (NST) is 725 km and thereby the longest connected hiking route in the Netherlands. There is a small 12km part of this route that I try to walk once every year: Meijendel-route (Dutch). The route starts in The Hague, passes some estates and goes through the dunes to Wassenaar. Quite a nice route trough different landscapes. Though several times I had to walk the last part through the woods in the dark. In autumn I should start in time and not linger too long in the “Pannenkoekenhuis”.
The route goes through estate Clingendael. A 17th centure estate currently used by the “Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael“.
On my hike I usually stop at the teahouse on the estate for you know what. You should not expect too much tea in a teahouse in the Netherlands. Most serve only standard teabag tea, with a choice between flavored or not. Luckily there are some exceptions and last few years there is a noticeable rise in the quality of teabags served in others. Note that we are a teadrinking nation and the concept of loose leaf tea is widely known, though most people stick with bags and there is a price limit on available loose leaf tea. It has been a while since I had tea in this teahouse and was not an exception back then.
Directly after the teahouse The Meijendel-route takes a sharp turn to the right. However ~50m straight on instead of right we find on the left…
The Japanese garden
This garden was build ~1910 by an owner of the estate: Marguerite M. Barones van Brienen (1871-1939). She made several trips to Japan and took several objects back with here that she gave a place in this garden. It is the only Japanese garden of that period in the Netherlands.
At the back of the garden is a small pavilion where I drank tea from my flask and sat for a long time.
And then it started to:
So I had to stay I while longer.
When it was dry I left the pavilion and walked through the rest of the garden. After that I went out to the teahouse, but it was already closed. More time had passed than I thought.
De Hollandse tuin
Something quite different is the “Hollandse tuin” (Dutch garden) somewhere else on the estate. This garden was build a few years after the Japanese garden and by the same Marguerite. The stairs (~1887) are a design by L.A. Springer (1855-1940). This garden was rebuild in 2009.
The building was originally a teahouse, but now used as a shed.
The gardens of the estate can be visited year round. The Japanese garden is only opened for a couple of weeks twice a year. For dates see this site (in Dutch).