Heritage + Leisure

Redevelopment plan for Windesheim Estate

Just below Zwolle is the largely unknown, but ancient estate of Windesheim. Behind the site, the remains of the gardens from the earliest period of the estate have been almost perfectly preserved. The water and track routes from the 18th century are the focus for innovation in this project.


Windesheim is a large property where an active farm still provides the foundation for business. However, there is increasing economic pressure on the estate to modernise and expand its business. H+N+S therefore developed a plan for this 18 th -century estate, in which old values are integrated as much as possible with new skills and developments.

National monument

The garden and park areas surrounding the historic Windesheim mansion are a national monument. However, a great deal of maintenance is required to ensure that the historical plantation remains in pristine condition. If no action is taken, the garden will fall into disrepair and several of the ancient trees will fall. The site is currently quite overgrown and the walking trails are impassable. It is also necessary to provide parking facilities on site.

The plan is not to literally reconstruct the estate gardens; however, new interventions and designs will be strongly anchored in the historical heritage of the site

H+N+S has created a vision for the Windesheim Estate in which a balance is struck between the historical qualities of the terrain and the new features and requirements for the site. The intention is to make the area interesting and accessible for a wider audience. The plan contains features designed to improve the accessibility and attractiveness of the park, including new entrances. Also, additional parking facilities are integrated into the landscape.

Map of Windesheim from 1811


The Windsheim Foundation wishes to carry out a number of practical improvements to the estate. In this vein, H+N+S has drawn up a vision for the historical garden and park area (about 30 hectares). This plan represents a long-term vision for the area, ensuring that any various, short-term sub-projects that are executed, will be appropriately aligned with this concept.

Plan outline

The creation of the plan took place over a number of stages. First, the foundational qualities of the site and wishes of the parties were canvassed. Then, an attempt was made to achieve coordination between the various sectional interests (history, experience, functionality, budget). Using this information, the contours of the outline plan were sketched in a first vision. In the last working phase, this vision was further developed and refined into manageable components for realisation.

Map of H+N+S vision


To be able to intervene with respect for the cultural and historical qualities of Windesheim, it’s important to gain a holistic understanding of the estate and its current situation. This starts by obtaining a thorough knowledge of the past. In this way, the current situation of the estate can be mapped and explored in light of the cultural, historical and scenic significance of the site.


Extensive research was conducted on the original site plan and later developments. Through this research, seven development ‘phases’ were distinguished with different characteristics. However, even within each layer, features of the original design principles (from main designers Husley and Springer) could still be identified. This made it possible to establish a historical responsibility, but also a contemporary design vocabulary, that could form the basis for our vision.

Tripartite division

From the analysis and research, it was possible to clearly identify the characteristic tripartite division of the property. This feature has been further enhanced in the new design. The redevelopment of two of the three areas is strongly in accordance with the most important historical time layer. The added layer, by us as contemporary designers, is modestly present.

The walkway

In the immediate vicinity of the former home and gardens, the stylistic influence of Springer is dominant. For the subarea of the landscape north of the 'Engelsche Bosch', the walkway, the Husly layer forms the most important time layer. For the area between the Springer garden and the landscape walkway of Husly, most historical features have disappeared. Here, H+N+S added a new layer.

New map layer

This means that, continuing the tradition of historical design contributions over the years, H+N+S has now also added a new ‘layer’ to the Windesheim estate. The new vision contains some new design elements, to ensure that the site becomes adapted to contemporary needs and can function effectively. However, all choices have been made with respect for, and awareness of, the heritage of the site and the need to preserve its unique history.

Inviting prospect

The ‘master map’ designed by H+N+S outlines the intended future prospects for the Windesheim estate. The plan builds on the main structure of the site (tripartite division) as introduced by Husley and further extended, more than a century later, by Springer. The new plan by H+N+S adds a contemporary chapter to the history of Windesheim, while ensuring that it remains strongly affiliated with its past.


Former employee Claire Laeremans.