HISTORY HUIS DE VOORST

Arnold Joost van Keppel, landed gentry of somewhat constrained means, was presented by his father as squire at the Court of King Stadhouder Willem III who had taken up residence at his sparkling new Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn. The powerful King Stadhouder, husband (widower) of Mary Stuart (died 1692) and King of England, was charmed by Van Keppel who became his boon companion. Thus Arnold Joost van Keppel, Count of Albemarle, Baron of Ashford, Margrave of Bury, was able in 1695 to commission the architects of Het Loo, Roman and Marot, to build the majestic pocket palace "Huis De Voorst" (a replica of Het Loo) on his ancestral estate in Eefde.

The magnificent palace soon acquired the name "Versailles of the Achterhoek" and came to be used as a "Lieu de Plaisance" for Albemarle and the King Stadhouder to entertain many an exalted guest. After the "Van Keppel period", many aristocratic families acquired, resided at and sold on the estate... Low point was 18 August 1943 when the main building burnt down because of a careless housepainter. In 1957 and subsequently in the period 2003 - 2005, it was fully restored with an interior to match in taste and style the magnificent tone of the House. The Country Estate is now owned by Stichting Vrienden der Gelderse Kastelen that leases it to Albemarle a 100% subsidiary of Ashford Holding, which includes Ashford Party & Event Catering, Ashford Wedding & Event Productions, and Ashford Party & Event Catering, Australia.

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