Part of the Groninger Museum’s Industrial Art and History collection is on display in the Menkemaborg (Eng: Menkema Mansion) in Uithuizen.
The Menkemaborg in Uithuizen was built in the 14th century. Since the thorough renovation of around 1700, there have hardly been alterations to the mansion. The Alberda family, the residents at the time, hired artists to adorn the impressive mantelpieces with baroque wood carvings and paintings of mythological representations. A very special canopy bed, made of yellow Chinese silk damask, has been preserved as well.
The rooms, including the main hall, drawing room, study, bedroom, kitchen, and cellars, are fully furnished with beautiful furniture, silver, porcelain, brassware, and portraits from the 17th and 18th century.
The garden is modelled on the original garden plan dating from around 1705 and is characterised by a clear and orderly mapping with symmetrically arranged sections of trimmed box tree with 18th-century flowers and plants. The finest part is the walled pleasure garden in front of the summer house, with trellised gates and domes. The natural sundial garden is special too. The grounds east of the mansion include a kitchen garden where vegetables and herbs are grown as well as a fruit garden with old apple trees and a pear arbour. A wander in the maze comes to and end at an old sycamore tree (closed for renovations). The flowering rose tunnel is worth a visit in summer!
The entire complex, including the mansion, gardens and moat, paints a striking picture of how Groningen noblemen resided and lived in the 17th and 18th century.
In what used to be the estate’s farmhouse in which carriages and horses were put up and butchery, brewery, and servants’ rooms were situated, one currently finds a café and (pancake) restaurant. The terrace provides a fine view of the mansion.
The Groninger Museum and the Menkemaborg
The Menkemaborg was lived in until 1902. The last resident’s heirs donated the estate to the Groninger Museum in 1921, after which it was renovated and opened to the public in 1927. The Stichting Museum Menkemaborg (ENG: Museum Menkemaborg Foundation) was founded in 1969 to see to the administration and exploitation of the museum and the surrounding gardens. The major part of the collection in the Menkemaborg is part of the Groninger Museum’s collection. Many of the objects come from one of the 200 demolished mansions the province once contained and of which only 16 have been preserved.
The Menkemaborg is open until 31 December. The mansion is closed in January and February.