Zwijnsbergen Castle

As in Zundert, the Van Gogh family in Helvoirt has contact with a prominent family closely involved in the Protestant congregation. The noble family De Jonge van Zwijnsbergen is located in several prominent places in the village and plays an important role in village life. During the Van Goghs' stay, three noblemen live there. Joan the Younger of Zwijnsbergen (1821-1881) lives in Zwijnsbergen Castle. As an elder and church guardian, he is a member of the church council, of which Theodorus is chairman. His son Marinus will succeed his father as lord of the castle and landowner; his other son Gijs becomes successful as a bricklayer.

Joan's father, Marinus de Jonge, bought the castle in 1820 and henceforth called himself De Jonge van Zwijnsbergen. His family will own the distinguished estate until 1905. The property consists of a house, gardener's house, farm with outbuildings, park and in addition an estate [Fig. 084]. Since the late Middle Ages, Zwijnsbergen grows from a farm to a castle in the eighteenth century, which has undergone numerous renovations in the following centuries. In 2001, a fire largely reduced the building to ashes, after which it was completely restored to its former glory.

During their Helvoirt years, the Van Goghs became friends with the Protestant De Jonge van Zwijnsbergen family. They would have celebrated Christmas at their country home and were allowed to use the estate for walks.

Also living in the castle during those years was retired principal Hendrik Verzijl (1797-1881), who taught De Jonge's children. The Van Gogh family also knew this occupant. In October 1872, Verzijl had his eye on some books at an auction in The Hague. A resident of the court city, Vincent is asked to bid for him. He visited the auction house W.P. Van Stockum and on October 26 reported to Verzijl by letter: "To my regret I have not been able to acquire any of the items specified by you, as they have all gone higher than the prices quoted. Vincent has inquired of the bookseller's son who the buyer is and promises Verzijl to write to him about it. Before closing with 'Your Dw. [Servant" he asks him to send his "polite greetings to the de Jong family. With his neat behavior, the vicar's son contributes to the family's value of service and the perpetuation of a social circle. Both writing letters and paying visits are considered important by the family. Van Gogh folds his letter and notes the abbreviation 'p.c.' under the recipient's name and place. 'par couvert' means that the letter was enclosed with another copy, probably to his parents for the purpose that they would hand it to Verzijl.

That the Van Goghs were on good terms with the residents of the castle is evidenced by the fact that they were among the 22 guests on Theodorus' birthday in February 1875: "the four youngest girls of the castle we had for coffee. and in the evening we had Mrs. and Marius and Margot de Jonge, Mr. Verzijl, ...", Theodorus wrote to his son Theo. So when Joan de Jonge van Zwijnsbergen died on August 26, 1881, the Van Gogh family was affected. Theodorus, now serving in Etten, is asked to rush to Helvoirt. The pastor is present at his death, and four days later also at the funeral. When in 1885 father Van Gogh dies suddenly, Theo in turn informs Joan's son and castle lord Marinus de Jonge van Zwijnsbergen of the upcoming funeral.


Landgoed Zwijnsbergen
Helvoirtsestraat 6
Plan your route