Magnificent historic canal-side residence on the Rapenburg
In the 17th and 18th century, the Rapenburg was already named as the most beautiful street in Europe, by Professor Johannes Polyander à Kerckhoven (1568-1646), in the book Les délices de la Hollande: "Of all the continents in the world, Europe is the most beautiful continent, of all the countries in Europe, the Netherlands is the most beautiful country, of all the Seventeen Provinces, Holland is the most beautiful, of all the cities in Holland, Leiden is the most beautiful, and of all the streets and canals in Leiden, the Rapenburg is the most beautiful ". And to this day the Rapenburg, with its many historic buildings, is generally regarded as the most beautiful canal in Leiden.
At the time when á Kerckhoven wrote this, Rapenburg 21 already existed. The earliest known resident was a certain Adriaen Willemsz, around 1530. A succession of owners hired out rooms to foreign students at the Leiden University. Among them, René Descartes (‘I think, therefore I am’) resided at number 21 for a while in 1640.
The thing that makes this property so remarkable today is the fantastic location in the city centre, and the combination of these much sought-after features:
- a living area of over 280 m2
- a beautiful courtyard garden to the south, of ca. 13 x 4 m. plus a sunny roof terrace of ca. 35 m2
- the many retained stylistic features
- quiet ‘neighbours’ and plenty of privacy
The present facade dates from the 18th century and the interior of the property contains many stunning historical details, such as coloured ceiling decorations, a marble floor in the hallway, and imposing mantelpieces in the living rooms.
Imposing, broad entrance with decorative plasterwork ceiling and marble floor. From this hallway, one door leads to the atmospheric front room. This room also has coloured decorative plasterwork features, decorative panelling and a splendid mantelpiece. This front room is connected to the garden room by means of an alcove with 2 built-in cupboards. This charming, light room has patio doors opening onto the garden and also benefits from very special historical stylistic features. From the hall, a long corridor (with an authentic hand basin) leads to the kitchen/dining room to the rear. This room is very light, thanks to a long row of windows looking out over the property's courtyard garden. The kitchen is custom-built and can only be described as atmospheric. The kitchen is equipped with all the usual (in-built) apparatus, such as a wide stove with an oven and extractor hood. At the rear of the kitchen there is a small utility room with a dishwasher and fridge. A door half way along the kitchen gives access to the courtyard garden.
First floor: via the landing you enter a splendid (living) room at the front of the property. The high windows offer a magnificent view over the canal, and admit plenty of light. Beside this room, there is a splendid office/study with built-in book shelves; a pleasure to be able to work with this view.
The other side of the landing is where the master bedroom is situated, with its feature beamed ceiling. At the end of the hallway you will find the bathroom with double washbasin, bath, shower, toilet and bidet. Behind the bathroom there is a laundry room, set up to house a washing machine and dryer, and built-in wall cupboards. A door from this room leads to a mezzanine right at the back of the garden. This can also be accessed via a staircase from the garden. A staircase leads from here to the roof terrace above, where you can still sit in the sun until 8 o'clock in the evening during the summer.
Second floor: landing with built-in cupboards and a kitchenette. The second bathroom with shower, washbasin and toilet is also located here. There is a magnificent, light (bed) room at the front (3 windows wide), with a staircase leading to an attic room. Finally, on this floor you will also find the fourth (bed)room, also very spacious, to the rear. Above this floor there is another large attic space.
All in all, an exceptionally spacious and atmospheric property, in a unique location. Definitely worth viewing.
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