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Information about Sonnehoeck
House Sonnehoeck was built in 1729 and is of great historical value. Joists and roof are still in its original state.
The house is one of the first, especially built Fruit Growers Houses in the region of ‘Westland’.
The barn with the loft is an integral part of the house.
The loft was used as a storage area for vegetables and fruit.
A 100 m long fruit wall, built in 1815, and restored in 2009 and a short fruit wall of 30 m built in 1849
and rebuilt in 2015 on Sonnehoeck still sits on the property. Apples, pears and peaches, all grow there in
its sheltered protection.
The two original fruit walls that once stood on the property had a combined lenghts of 650 m.
The first grapes in the region of ‘Westland’ were also grown against walls. Removable windows for protection
were placed against these walls. Permanent wall greenhouses later took the place of removable windows
signalling the beginning of extensive greenhouse operations in the entire region. After 1890 the wall greenhouses
are replaced by free standing greenhouses.
Sonnehoeck features different types of greenhouses. ‘Knee Greenhouses’ go back to 1905. ’Wall Greenhouses’ were removed
in about 1950, welded together and are still in use as free standing greenhouses. The ‘Double Wooden Greenhouse’ is called
a complex greenhouse. In 2015 a wall greenhouse of 1890 was built against the short fruit wall.
Heating and water
Two boiler houses featuring typical round chimneys of bricks provided enough heat for the greenhouses.
‘Robin Hood’ coal burning boilers were in use till 1965. By the introduction of heavy oil the boilers they
taken out of service.
A 1920 ‘Water Reservoir’ and ‘Water Tower’ provided sufficient pressure for watering. A motor pump to
fill the reservoir eventually took the place of a hand pump. The tower has not been used for a long time.
Growing of grapes
Three grape varieties – Alicante, Frankenthaler and Gross Maroc – of Table Grapes are the main cultivar at Sonnehoeck.
Several grape trees are more than 90 years old, still producing good quality, very delicious grapes. The table grape
is a fragile product requiring the utmost care with processes such as pruning, fixing and fruit thinning.
A small orchard with old Apple and Pear trees are very special at Sonnehoeck with two ancient mulberry trees on
the side of the house still producing abundant fruit.
A Pear tree against a wall of the house has survived for generations. Together with a Walnut tree and a Medlar tree,
these old, ancient trees are very interesting to see.
A noble family from Delft – Van der Dussen – owned the land of Sonnehoeck in the seventeenth century. A former
Director of the State Printing House, Anne Marie Maas Geesteranus, later owned the Nursery in 1893.
Upon his death in 1899 Gerrit van Leeuwen bought the house and garden. The current owner Geo van Leeuwen is
the fourth generation van Leeuwen living on Sonnehoeck. Thanks to this family and a sense of traditional cultivation
and historical awareness, Sonnehoeck is still a unique Grape Nursery. Unique in the Westland, unique in the world
Restoration and maintenance
In order to preserve Sonnehoeck for future generations, the Foundation Board of Historical Grapes Nursery Sonnehoeck
is working with the owner, Geo van Leeuwen, towards an all-embracing restoration plan. The restoration of the grape
walls begun in 2009 and was completed in 2011. One of the three former wall greenhouses was restored in 2011.
The double greenhouse (complexkas) was restored in 2012. The two boiler houses with Robin Hood boilers were thoroughly
restored in the spring of 2013.
The whole of Sonnehoeck,with respect for each component, is being restored to its former glory.