9 June 2013: Summer Event

Registration for this event has closed.

What: Spectacular falcon show, High Tea and optional estate walk

Where: Heerlijkheid Marienwaerdt, Beesd

Partners and children are welcome to join us!

Location: Restaurant 'De Stapelbakker', Heerlijkheid Marienwaerdt, Beesd

Time: Early birds walk starts at 11 a.m.

Official programme starts at 1 p.m.

Costs: Euro 25 per person

Contact: Martine Croll, SENSE Programme Secratary


Registration is now closed. A list of participants is here (visible only to SENSE members).

During this year’s Summer Event we’ll be visiting one on the most beautiful (and oldest) estates in the country: Heerlijkheid Marienwaerdt near Beesd, right bang in the middle of the country and of all road and railway networks.

Early Birds

For the early birds, the day will start at 11 a.m. with an 8 km walk over the estate and along the picturesque river Linge.

Later Birds

For those who feel that Sundays deserve a proper lie in, you are very welcome to join us towards 12.30 for a cuppa in the estate’s restaurant ‘De Stapelbakker’. The main programme of the day takes to the skies at 1 p.m. when we plunge into the ins and outs of an ancient and revered hunting sport: falconry.

After our initiation into the training and keeping of these majestic birds, it will be time to focus ourselves on the much-loved tradition of Afternoon Tea. Enjoy a wide choice of finger-licking good food, featuring exquisite sandwiches, scones, fruit salad, estate-made jam, quiches and much, much more.

The afternoon ends at around 4.30 p.m., well in time for you to get back home for a well-deserved lazy Sunday evening.


Price is per person and includes a cup of tea or coffee on arrival, the falcon show and Afternoon Tea (with tea, coffee and fresh juices). Wine, beer or any other additional drinks not included.

How to get there

 The estate restaurant 'De Stapelbakker' is a short ten-minute walk from Beesd railway station. For those of you planning on taking the car, Beesd and the estate are just off the A2 between Den Bosch en Utrecht. Follow the road signs to the Stapelbakker. Or find a detailed description here

 If you intend to join us for the walk (starting at 11 a.m.), please let me know by filling in the comments field when making your online payment.

Partners and children are welcome to join us.



A (very) brief history of falconry

The earliest accounts of the art of falconry derive from Mesopotamia and date back to approximately 2000 BC. The falcon was a symbolic bird of ancient Mongol tribes. Falconry was probably introduced to Europe around AD 400, when the Huns invaded from the East. The illustrious German King Frederick II (1194–1250) is acknowledged as the most significant wellspring of traditional falconry knowledge, writing the first comprehensive book on falconry knowledge "The Art of Hunting with Birds".

Historically, falconry was a popular sport and status symbol among the nobles of medieval Europe (as well as those in the Middle East, and Mongolian Empire. Falconry was largely restricted to the noble classes due to the prerequisite commitment of time, money, and space. But, within nomadic societies like the Bedouin, falconry was not practiced by noblemen. Instead, falcons were trapped and hunted on small game during the winter months in order to supplement a very limited diet.

 In the UK and parts of Europe, falconry probably reached its zenith in the 17th century, but soon faded, particularly in the late 18th and 19th centuries, as firearms became the tool of choice for hunting. 


An even shorter description of the falcon show

During the falcon show you’ll be introduced to all facets of this ancient sport. The art of rearing and training birds has hardly changed since in the 4 000 year history of the sport.

And a quick peek into a nobleman’s estate

Heerlijkheid Mariënwaerdt presently consists of three stately homes and fourteen monumental farms. The meaning of the name Mariënwaerdt is island (foreland) of Maria. The history of the country estate dates back to 1129 when an abbey of Saint Norbert was founded. The main buildings of this abbey were on the exact spot on which the present main house is located.

The monastery was built on an ancient river course. It stood like an island in the middle of lower land surrounding it that was flooded most of the year. The monastery was in fact located in an area on the border between the provinces of Utrecht, Holland (now North and South Holland), Gelre (now Gelderland) and Brabant. Regular bouts of fighting and plundering between the provinces meant that the monastery was destroyed several times, only to be rebuilt again by the ever-optimistic monks. Nonetheless, around 1630 even the monks had to concede defeat to the many vandals and plunderers and the monastery was closed.  

It took no less than a whole hundred years to find a new owner for the estate. In1734 Count van Bylandt, the predecessor of the present owners, the Van Verschuer family, purchased the estate and built the current main house on the vaults of the former abbey. Since then Mariënwaerdt has been inherited in a straight line, with the eighth generation of the Van Verschuer family currently running the country estate.Arable farming has always been important at Heerlijkheid Mariënwaerdt. The estate has a large mixed agricultural farm that covers all aspects of farming arable, fruit, dairy and cattle.

Before we move on to Afternoon Tea

Did you know that the ritual of afternoon tea owes its origins to Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford? As young woman in the early 1800s, she lived in a time when it was common to eat only two main meals a day, with breakfast scheduled early in the morning and dinner occurring late in the evening. Irritated by hunger pangs each day, she decided to schedule time to take tea and something to eat each afternoon. This private ceremony was firstly done furtively in her bedroom, but over time well-heeled acquaintances joined her and the practice was perpetuated.