Headquarters of the British
In September 1944 Villa Hartenstein was the headquarters of the British Airborne Troops under the command of General-Major Roy E. Urquhart.
The history of Villa Hartenstein
The Airborne Museum is housed in Villa Hartenstein, a villa with a long history. In September 1944, the building, which began as an inn in 1728, was the headquarters of the British Airborne Troops under the command of General-Major Roy E. Urquhart.
The first mention of Villa Hartenstein was as the inn ‘Het Rode Hert’ in 1728. In 1779 the lawyer J. van der Sluys bought both the inn and the surrounding land. He had ‘Het Rode Hert’ demolished so that he could build a villa and some outbuildings where Hartestein Restaurant is now located.
The name Hartenstein
Van der Sluys called his villa ‘Hartenstein’, probably as a reference to the inn ‘Het Rode Hert’. After being sold in 1792, the villa was acquired by a succession of various owners. The villa that you see today was built around 1865. The owner at that time, the estate agent Th. Sanders, had all of the buildings demolished and had a new villa and carriage house built. In 1905 the new owner, the timber merchant G.J. Verburgt, added conservatories on the south and east sides of the building. The landscaping done in this period also indicates that Hartenstein was an elegant estate. Following the deaths of the Verburgts, the villa and its grounds became the property of the Verburgt-Molhuysenstichting, which rented the property to the nursing home ‘Het Hemeldal’. In 1942 the property was sold to the municipality of Renkum and was used as a hotel.
Most of these estates were destroyed in the Battle of Arnhem; a very small number of them are still privately owned. As such, Villa Hartenstein symbolises the transition of Oosterbeek as a consequence of the war in 1940-1945.