|Town or city||Holte|
|Client||Architect's own use|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Lauritz de Thurah|
Gammel Holtegård is a former country house in Rudersdal Municipality north of Copenhagen, Denmark, today operated as an art exhibition space. It was built by the Danish Baroque architect Lauritz de Thurah for his own use in 1757. Its original Baroque gardens were reconstructed in 2003.
In 1755 Lauritz de Thurah acquired an agricultural property, a former tenant farn, in order to establish a suitable country house for himself outside Copenhagen. Simultaneously he was also building a town house for himself in Amaliegade in Copenhagen's new Frederiksstaden district, the responsibility of which he had been assigned after Nicolai Eigtved's death the previous year. Prior to that, he had lived some years at his Børgum Estate to which he had retired when his Baroque style fell out of favour and most of the prestigious assignments in the capital went to Eigtved.
To begin with he demolished the old farmhouse and laid out a large garden à la française with symmetrical plantings of fruit trees and flowering plants, bounded by lime tree avenues. When the new buildings were completed, it included farm buildings and a royal privileged inn.
The house was completed in 1757. It was a single-storey, three-winged building with a hip roof topped by a flèche. Lauritz de Thurah had the two clocks specially cast for the building. The estate also included agricultural buildings and a royal privileged inn. However, de Thurah died just two years after his new house was completed.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the estate was owned by Hans Niels Andersen, founder of the East Asiatic Company. He conducted a thorough restoration of the main building with the assistance of the architect Vilhelm Holck. Holch also added a frontispiece to the main wing.
In 1976 Søllerød Municipality, now part of Rudersdal Municipality, acquired the main building and after an Europa Nostra-awarded adaption into an exhibition space from 1979–83, Gammel Holtegård opened to the public in 1982. In 1994 Gammel Holtegård was taken over by a foundation which now owns and operates the place.
Architecture and gardens
From the outside, the main building appears largely as it did when it was completed in 1757, save the frontispiece added in 1900. The Baroque gardens were reconstructed in 2004. The lime tree avenues are those originally planted by de Thurah. A group of beech trees of an unusual cultivar with palmately lobed leaves is also from his day.
Gammel Holtegård today
The Vedbæk Finds
Gammel Holtegård also houses the so-called Vedbæk Finds from the Bøgebakken archaeological site, a Mesolithic cemetery of the Ertebølle culture. An example of the findings of this culture cemetery include the bodies of a young woman with a necklace made of teeth, and her newborn baby. The child is cradled in the wing of a swan with a flint knife at its hip. The child's gravegoods suggest that the culture involved ascribed status – the passing of power between generations. The brief statistical findings of the cemetery are as follows; 22 individual bodies (4 newborns), 17 of the adults buried could be aged - 8 died before reaching the age of 20. There were 9 men, 5 of them over the age of 50, and 8 women: 2 died before the age of 20, 3 living to over 40. Two women died in childbirth (including the young woman mention above) and were buried with their newborns beside them. Infant mortality rate is around 35%. Mortality rate is 50%. Reasons for these high death rates could be physiological or cultural.
The cemetery is located in the northern part of the Maglemosen peat bog, and was discovered in 1975 during excavation for the new Vedbæk School. (It should not be confused with the earlier Maglemosian culture, named for a different Maglemose near Slagelse.)
- "Gammel Holtegård". Gyldendal. Retrieved 2010-01-23.