Czar Peter House (Netherlands)
|Dutch Rijksmonument 518020|
The Czar Peter House (Dutch: Czaar Peterhuisje) is a historical building in the Russian quarter of Zaandam, the Netherlands and is one of the oldest wooden houses in the Netherlands. It was built as a labourer’s cottage in 1632 using old ship wood. The Russian Tsar Peter the Great lodged in this little wooden house in 1697 when he came to learn the shipwright’s trade. The Tsar Peter House is part of the Zaans Museum. The little house is home to a small historic exhibition.
Countless well-known and less well-known people are associated with this monument. The bust of Anna Pavlovna illustrates the family connection between the Romanovs and the Dutch royal house. The Tsar Peter House was owned by 'the family' for a considerable length of time. King William I of the Netherlands bought the little house in 1818 as a maternity gift for his Russian daughter in law, Anna Pavlovna, the sister of Tsar Alexander I and a descendent of Peter the Great.
The Tsar Peter House is one of the oldest examples of wooden construction in the Netherlands. Without its lofty connections, it would never have stood the test of time. A local innkeeper Mr Bulsing saved the little house from demolition at the end of the 18th century.
The first roof structure built in 1823 was a stone roof with open arches, paid for by Queen Anna Pavlovna. After her death, her son Prince Henry had the wooden house roofed over again to protect it from the elements. Tsar Alexander III had supports added in 1890, as well as a stone foundation.
The last Russian Tsar, Nicolas II, asked the well-known Amsterdam architects Salm Senior and Junior - father and son - to design a new stone roof in 1895. The architecture of the Russian Orthodox churches served as an example. The stone Russian imperial crowns on the façade and beside the fences emphasise the house’s royal history. Salm’s special design was declared a national monument in 2001, meaning that there are now two monuments in one spot here.
In 1886, William III of the Netherlands presented the house and the art collection to Tsar Alexander III as a gift. His descendants renounced it in 1948, but the little house is still registered in the name of ‘the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the heirs of Tsar Nicolas II’. The famed collection of signatures of the Tsar Peter House also features many names from both royal families, including the present king, King Willem-Alexander.
The little wooden labourer’s cottage in Zaandam was restored in 2013. The foundations, the interior, and the exterior of the house, the stone shell, the roof, and the outer wall in the garden underwent thorough renovations. For the time being, the famous little house can withstand the test of time again.
- Czar Peter House on the website of the Zaans Museum
- Media related to Tsaar Peterhuisje at Wikimedia Commons