The Elswout site was a buitenplaats for a long time before the current construction began. The original house (of which nothing remains) was barely finished in 1635 before being sold to Gabriel Marcelis, an Amsterdam arms merchant for the King of Denmark. He used it as a summer home while selling the sand to be shipped by boat to Amsterdam for construction. By removing the sand in the dunes on his property, he was able to lay out a garden in the French style while financing this from the profits on the sand. Though the "sand vaart" canal still exists that was dug by the original owner from the grounds to the houtvaart (and from thence to the Leidsevaart), it is called the Marcelisvaart today after the rules that Marcelis drew up for the diggers and boatsmen on his property. Removing sand from the property was only halted in 1948 when the level of the garden was considered dangerously low by the water board.
In the next century the garden was redesigned in the English style and had various owners until being bought by the Borski family in the 19th century. The main building seen today was designed in Italian high renaissance style in 1883 by C Muysken for the rich banker Willem Borski III of the firm Wed. Willem Borski, but construction was stopped in 1884 when Borski died childless, and the house was never completed, remaining a folly until World War II when the German occupying forces put a provisional roof on the building for use as a garrison.
The park surrounding the main house contains various follies that are also protected in the heritage register, as are the gatekeeper's entrance, the orangerie, and the stables. Today there are plans to restore the building according to the original plans.
Today the park is open to the public and the Orangerie has a restaurant that can be rented for weddings and other events.
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|Dutch Rijksmonument 339217|