Zeist’s historical development became clearer after 1677 when Willem Adriaan I, count of Nassau (after 1679) and lord of Odijk, Kortgene, Zeist and Driebergen commissioned the building of Zeist Castle in the "High Domain of Zeist and Driebergen." The castle was built as a small replica of Versailles, including a beautiful garden.

Roman was the architect and was assisted by the Frenchman Daniel Marot. Marot designed, among other things, the wall and ceiling paintings which are still in their original state. The castle has been the property of Zeist Municipality since 1924.

In 1745 Cornelis Schellinger, who belonged to the religious community of the Evangelical Brotherhood also known as the Moravians (Hernhutters), bought the Zeist Castle. He opened the castle to the Moravians and gave them the gardens next to the castle.

The two squares in front of the castle were used to build houses for the members of the community. On one side, space was made for the unmarried sisters and widows (the Sister’s house and the Widow’s House) and, on the otherside, for the unmarried brothers (the Brother’s House). Later the squares were respectively called the Sister’s and the Brother’s squares. Because the brothers and sisters had to provide for themselves, they established multiple businesses including a bakery, a button factory, a silversmith, and a tinsmith. Their products were sold in the Brother’s House. In fact, with this practice the first department store in the Netherlands came into existence.
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By: DonMartini


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