The Vechtstreek, the area around river Vecht, is located in the economic heartland of the Netherlands. It is known for its natural beauty, castles, parks and stately homes.
Many of these lavish homesteads and their sprawling gardens were constructed in the 17th century by wealthy merchants, a period referred to as the Dutch Golden Age, the period Dutch had overtaken Portugal as the dominant player in the spice and silk trade and founded a colony at Cape Town on the coast of South Africa.
One such manor is Castle Nyenrode in Breukelen, home of the famous Nyenrode University. The castle’s impressive arch, drawbridge and waterway once protected its owner from unwanted house guests and visitors. Breukelen is the namesake of the New York City borough of Brooklyn.