This building is rich in history. It is an example of a Dutch eighteenth century governor’s home, breathing the atmosphere of Paris, Amsterdam and The Hague.
However, before the house was built, there were three dwellings of a baker, a brewer and a cheese vendor on this spot at Westhaven. These houses were given the names Hardebollen, De Bijl and Het wapen van Zeeland [Crusty Hard Rolls, The Axe and The Weapon of Zealand]. In 1718 Willem van Strijen, a patrician from Gouda (1667 – 1765), bought these houses.
Van Strijen was a member of a governor’s family in Gouda. He took up numerous ecclesiastical and public functions. For seven periods he held the office of mayor of Gouda. In 1742 he was the most affluent citizen of this town. He had five maid servants and a carriage with two horses. Van Strijen wanted a dwelling befitting his standing, and had it designed specifically for him. Construction started in 1728.
The house was built in Louis XIV style. To some extent this large building with five windows shows the straight appearance of Dutch classicism. On the one hand it shows the classical build-up, such as the sandstone façade with the four pilasters and two slate cornerstones, on the other there is a touch of rococo in its decoration. This shows from the decorated central axis, which is crowned by the elevation over the cornice of the façade with the ornamental vases. In the past the medallion in the middle showed the family weapon of the Van Strijens.
De Lange van Wijngaarden
Half a century later the Gouda historian and patriot Cornelis Jan de Lange van Wijngaarden lived at this address, married to Willem van Strijen’s granddaughter. De Lange van Wijngaarden was an ardent patriot whose life changed on 28 June 1787, when Wilhelmina van Pruisen was on her way to The Hague. She was arrested close to Gouda by De Lange van Wijngaarden’s paramilitary unit, and held in custody in a farm in Vlist. This incident had far-reaching consequences.
Despite his political rigmaroles De Lange van Wijngaarden was and remained a wealthy governor with a lot of assets and many possessions .
After De Lange van Wijngaarden, Lodewijk van Toulon resided in the house, also a mayor, president of the Parliament’s Second Chamber and governor of the province of Utrecht.
After the departure of the Van Toulon family the canal house stood empty for a number of years.
Later Jakob Schouten lived there, a schoolteacher who wanted to establish a school in it, a pre-grammar school.
Publisher Gerrit Benjamin van Goor later bought the house and lived in it from 1869 – 1889.
The managing director of the Gouda Candle Factory, Mr. G.J. Steenzijden, bought the house with a view to the general well-being of the people in Gouda. He was a prominent Gouda inhabitant, who had achieved a good reputation.
In the years that followed the house was a kind of grammar school with a strong emphasis on academic learning and classical languages: the Coornhert Gymnasium. Yet the building failed to suit the purpose of a school building to some extent. There were e.g. complaints about accessibility, the noise of the traffic in the harbor streets, and the size of the physical training hall.
Plans for a new building were delayed when World War II broke out.
During World War II
The school building was confiscated by the German army in this war.
On 30 November 1944 the building was evacuated to make room for patients of the Van Itterzon hospital, after bombardments on the Jozef pavilion.
After the war
In 1945-1946 the lessons to the grammar school pupils were resumed. In 1952 the Coornhert Gymnasium moved to the Nansenstraat. From 1952 until 1989 the Chamber of Commerce was located in the building. After that it was used as home office by Mr. G.C. van Vliet’s insurance company. In 1996 Van Lanschot bankers moved in, a period that lasted until 2015. Since 2015 the building has been privately owned, and the period rooms are rented out.