The history of De Havixhorst

As long ago as 1000 years, the earliest Dutch farmers settled on the edge of the river Reest, in high places or ‘horsts’ between the water-logged plains. De Reest is a picturesque broad stream, a northern remnant of the Overijssel Vecht from long, long ago.

De Havixhorst was noted as far back as 1371 as being an inhabited place in the Reestdal, not far from Meppel. In 1618 its official recognition as a ‘havezate’ followed, the old East Dutch name for a knightly residence. Havezates are traditionally found in the rural stretch between Zutphen and Assen. From the 15th century onwards, the gentlemen of Havixhorst were awarded ‘collation rights’: that is, the right to appoint a clergyman to the nearby church in the village of IJhorst, right on the border of Drenthe and Overijssel.

The noble de Vos van Steenwijk family lived here for nearly 300 years, from 1658 to 1939. The castle was owned by the family until 1963. After that, it served various public functions for a few years, including being a retirement home and holiday resort for young people.