Imagine yourself in 1900, on the set of 'Downton Abbey'!

In the programme Binnenste Buiten, there was an inside look at Villa Rams Woerthe in Steenwijk in July. A beautiful villa from 1899. It was built for the wealthy Tromp Meesters family and can now be admired as a museum. This villa is literally around the corner from B&B De Stadssingel. We know De Stadssingel from our visit but haven't slept there yet, so we book a room there for two nights and also reserve a ticket for the museum. 


Villa Rams Woerthe, also known as the Downton Abbey of Overijssel, was built in 1899 and belongs to the Dutch variant of Jugendstil and Art Nouveau. The floor plan of the villa is reminiscent of an English country house, hence the comparison with Downton Abbey. The wealthy timber merchant Jan Hendrick Tromp Meesters and his wife Anna Catharine buy the land and organise a competition for the design of the palace that is to be built. The winner is Dolf van Gendt, best known for the Amsterdam Concert Hall. He designs the villa in eclectic style, in other words, by combining the best style elements from previous style periods. Inside, you can really see how exorbitantly rich this family is. Because Tromp Meesters died eight years after completion, you cannot see the original furniture in the house. After that, the house was no longer inhabited, but served as a town hall. To give an idea of how the family lived, furniture from around 1900 has been placed in the house.  

This villa is not a museum, but a Museum House, which means that you are allowed to touch it. The monumental hall leads to impressive rooms such as the dining room, the gentleman's room and the conservatory. From the lounge, beautifully decorated in Art Nouveau style, you have a view of the city park. Daily newspaper De Stentor described a visit to Rams Woerthe in this way: "Pull up a chair in the richly decorated dining room of the Tromp Meesters and imagine yourself in 1900, on the set of Steenwijk's own 'Downton Abbey'. Imagine the servants rushing in through a side door, their arms full of food. What's on the menu this evening? Rissoles of sweetbreads, roast chicks with apricots, shredded lobsters and cabinet pudding, of course. After dessert, the men relax in the next room, the Men's Room, with a good brandy under the nose and a cigar in the head. And when the meal has subsided, there is dancing. Waltz, polka, polonaise maestro". Take a seat in one of those classic armchairs, open a cupboard or drawer, feel the wintergreen in the orangery. No attendant to give you a pat on the back. The many volunteers in the house actually enhance the experience with extra stories, fun facts". And that is exactly how it is: here you are back in time for a moment.

Hendrick de Keyser Association, owner of Rams Woerthe and 419 other historic buildings in the Netherlands, wants to be a hospitable treasure keeper. Behind the doors of a number of houses, visitors are taken on a voyage of discovery through the rooms, surprised by the architecture, furnishings and creamy stories. Book an audio tour at Villa Rams Woerthe and you will really get to know everything about the architecture, the interior and the residents. Our tip: also visit the surprisingly nice Hildo Krop Museum in the basement. Krop made his name as city sculptor of Amsterdam, but came from Steenwijk. 

Within a 3-minute walk from Villa Ramswoerth we step B&B De Stadssingel inside. The door is already open for us and we are warmly welcomed by the owners Marja and Jaap.

We linger for a while in the atmosphere of yesteryear. This listed building dating from 1886 was once a doctor's practice and has now been open since the end of April 2021 as a charming Bed and Breakfast with the feel of a luxury boutique hotel. The four beautiful rooms Old Romance, Love Bird, Little Green and Shabby Chic all have their own look and feel. There is certainly something to choose from, but whichever room you choose, they will do everything in their power to make your stay unforgettable. We chose to stay in the Love Bird, which has a bathtub on legs and a fantastic private terrace. In the evening, Marja and Jaap cook the stars from heaven and we enjoy a varied dinner with surprising wines, advised to us personally by Jaap. Breakfast is really a feast and is prepared with all care, this is how you would like to start every day!

Discovering Steenwijk and its surroundings? Then ask for our personal tips. Depending on the weather, you can go in all directions. Take a walk through the much quieter Giethoorn-Noord, eat an ice-cream at the small harbour in Blokzijl, learn about the history in Prison Museum Veenhuizen, get on your bike and enjoy the versatile landscape, take a walk through Steenwijk... 

The smell upon entering, crispy white sheets, the piles of pillows on the bed, the hospitality and service that is so tangible .... 

We are often asked what makes a stay Listed. Of course we have criteria. But it is not a standard checklist. It is very personal, a bit of reasoning yes, but also a lot of feeling. The smell when you enter, crispy white sheets, the piles of pillows on a bed, the hospitality and service that is so tangible and yet invisible, the personal attention and listening ear, the fine music you hear, the sunbeam right in the window sill where you are sitting in a soft bathrobe, the warmth, the beautiful ambiance, baroque or minimalist, and of course: the great sense of quality in everything. And this is exactly what you can expect at B&B De Stadssingel.

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