Discovering Groningen – the Piloersemaborg

Finally continued my tour of the Groninger borgen. After the Allersmaborg I had a look at the Piloersemaborg or Hamsterborg in the tiny village of Den Ham. Another place that was reachable by bike from Groningen.


The first time the borg is mentioned was in 1521 when it was a farm of the Jensema family. Dorothea Jensema in 1567 married the nobleman Johan de Mepsche. 1598 the owner of the stone house and estate became Frederik de Mepsche, who probably inherited a ruin, a result of the Eighty Years’ War or Dutch War of Independence. His son, another Johan de Mepsche, either built a new castle near the remains of the old stone house. A facing brick in the wall remembers this event.

After having rented out the borg to a farmer, the castle was sold in 1699 to the farmer Pieter Jacobs Bos(ch) and his wife Wiske Jacobs Scholtens. They soon added a farm building to the house, making it a castle farm. During the French period Cornelis Boelens, later mayor of Aduard, bought the castle, 1837 Tonnis Bartelds Wieringa. Around 1870 a small connecting house was added between the castle and the shed, and it got a neo-classical style. Also the house was renovated. The Wieringa family lived at the place until 1991. Many “borgen” in Groningen were demolished in the 19th century, this unique farm castle remained because it was used as a farm.

1986 the Wieringa van Hamsterborg Foundation was founded, that had the castle renovated 1998-1999. They are the present owners. The Soek family carries out the daily management. The farm part is managed by the Vereniging van Vrienden van de Hamsterborg.

Visiting the Piloersemaborg

The borg itself is not a museum, but a restaurant, place for meetings or parties, and B&B. A bit expensive for me, but I’d love to have a look inside. The food however is really supposed to be excellent. The chef, Dick Soek, had a Michelin star until 2013 when he moved from Verhildersum (another borg) to the Piloersemaborg.

I asked if I could walk around in the gardens, and was allowed to. There is a lovely “new formal garden”, a combination of a baroque and English landscape garden. And there is a utility garden with fruit trees, herbs and vegetables, that are being used in the restaurant.

On the way back home I fell with my bike. The result: bruises, small wounds and two broken fingers. Rather stiff, but otherwise luckily not very painful.

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