Hofje van Mevrouw van Aerden

Museum (Netherlands)
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About

The Hofje van Mevrouw van Aerden is a museum and former hofje in Leerdam, Netherlands, on the Kerkstraat (numbers 57 and 89).

It was built during the years 1770-1772 on the former location of the "Kasteel van Leerdam", a castle that was destroyed by the Spanish in 1574. The hofje was founded by Maria Ponderus, the daughter of a surgeon who at 20 married the 50-year-old widower Pieter van Aerden, notary in The Hague. She lived to 92, surviving her husband and three children, who also had no issue. She decided to leave her fortune to a hofje for women of the Protestant faith. Though she had intended her hofje for the poor of The Hague, by the time she died the most of her poor relations were living in Leerdam. Through connections with the House of Orange, the site of the old castle of Leerdam was chosen to build the hofje. [source]