“Rijsbergen” is one of the oldest buildings on the island and an important part of the island history.

From the 12th century onwards the island was gradually cultivated by the order of the “Cisterciënzer” munks who also built some large farms on the island.

After the reformation the island was confiscated in 1580 by the “State of Friesland” (the North of Holland had a certain degree of independence in those days) and later sold on. In 1640 the island was purchased by the family Stachouwer. They originated from the Dutch town of Blaricum and were awarded the title “Lords of Schiermonnickoog”. At the time the family Stachouwer owned a small castle in the village of Westerburen (that location is now in the middle of the sea West of the island).

As a result of a series of very heavy storms, the old village and the small castle were washed ayway by the sea and the new village Schiermonnikoog was built around 1750. The typical island houses on the Langenstreek have been built in those days.

The family Stachouwer, owner of the island, built their new house “Rijsbergen” at the East side of the village.

The Stachouwer family have lived in the house Rijsbergen until they sold the island in 1858 to the Dutch lawyer John Eric Banck, originating from Den Hague. He remained owner until 1982 (and has made many contributions to the island such as the reclaiming a large part of land on the south side by building a large dike and establishing 7 farms on this land, the incorportation of the nautical college on the island, etc.).

As of 1983 until 1945 the island and the house Rijsbergen were the property of 3 generations of the noble family of the German counts Von Bernstorff. Their presence on the island was primarily limited to the summers.

The German counts Von Bernstorff on Schiermonnikoog

Count Berthold Hartwig von Bernstorff,

Owner of Rijsbergen and the island from 1893 till 1906

Count Georg Ernst August von Bernstorff,

Owner of Rijsbergen and the island from 1906 till 1939

Count Bechtold Eugen von Bernstorff,

Owner of Rijsbergen and the island from 1939 till 1945

After the 2nd World War the island and house were annexated from the last count Von Bernstorff by the Dutch Stated by virtue of the “Law on the annexation of all hostile property”. Since 1945 the island remained largely the property of the Dutch state while it increasingly became a tourist destination.

After 1945 the house Rijsbergen has for many years served as school and youth hostel and in those years maintenance has been neglected for a long period of time and there was little attention for the history of the house and any remainders of the past. What remains today from the old days is the monumental facade, the roof constuction and the beautiful location.

Since 1992 Rijsbergen is owned by current the management. The house has gradually been renovated and modernised and has been turned into a small hotel with a very distinct atmosphere. In 2007 the 250-year anniversary of Rijsbergen was celebrated. In the front wall of the building a memorial stone has been placed in honour of all the previous owners of the island and the house.