How accurate is this floor plan?

Size of the property and buildings

For a visual examination, we can walk down the Hippolytusbuurt and turn onto the Nieuwstraat. In addition, we can examine:

  • The records of the 1667 wharf tax (kadegeld), which note the property's width (1 roeden 1 voet) of 408 cm.
  • The Kadaster map of 1832, which shows the shape of the property and the location of the open spaces.
  • The V&D renovation plans of 1922.
  • An aerial view from Google Earth.

Exterior structures: facade, including windows

After the 1536 fire that destroyed most of Delft's stock of wooden houses (map on left sidebar; click to enlarge), the city was largely rebuilt within ten years. That included all of Leeuwenhoek's neighborhood along the Oude Delft and Nieuwe Delft. The houses' outer walls had to be built of brick or stone, though the beams, floors, interior walls, and staircases were almost all still wooden. In this frenzy of construction, there was not much opportunity for architectural experimentation.

The sketches for the 1678 Kaart Figuratief show the door in the middle and small-paned windows on each side of the door and above it. The published Kaart Figuratieft shows that all the houses in the nieghborhood had stepped gables (trapgevels).

Oudewater's 1875 aquarelle shows that the houses behind the trees, probably beginning with the one past Gulden Hoofd, had stepped gables. The Gulden Hoofd and the Suikerhuis on the corner probably did, too.

Two nearby houses, featured on the Facade page, have been restored as close as possible to their appearance in the 17th century. They both have stepped gables.

Interior structures: walls, windows, fireplaces, and staircases

The builders in the 1540's used the same techniques for supporting walls and floors for every house that they built. Enough of those houses remain to provide models for the Gulden Hoofd.

Making a reconstruction of the house is not possible without physical marks inside to rely on, such as remains of fireplaces, beam-holes for the rafters that supported the roof, and slits in the walls for the stairs. The current structure has concrete floors that cut off access to the foundation or even a cesspit that could reveal more.

The only piece still above ground is part of the north outer wall just under Leeuwenhoek's office and laboratory (right sidebar; click to enlarge). It came bare during the renovation in 2016-2017.

Arrangement of the rooms

The evidence that

The overall size of the property is measurable today. However, what about the house itself and the rooms within it?

(the route is not portaaltje - comtoirtje, but sleepingroom - comtoirtje)-

In his letters, Leeuwenhoek occasionally mentions his house in ways that help us position the rooms. The relevant passages are quoted in the pages about those rooms.

Where there are three rooms on the ground floor front, there are only two rooms on the upper floor. Thus it is plausible that there were bedsteads between the two rooms against the dividing wall.

After the houses were combined, few changes were made by the subsequent owners until Vroom and Dreesman got permission from the city to remodel the buildings as a department store in 1904. They did not demolish the Suikerhuis and the Gulden Hoofd, as can be seen from the aerial view. The foundations and parts of the brick walls remain. When the property was remodeled in 2016-2017, some of the original structure was exposed. However, at the time Delft had no building historian, so the opportunity was lost to find physical evidence that could guide a more accurate reconstruction, such as the fireplaces, the beam-holes for the rafters, and the slits in the walls for the stair steps. It would have been interesting to see if anything could be excavated from the cesspit in the back.

Behind the Suijckerhuijs was a space next to the Druif. On the kadastermap 1832 is seems to be an open space. On the buildingplans of V & D it can be noticed that the cellar was reaching to the backwall of the 'original' Suijkerhuijs, like that house (the roof) can still be seen on Google maps. The 'Caert figuratief' shows a structure with a gable to the Nieuwstraat. The gutter of that roof seems to allow windows in the backwall of the Suijkerhuijs. The roofline blocked the sunlight, but not all of it, otherwise the grapes from the yard would not have tasted very good.

Size of the rooms

The Druif has on the buildingplans of V & D a roof with a slope that was not used in the 17the century for houses. The rooftiles, 'dakpannen', wouldn't dry enough and get damaged by frost.

The house at the Nieuwe straat was a very narrow house. The form is recognisable at the buildingplans of V & D.