Emmastraat 58, Caecilia

Both Franz and his brother Willy were born in Amsterdam. In 1914 a part of the family moved to the Emmastraat 58 in Hilversum. Franz only moved there in 1916 after having lived in Rotterdam for a few years. Once in Hilversum, Farwerck had lived at the Emmastraat until he died. Or so I thought!

Nowadays there is no Emmastraat 58, the house is gone.

Some history of the house

Caecilia (also Cæcilia and Cecilia) was built in 1875. Three years later stables ‘with living facilities’ were added. In that same year, the plot was for sale, see above. The oldest advertisement (left, March 1878) speaks of a villa with a park, 9 rooms and two rooms for personnel. Another advertisement for the sale speaks of a plot of 48 ares (48 x 100 square metres).

In November of the same year, stables with lodging were built. Apparently the new owners didn’t want their personnel to live in the same building.

The villa was bought around 1911 by a certain Vink and his family. Already a year later Vink passed away and the house was sold publically by a bailiff. I have found the selling price (ƒ 20.000,-), but not the buyer. A fact is that in 1912 Farwerck senior and his business partner advertised the plans to build a carpet factory in Hilversum. A year later they were looking for employers. My guess is that it were the Farwercks to got the villa from the auction.

I found a website on which you can pick a spot and you can scroll through a timeline. When a newer map is available, it is presented. The first map you see below is from 1890. it is the first map with houses on the left side of the large road in the middle (Emmastraat). Caecilia must be somewhere above the splitting roads in the bottom right corner. The map is not clear enough to see where the coach house might have been. The wavy line suggests that a forest bordered the gardens, perhaps that’s the park mentioned above.
The second map is from 1910, so just before the Farwercks purchased the house. Hilversum exploded, many new buildings were built and around the area where Caecilia was located, there is now also a new road and new houses. Quite like the map of today actually. It looks like there is a park bordering the gardens, which probably explains why some newspaper ads speak of a park.
For 1933 I have zoomed in a bit. It is a different map, but not much different ‘building-wise’.
Then follows a modern looking map with massive changes. Look at all the green that disappeared and houses that were built. My guess is that Caecilia is the house bordering what is left of the greenery.
In 1962 you see the big, red inverted C which is the neighbouring school. Again less is left of the green.
The last map is of 1974, the school has taken over Caecila and it is replaced by a large new building.

In 1878 the coach house was built. Already in 1915 this house has its own address, but apparently, the Farwerck family bought the main house and the coach house in one buy as they had the personnel live in the extra house. There is a strong suggestion that the same goes for the buy in which the neighbouring school purchased the villa. See below.

Further digging

At number 56 a school is listed called Alberdingk Thijm. The school has a website with some history (1). Here it says (my translation):

On 3 October 1921 the R.C. [Roman Catholic] HBS [‘higher civilian school’] of Hilversum started in a villa at Emmastraat 56, with 36 students and 10 teachers.

So not too long after the family Farwerck moved in, they had a school for neighbours. The school turned out to be a fruitful path to follow.

Not surprising with a new school, the villa soon proved to be too small (click on the link of note (1) and see the little photo on the right). The building was enlarged with a wooden building which burned down in 1931. Imagine that in the next garden!
In 1938 a proper structure with chapel was built by architect Nico Andriessen.

During WWII the Germans seized and occupied the building. I also know that bunkers were built in Farwerck’s garden (at least, plans were made). The occupiers that he has so much problems with.

In 1954 the school again had to be enlarged and in the 1960’ies again there were expansions. What school website does not say, is that during this process, Farwerck’s house was gobbled up.

A not too professional website that publishes old material from Hilversum has an interesting entry with the plans for the reconstruction of Emmastraat 58 (3). It says that Haffmans and Roling Architects from Amsterdam took up the reconstruction in 1967. Note that Farwerck only passed away in 1969. The ground plans seem to have the original layout of Farwerck’s house, temporary classrooms in his garden and the new design.
The website has more information about Emmastraat 58. A partial construction drawing from 1925 and also a the drawing of the front that Hoogenboom (2) lists for the 1920’ies, but which the website puts in 1940. If the latter is the case, this is a drawing that was made for the reconstruction after the fire of January 1940.

The 1925 drawing (see below) has a byline: “commissioned by the honorary mister F.E. Farwerck; expansion for the placement of books and cases”.

A very interesting document can be found online (4). It is a report about the reconstruction of the Alberdingk Thijm International School from 2010. It starts with information about the architect Nicolaas Andriessen (1892-1947) and puts this architecture in Andriessen’s work. Under the header “Schools” a fairly detailed history of the Emmastraat can be found.

In 1921 the school moved into the 19th century villa. In 1922 the building had to be enlarged. The wooden building is here said to be a gym and it burned down in 1931. Andriessen took care of a small rebuilding and also started to plan to replace the original villa which was in a bad shape.

A first concept was turned down and then Andriessen came with a draft including a long stretched wing following the plot boundary between the school and Farwerck’s garden. This was executed which must have made an impact on Farwerck’s garden. The building was finished in 1938. As mentioned, a chapel was added.

After the war, parts of the building had to be rebuilt, but in 1955 and 1984 new expansions were carried out.

“In 1967 the Board bought the villa Caecilia next door and established classrooms in it.” So now Farwerck’s villa has a name. Strangely enough, there is no mention of Emmastraat 60, the coach house, that has had an address since at least 1915. Still it appears to have disappeared in the same plans for the school as the villa itself. (“Later, the villa was demolished in favor of a new building.”)
More temporary classrooms were put in Farwerck’s former garden. This was already in 1968, so before Farwerck passed away.

The name of the house led to new information which made me able to give some history of the house. Noteworthy may be that Caecilia is some sort of patron saint in Hilversum with a guild named after her. Many of the villas seem to have had names by the way. Sometimes the houses are referred to by name rather than by address.

I haven’t found many references to the name of the villa in the years that Farwerck lived there. It almost seems as if locals used the name, but the inhabitants didn’t. A newspaper item about the fire that I hadn’t found because the name is spelled “Fahrwenck” does use the name.

So, the family Farwerck bought the villa around 1912, the Amsterdam archive have the family moving to Hilversum only at 1 May 1914. Perhaps they needed a few years for reconstructions? Farwerck’s mother died in 1920, his father in 1930. The staff lived in the coach house until 1943 when Willy and Johanna Farwerck moved into the main building and their sons into the coach house. In 1967 the expanding next door school buys the villa, initially puts school classes in it, but apparently takes the villa down after 1977 to replace it with a new building. Point of fact: Farwerck did not spend his last years in the house where he had lived for many, many years. Where did he move to? I’m not sure yet.

How did Farwerck live? There several old photos available from the Emmastraat. One website has particularly many (6). I have not found a photo that certainly contains Caecilia. The closest I got is this.

In Farwerck’s time and today still, Emmastraat and Sophialaan (and Soesterdijksestraatweg and Utrechtsebaan) split at the place where Caecilia could be found. This photo has no year, but the house on the right looks a lot like the one on this photo:

This photo is dated 1903 and in the back you see the Saint Vitus church, which means that we are looking into the direction of the town centre. That means that Caecilia had to be just to the left of both pictures.

This photo is taken with the photographer just a few meters back, probably standing in front of the toll house (see below). Would that little gate on the left be Caecilia’s?

As you can see, Farwerck lived in a street with pretty large houses, but they are already quite close to each other. Following the street into the direction of the church, you go downtown, so other photos of the Emmastraat have even more people, but also hotels and smaller houses. In the time that Farwerck lived there, the street must already have been quite lively.

At the splitting roads there used to be a ‘toll house’, nowadays a restaurant. The following photo is taken in the direction of that ‘toll house’, so in the opposite direction of the photos above.

The streets in the description point towards the part that Caecilia was located.

So that is where Farwerck lived. Undoubtedly during the 50 years he lived there, things got a little more ‘modern’. All photos are probably older than the family Farwerck living there, but I haven’t found more recent photos yet.


(1) Website Alberdingk Thijm (accessed 27/12/19) (link updated 24/2/2021)

(2) Tapijtfabrikant en Dominee by Hans Hoogenboom, March 2015 (PDF)

(3) Hilversum Clubs, accessed 27/12/19

(4) Bouwhistorische Verkenning en Waardenstelling Schoolgebouw aan de Emmastraat 56, Hilversum (PDF, accessed 27/12/19)

(5) Topotijdreis: 200 jaar topografische kaarten acccessed 19/2/21

(6) Harmen-visser.nl accessed 24/02/2021

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