Masters of Mobility


8.1 Cornelis van Mander and the van Nijendael Family

The first time we hear about Cornelis van Mander is in 1639. By then he is 28 years old. In that year Cornelis married Cornelia van Nijendael, a marriage that gives an enormous boost to his career.1 Cornelia was the daughter of Jan Gijsbertsz van Nijendael who - in the early 1620s - settled down in the new town Friedrichstadt an der Eider that Friedrich III of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf had founded in 1621, especially for religious refugees from the Netherlands. His brother, Gosen Gijsbertsz van Nijendael, became a member of the town council of Friedrichstadt and surveyor of all building activities there.2

The van Nijendael family was a huge Utrecht family that included merchants who traded with the Dutch East Indies, notaries, brewers, pastors, and artists. In the 17th century, members of the van Nijendael family spread all over Schleswig-Holstein, Denmark and Sweden. The father-in-law of Cornelis, the above-mentioned Jan Gijsbertsz van Nijendael, was one of the artists in the family, a kunstdrejer or Drechsler, who made small exquisite ivories and wooden objects for the duke’s collection.3 In 1626 he moved from Friedrichstadt to Schleswig, closer to Gottorf castle, where, from c. 1630 onwards, he leased from the duke an old brickyard or Ziegelei, with ovens and sheds for bricks and roof tiles. This brickyard was soon functioning well again and even started to flourish. In 1634 Jan also leased a building complex from the duke on the Friedrichstrasse, which was the street leading up to the castle. This was the so-called Winterfeld’schen Hof, probably a former Adelshof, consisting of a main mansion, seven smaller houses, a kitchen garden, a Lustgarten and meadows.4 It is not known when and where Cornelis and Cornelia met or how the marriage was arranged, but after the wedding Cornelis and Cornelia lived in one of these houses.5 The Hof was often used by the duke as accommodation for foreign ambassadors or military men and their servants and horses,6 but also for Dutch engineers working in Friedrichstadt an der Eider and the members of the Persian embassy.7 In 1643 Jan Gijsbertsz started another brickyard in present-day Aabenraa (German: Apenrade) which became another seat of the Nijendael family. He left the Hof and Ziegelei in Schleswig under the control of his son Gijsbrecht and his son-in-law Cornelis van Mander.

From 1639 onwards Cornelis leased a brickyard himself. In the following years – according to the baptismal register of Haddeby – Cornelis and Cornelia had three sons: Johan (1641), Carl (1643) and Raphael (1649).8 Cornelia’s sister Maria van Nijendael, born in Utrecht in 1618, also married an artist: the painter, art dealer, architect and engraver Otto Jageteuffel (1610?-1667), originally from Parchim in Mecklenburg. They lived close to the rest of the family in the Winterfeld’schen Hof. Already from 1632 onwards Jageteuffel worked for the ducal court. Later on he would own the Kraacklund estate in Aabenraa, of which a drawing made by him can be found in the Stammbuch of preacher Goswinus van Nijendael, another member of the Van Nijendael family.9

It was no coincidence that the Nijendael family settled in Schleswig. In 1633 Friedrich III started to make plans to turn Schleswig into a European centre of the silk trade with Persia. Together with a rich merchant from Hamburg, Otto Brüggeman, the duke hoped to persuade Shah Safi I to grant him the monopoly on silk. The costly textiles would be transported via the Volga river, Russia and the Baltic to Gottorf. The first mission in 1633 was a failure, but the second one, that started in 1637, was a success. Adam Olearius (1603-1671) [3], secretary to the duke and later court librarian and surveyor of the Kunstkammer, returned in 1639 with a Persian delegation and a load of silk. But ultimately the silk trade between Persia and Gottorf proved to be impossible: the road was too dangerous, the Russian Tsar was not very cooperative and he levied severe taxes. The most important reason, however, was that the Swedes, the Dutch and the Armenians were ahead of the duke and already controlled the silk trade.10

Heinrich Dittmers
Portrait of Adam Olearius (1599-1671), explorer, mathematician aand astronomer of Duke Frederik III of Gottorp, c. 1665
Hillerød, The National Museum of History Frederiksborg Castle, inv./ A 802

While Olearius was on his way to Persia, Friedrich III started to plan to enlarge the gardens of Gottorf castle with the so-called Newe Werck, that are considered to be the first terraced gardens in Northern Europe. The surveyor of the work was the famous garden architect Johan Clodius (1584-1660), who had previously lived and worked eight years in Italy.11


1 Via the Ecartico database where the marriage of Cornelis van Mander with Cornelia van Nijendael is mentioned, my attention was drawn to the Collectie genealogie van de familie (Van) Nijendaal 1165-2000, in the Regionaal Historisch Centrum Zuidoost Utrecht, Wijk bij Duurstede ( T00348). It contains a wealth of copies of original archival items, transcriptions, photographs, correspondence etc., collected by the late Lyda van Nijendaal. An inventory was made by E. Hinders in 2011. A digital copy of the archive is in the Centrum voor Familiegeschiedenis in The Hague. I am very grateful to the staff of the RHCZU for their kind help.

2 The name of the family is spelled in many different ways: Niendael, Niendahl, Nydall, Nydahl, Nydal or Neudal.

3 Schmidt 1917, p. 85.

4 Stadtarchiv Schleswig, Alt Schleswig I, 148; Landesarchiv Schleswig Abt. 7, no. 4243 (Ämtes Gottorf-Hütten-Stapelholm, 1634-05-01).

5 On 6 October 1639 Friedrich III gave a wedding present to the father of Cornelia. Familienkundliches Jahrbuch Schleswig-Holstein 18 (1979), p. 28.

6 Schmidt 1917, p. 87.

7 Note in the Van Nijendael archive, Wijk bij Duurstede; one of these Dutch engineers was Isaac de Mol.

8 Friis 1890-1901, p. 87: the baptismal register of the church in Haddeby is in the University Library of Copenhagen.

9 On Jageteuffel: Zubek 1990, p. 27-50. Also: Kunstindeks Danmark & Weilbachs Kunstnerleksikon (S. Heiberg). The Stammbuch is in the Royal Library in The Hague, A A 216 KW, 121 E 13.

10 Brancaforte 2003, p. 8-21. On Olearius: Baumann/Köster/Kuhl et al. 2017.

11 On Clodius: Paarmann 1986, p. 368-372; on the gardens of Gottorf: Paarmann 1986, Messerschmidt 1996; Asmussen-Stratmann 1997; Asmussen-Stratmann 2009.

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