April in Paris is located in Aerdenhout, a neighborhood located just outside of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The small town is found in the dunes between Haarlem and the beach resort Zandvoort (also known as Amsterdam Beach). In the 18th century, Aerdenhout was still called ‘Den Anderen Hout’, Dutch for ‘the other wood’, to distinguish it from Haarlemmerhout, a different wooded area in Haarlem.
April in Paris’ home is Huize ‘t Haspel, one of the oldest villas in Aerdenhout, built in 1898. It was named after the old site dating back to 1760 that was then called ‘Het Groote en Kleine Haspel’ (the large and small reel), where sheep grazed the green fields at the forest edge. The distinctive villa was designed by renowned Dutch architect Johan van der Steur, who is known for being the executing architect of the Vredespaleis (Peace Palace) in The Hague and the architect of the impressive Stadsschouwburg (City Theatre) in Haarlem.
Early in 20th century, the area was known for its rich artistic climate. Neighbouring villas were built as studio houses for renowned Dutch artists, such as Breitner and composer, pianist and painter Von Brucken Fock. These dwellings became gathering places where artists and famous composers, like Edvard Grieg, worked. It is easy to imagine how the tranquil and enchanting environment could have fostered artistic inspiration.
This relaxed, unconventional setting is representative of April in Paris’s attitude to how art can be experienced. Instead of a white cube, visitors should expect private salons filled with sunlight.