De Herberg in the Frisian village of Waskemeer, is the new centre of the village, and is alcohol free
Translated by Thomas Ansell
After tens of years, the centre of Waskemeer in the municipality of Ooststellingwerf again has a pub. The 800-person village was without any form of central meeting place, but now has a place where people can meet, drink coffee, have lunch; and even ‘borrel’ together. There’s just one difference from most other pubs: De Herberg is alcohol-free.
A group of residents in Waskemeer decided to band together to re-open the pub. The village does have its own hall, but it is only open in the evenings, and sits on the edge of the village. Waskemeer was missing a day-time meeting place, and the group of residents decided to fix this.
“Waskemeer has no bakery, no butchers, and no shops. So, residents don’t come together that often, and you don’t find out if someone has, for example, had a baby, or whether to bring a bouquet of flowers to a sick neighbour. The goal of De Herberg is that it becomes that village hub”, said Leke Otter, a member of the De Herberg foundation.
The building was previously a hairdresser, followed by a bar, and then a lunchroom. Recently, though, the lunchroom was only available by appointment, due to the owner’s sickness, and it then had to close. The building was put up for sale, and it looked as though Waskemeer would lose last outlet.
However, the De Herberg Foundation raised the money to buy back the pub, with donations coming from almost every person in the village, and the surrounding villages. The foundation also benefitted from a subsidy from the Mienskipfûns (community funds), via the gemeente.
De Herberg is now open from Tuesday through to Sunday, from 10:00 to 17:00- and it is staffed by two volunteers each day. In total, 30 volunteers are putting in time, but not everyone had experience in the hospitality sector. The foundation has organised a number of training courses so that the pub is well-run.
In the summer months, the pub will be open significantly longer: the foundation hopes that it becomes a good resting place for cyclists discovering the Frisian countryside.
Image via De Herberg on Facebook