Minnie Wiersma, director of the Society of Benevolence, wants to build new ‘colony houses’ in Weststellingwerf.
Translated by Mehret Haile-Mariam
The permission to build a new colony in Westvierdeparten, Steggerda, has been requested. The colony in Westvierdeparten would be the first modern colony in Fryslân. The Society of Benevolence owned the area until the early 20th century when it was sold.
Fryslân to follow in Drenthes’ footsteps?
The Society of Humanitarianism (Maatschappij van Weldadigheid) considers the construction of the 50th energy-neutral home in Drenthe a milestone. The house is in Wilhelminaoord, not far from the Frisian border. However, Wiersma would also like to see more such projects in Stellingwerf’s area.
Colonies of Benevolence
That is because colony houses have stood and still stand on Frisian territory, this includes the areas East and West Vierdeparten, Steggerda, Vinkega, Noordwolde, and Boijl. The Society of Humanitarianism was founded by Johannes van den Bosch (1780-1844) in 1818. His goal was to combat poverty through labour, education, and discipline. As a result, mainly poor people ended up living in colony houses.
Nowadays, the colonies have been deemed to be UNESCO World Heritage sites. Only recently, Oostvierdeparten was granted a UNESCO World Heritage Status acknowledging and celebrating the presence of 15 historic farmhouses.
Weststellingwerf soon to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage list?
Alderman Jack Jongebloed told RTV Drenthe that he does support the project if everybody’s interests are taken into account. As the land in Weststellingwerf is owned mainly by farmers and private individuals, agreements must be arranged between all involved actors.