September 26th, 2006
After the summer holidays, which seamlessly followed the political dolldrums of the aftermath of the local elections in spring, some new developments concerning Beeckestijn can finally be noticed.
First, the new councillor responsible for Beeckestijn came with a rather peculiar statement. As the former council had almost sold Beeckestijn, there was no room anymore for a civil servant concerned with the estate. The councillor (of the D66 party) declared she now needs to find someone to do that job. You’d think she already knew that by the end of April? So what’s keeping her?
Looking at her statements about the former council’s handling of the estate, it appears she is right to take some time. Almost a year ago, she asked a progress report from the councillor then responsible for the estate. From the underlying documents presented then (scroll down to Beeckestijn, 28 oktober 2005 -in Dutch, I’m afraid), a picture emerges of someone who tries to secure a proper future for Beeckestijn. One of the issues mentioned there (who’s going to protect Beeckestijn from vandalism when the museum is closed and empty?) has already been addressed in the past few months by finding people to temporarily live in the house and adjacent buildings.
Her enquiry last year came while there were wild speculations in the local press about the people who the estate would be sold to, including some almost incriminating remarks about one of these candidates.
Secondly, two new faces have emerged on the protection front. We already had the Stichting Vrienden van Beeckestijn and the
Stichting Vereniging Hendrick de Keyser, who in cooperation with some individual investors proposed to buy the estate. Now the Vrienden van Beeckestijn have asked Cascade chairman Carla Oldenburger for a meeting, and they will talk to professor Johan Carel Bierens de Haan (Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam), whose students have recently been given an assignment to develop plans for a healthy future for Beeckestijn.
My only question for now is: will anybody think about involving the team that has been restoring and recreating large parts of Beeckestijn’s garden in the last decade?