June 13th, 2007
The mayor and aldermen of Velsen yesterday announced that they plan not to sell the estate Beeckestijn. Instead, they will exchange the estate against land currently owned by the National Agency of Rural Areas (Dienst Landelijk Gebied -DLG). DLG is part of the department of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (Ministerie van Landbouw, Natuur en Voedselkwaliteit -LNV). Included in the exchange are the recreational area and some pastures next to the estate. The local council will have to decide on this exchange within the next few weeks.
The exchange will give Velsen the opportunity to include these newly acquired grounds in current development plans elsewhere in the town, while at the same time getting rid of an estate that weighed heavily on the council’s budget in the past years. According to the statement, the province of Noord-Holland played an important role in arranging this exchange: the province told the Velsen council they would be prepared to exchange these grounds, provided DLG would approve. So a claim I mentioned in an earlier post finally materialises.
A related announcement by the Foundation of Friends of Beeckestijn (Stichting Vrienden van Beeckestijn -VvB) says that if the exchange is approved by the Velsen council, DLG will pass the estate on to non-profit organisation Natuurmonumenten, who will obviously focus on the garden and surrounding areas. The house will be managed by Vereniging Hendrick de Keyser, who specialise in finding proper uses for historical buildings. The ground floor may become available for museum activities, a possibility which will be examined in close association with the VvB.
Earlier this year, Natuurmonumenten and Vereniging Hendrick de Keyser joined forces in successfully drawing up restoration plans for the buildings as well as the gardens at Nijenburg, also in the province of Noord-Holland. [Addition June 20, 2007: one part of the restoration at Nijenburg was recently completed. The former coach house is restored and at the same time transformed into a small home, while maintaining the overall structure and look of the coach house.]