June to August, 2013

Heather Frontier - field trip
Sunday 29 July, 2013 till Monday 30 July
Start: Sunday 10 h
End: Monday 30 July, 13 h approximately
Contribution: 15 euro (this only includes the travel expenses; other costs (for drinks, food etc) are for the participants)
Please note: for practical reasons, the number of participants is limited. Reservation necessary: send a message to info–at–

This Sunday we will visit two architectural sites in the east of the Netherlands who share some peculiar similarities: the former colonies in Veenhuizen, Frederiksoord and Wilhelminaoord in the provence of Drenthe and the recently built village Blauwestad in the provence of Groningen.

In 1818 the Society for Beneficience was founded, a private organisatation that was financially supported by wealthy citizens. The society aimed to help poor families to build up their own existence by becoming a farmer. Within the next decade, the society built several new colony settlements in Drenthe. Poor families from large cities in the west were offered to come voluntarily to the colonies of Veenhuizen, Frederiksoord and Wilhelminaoord. The aim was to reeducate the new inhabitants by means of labour on the land. Life in the colonies was based on rules and order; they were quite self sufficient and had their own ‘colony money’, bakery, windmill, dairy factory, shops etc. Until far in the 20th century Frederiksoord and Wilhelminaoord kept close to their initial identity. The focus of Veenhuizen changed in the course of time, and already in the 19th century became a place for beggars, tramps, hobos and others on the fringe of society who would stay there on unvoluntary basis.

'De Blauwe Stad' is another large architectural project in the remote eastern part of the Netherlands that was raised for people from the west – but with completely different set up and aims. In the nineties of the 20th century the provence of Groningen decided to build Blauwestad (Bluecity), a high profile settlement located in what used to be called the grain republic of the Netherlands. In stead of potatoes, beets and grain, the land was now to be used for luxury villas, in the first place for elder people from ‘the west’ with enough money to help ro revive the shaky economy of East-Groningen. A large lake was constructed, more than 8 square kilometers wide, called Oldambtmeer, to make the area top attractive. The sells however held off, and from the 1500 lots that are available, only 194 have been sold up to this moment.

The field trip will last all day and includes an overnight stay at a camping site in Drenthe. We will return to Den Haag on Monday morning.