Frederiksoord & Wilhelminaoord Colonies

Westerveld, Netherlands

Frederiksoord is a town in the Dutch province of Drenthe. It was the headquarters of the 19th century Society of Humanitarianism. The Society (Maatschappij van Weldadigheid) was a Dutch private organization set up in 1818 by general Johannes van den Bosch to help poor families, mostly from the big cities, improve their lot in the aftermath of the Napoleonic French occupation by granting them farming land. He petitioned William I of the Netherlands for its formation and bought uncultivated land in Drenthe for the poor to exploit. The Estate 'Westerbeeksloot' in what is now Frederiksoord was the society's administrative center.

Other similar colonies were Wilhelminaoord and Veenhuizen, in the Netherlands, and Wortel in Belgium. As the colonies’ small farms yielded insufficient revenues, the Society of Benevolence sought other sources of revenue, contracting with the State to settle orphans, soon followed by beggars and vagrants, leading to the creation of “unfree” colonies, such as Veenhuizen, with large dormitory type structures and larger centralized farms for them to work under the supervision of guards. The colonies were designed as panoptic settlements along orthogonal lines. They feature residential buildings, farm houses, churches and other communal facilities. At their peak in the mid-19th century, over 11,000 people lived in such colonies in the Netherlands. In Belgium their number peaked at 6,000 in 1910. 

Wilhelminaoord is connected to Frederiksoord. They had a spatial structure with straight, tree-lined avenues, the 'ribbon' development, the facilities – including a church – the cemeteries, the basket-making workshop, the farms, the former convalescent homes. 

The three colonies in Netherlands and Wortel in Belgium were listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site of 'Colonies of Benevolence' in 2021.

References:

Comments

Your name



User Reviews

Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Trencín Castle

Trenčín Castle is relatively large renovated castle, towering on a steep limestone cliff directly above the city of Trenčín. It is a dominant feature not only of Trenčín, but also of the entire Považie region. The castle is a national monument.

History of the castle cliff dates back to the Roman Empire, what is proved by the inscription on the castle cliff proclaiming the victory of Roman legion against Germans in the year 179.

Today’s castle was probably built on the hill-fort. The first proven building on the hill was the Great Moravian rotunda from the 9th century and later there was a stone residential tower, which served to protect the Kingdom of Hungary and the western border. In the late 13th century the castle became a property of Palatine Matúš Csák, who became Mr. of Váh and Tatras.

Matúš Csák of Trenčín built a tower, still known as Matthew’s, which is a dominant determinant of the whole building.