How Dirk Scheringa’s enormous prestige project is now coming back to the people

It had to be the crowning achievement of Dirk Scheringa. A large museum in Opmeer, consisting of 44 rooms, which had to accommodate approximately 1,300 works of art. It never got to that point due to the bankruptcy of DSB Bank in 2009. It was only 15 years later that the impressive building on Breestraat was given a destination with 99 rental properties. A look back at 15 years of vacancy.

Photo: Dirk Scheringa museum – NH News / Marielle Bakker

It has been there for almost 15 years, in a prominent place on the edge of the village. The museum that once cost 30 million euros and never opened its doors for a day. “It is actually much too big for a village like Opmeer,” says councilor Herman ter Veen. “It is a building with city allure.” The building has been fenced off for years, without anything happening to it. “We would like to see a solution for it, because I actually think it is ‘The pustule of Opmeer’,” said a local resident years ago.

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That interpretation was long overdue. Because it has been empty since that one day in 2009. When the museum was emptied just before its opening. Herman ter Veen is an alderman of Opmeer and a councilor at the time. Thoughts go back to that day in 2009, when the Netherlands withdrew its savings en masse and the DSB empire came to an abrupt end. “It was a bizarre day. In the evening the entire museum was emptied, construction workers left and never returned. Open packs of laminate and tools were left behind and remained there for years.”

Large supermarket

The Scheringa Museum never came to be, but the idea of ​​a museum in Opmeer persisted for a long time. In 2013, then mayor Gertjan Nijpels still sounded combative: “People come to the municipality with ideas about an outlet center or a large supermarket. But we stick to the destination and that is a museum. What are the chances that this will happen? ? 100 percent.”

The National Historical Museum has been in the picture, as has the establishment of the primary school. “But it is such a large building. You then have to deal with maintenance, a manager has to be appointed and other things like that. That is financially unfeasible for a municipality like Opmeer,” says Ter Veen.

“We stick to the destination and that is a museum. What are the chances that it will happen? 100 percent”

Gertjan Nijpels in 2013 – then mayor of Opmeer

An Obdam real estate entrepreneur bought the building from the curators in 2015 for almost a million euros. Real estate agent Geert Klaver was appointed in 2017 to sell the property. Plans eventually work to nothing and in April 2020 it was announced that real estate organization SVE Group had purchased the property.

SVE Group wanted to convert the complex into one combination of living and care. Residents of the Scheringa Museum reacted happily to the new purpose of the building in 2021. At an information meeting they were allowed to provide input on the plans to turn the museum building into a residential complex. It would contain 121 apartments, many of which would be for young people and people in need of care.

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Photo: Impression of the Scheringa Museum – De Woon Schakel

Immense building

Construction of homes in the immense building had already started, but SVE Group decided that it wanted to rent out two wings (B and C) first. Housing association De Woon Schakel did not hesitate and purchased both wings in order to realize 99 homes in the short term. The front block, consisting of 24 luxury apartments, is sold by SVE to private individuals. The intention is for the first residents to move into the former museum in April 2024.

And so 15 years of vacancy come to an end. From 1,300 works of art to 99 rental properties. To Ter Veen’s delight: “It was not yet a headache, but we did have concerns about it. The longer it is empty, the more difficult it is to find a solution. There were more and more voices from residents that the museum should be demolished. because nothing happened to it anyway. Fortunately, it didn’t come to that.”

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