Just like the Ministry of Defense, Minister Hanke Bruins-Slot (CDA) of the Interior will set to work on compensating for the loss of employment in Drenthe, in case the Johan Willem Frisokazerne in Assen closes. No final decision has yet been made about the future of the barracks in Assen and Havelte.
This is evident from letters from both ministries, which were sent to the House of Representatives together with the Defense Strategic Real Estate Report.
In a memo, the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations writes that a Rijkshub will be built next to Assen train station: a kind of extensive meeting location where government employees can meet. According to the ministry, the plans for this have not yet been worked out in more detail.
The minister also wants to establish a new government service in the provincial capital. Exactly what that will be is still under investigation. Assen already has three of these services: the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, ICT service DICTU and a department of Economic Affairs. She wants to see if she can expand the activities of these implementing organizations. The ministry is not yet able to say how many jobs this could potentially generate for Assen.
The province of Drenthe and the municipality of Assen are currently discussing the future of the barracks and new employment opportunities with the Ministry of Defense. When the barracks in Assen close and the troops go to Havelte, more than a thousand jobs disappear in the provincial capital. According to the Ministry of Defense, the talks are still ongoing and are being ‘constructive’.
The property report contains little further information about the future of the barracks in Assen and Havelte. The Ministry of Defense wants to merge the army units of the two barracks in Drenthe at the Havelter Johannes Postkazerne. The State Secretary specifically mentions the North School: the training battalion for the brigade in Havelte.
The Johan Willem Friso barracks in Assen has been nominated for closure, partly because the ministry considers making the barracks buildings more sustainable to be too expensive. The 11 Airmobile Brigade would then have to move, possibly to Havelte or the Oranjekazerne in Schaarsbergen. Perhaps Assen will get new Defense jobs in return.
The municipality of Assen and the province would prefer that the grounds of the barracks retain a Defense function. The Transport and Support Department of Justice, which has also been using the site for several years, should also remain there. State Secretary Christophe van der Maat (VVD) has promised that he will do his best for new employment in the region and continued involvement of Defense at the barracks in Assen.