Successful restoration of the farm De Oude Vos


‘Beautiful history gets a new chapter’

By Richard Stegers

Historic complex De Oude Vos in Wichmond has been nominated for the Monument Award Bronckhorst 2022, as have the homes on Molenkolkweg (numbers 12 to 34) in Steenderen. The winner will be announced on 30 August and the award ceremony will take place on 7 September at 20.00 during the opening meeting for Open Heritage Days in Remigiuskerk in Hengelo Gld. The heritage days are 10 and 11 September.

BRONCKHORST/WICHMOND – Jan-Jaap and Leida Zwart immediately fell in love with the De Oude Vos farm in Wichmond. They bought the nostalgic building with drive-through shed on a plot of 11,000 square meters at the end of 2018 and had it beautifully restored. “The historic complex already has a good history and we have added a new chapter to it,” says Jan-Jaap Zwart.

Sustainability is the theme of Heritage Days this year. Sustainability was an important starting point in the restoration of De Oude Vos at Lankhorsterstraat 7 in Wichmond. Bronckhorst municipality’s monument committee was impressed by the effort to make the farm modern and at the same time preserve its character. The new owner has restored the monument with great respect and attention to detail. “A balance has been sought in a very attractive and restrained way between preserving the monumental characteristics of the exterior and interior and adapting it to current living requirements.”

The committee has hit the nail on the head with that. After the renovation, the farm is ready for the future and is even ahead of the music. “The gas connection has been cut off. It is very comfortable considering the serious situation surrounding gas and the enormously high prices. We heat and cool with a heat pump, which is very comfortable using underfloor heating,” says Jan-Jaap. There is also invested in solar panels, a solar collector, a completely new electrical and heating installation and insulation measures. “Normally, old farms are energy guzzlers. This is prevented here by properly insulating the roof, walls and floors.” The result is a low energy bill. The character and appearance of the farm had to be preserved. Therefore, the original single-glazed windows are still intact. Shutters prevent too much heat from being lost.

The historical complex in Wichmond has the oldest mention in 1652. Toenys in ‘t Vosken was the name of the predecessor of De Oude Vos. The current farm is from around 1880. It has a front house and a part with beautiful old rafters. Before the current owners bought it, it was owned for a long time by the Maan family. Until about twenty years ago, the mixed farm was still cultivated with cows, pigs and some arable farming. Old photos of the family adorn the wall.

There is a drive-through shed along the road on the property. The Lankhorsterstraat was an important trade route from Zutphen to Germany. Merchants with horse and cart stopped at De Oude Vos, then an inn. The horse was stabled in the drive-through. You could sleep on hilde, the floor. “We think the history and the place are very special. It has a rich history, that’s what makes it special.” The also monumental drive-through barn has not yet been restored to its former glory. That is a wish for later. The farm itself has already been renovated. Pictures show that it was a major renovation. “We didn’t see any bears on our way, but in the end quite a lot happened.” For example, the roof of the front house was in bad shape. The tracks had collapsed and asbestos had to be removed. The hood was shot, the roof insulated , the latter also happened with the outer walls. The roof tiles could be reused, as could the gutters. “The top floor was one large open room that could only be accessed with a ladder. We have made a fixed staircase, a bedroom and a bathroom .” Downstairs, a living kitchen was made, where two bedrooms were located.

The part still has the exact appearance of times past. You can still see the cows, pigs and horses, so to speak. “The atmosphere really appeals to us. We have enough space in the front house so it can be preserved that way.” The half-thatched part had a floor of slats, which are sawn fir logs. They have been removed.”

The garden was taken care of, there was a fence of split oak posts and a kitchen garden. Fruit trees, chickens and sheep also appeared. In collaboration with the naturforeningen ‘t Onderholt, a pool and hedge were built.

Jan-Jaap and Leida went to work thoroughly and engaged local companies for the renovation, such as architect Warc from Steenderen, the carpentry company Jolink from Hummelo and de Nieuwe warm from Halle. “We cooperated ourselves, and the neighborhood was also helpful.” All in all, the renovation was a significant investment. The extra costs due to the status as a municipal monument were to some extent compensated with a small grant. “We are proud of the end result and live here with great pleasure. If we win the Monument Prize, we organize a barbecue for the people who have made a contribution. It would end the project in a nice way.”

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