The Heritage program of the Province of Groningen organized at Maarhuizen the second meeting of the Heritage Lab last May. This monumental farmstead just outside Winsum (Groningen) was recently renovated and restored with respect to old details, being one of the MOMAr's good practices.

With a contribution from the Province of Groningen, a lot of attention was paid to sustainability during this renovation process. Maarhuizen, the name of the restored farm was officially opened on the first of July 2023. The farmstead on the medieval Wierde (the Dutch word for dwelling mount) is given a new purpose: in harmony with the immediate environment a stage for nature & culture. To give an example: the old barn - previously used for grain storage - was renovated, insulated and will be the in-house theatre.


The heating of the complex is organized via a hybrid air heat pump in combination with solar panels. The solar panels on the roof of the barns are placed partly out of sight and partly visible to visitors. Placing solar panels on monumental roofs can be a problem but here transparent panels are placed as windows. The heating in the theatre is highly innovative and the renovation was done with respect for natural materials. For example, the walls are finished with wooden battens and the floor was made of linoleum. Maarhuizen is an excellent example of repurposing an old farm with respect to monumental value and 21st-century comfort. During the session of the Heritage Lab, the team faced the problems (or opportunities) and solutions for dealing with sustainability in heritage.


During the restoration, they made reuse of older materials as much as possible. The floor in the vestibule was restored with wood originating from other parts of the house. For the monumental trusses and beams the contractor searched for old wood in the same size. By doing so, the material was not only reused, but the weathering was exactly the same. Mud used on the barn floor originated from a newly constructed highway in Groningen. During the renovation and restoration of the farmstead circularity was the keyword.

The result is an inspiring farm on a peaceful Wierde.

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