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Westfries Museum makes future of the past

Update: 28 December 2022 10:00

From January 1st, 2023 the Westfries Museum will be closed to the public for a long period of time. The monumental museum complex from 1632 will then get new foundations. The buildings will also be restored, made more sustainable and renovated. A new basement will be built between the foundations, with space for temporary exhibitions. The neighbouring building Roode Steen 15 will also be part of the new museum soon. This will create a freely accessible reception area with a shop, food and beverage facilities and access to the beautiful inner garden. The ideal meeting place and cultural hotspot in the heart of the city.

Museum for everyone

After the reopening, you can go and explore the museum. In the museum, we tell the story of 17th century Hoorn and the region. Thanks to an accessible entrance, lift and rooms at floor-level, all visitors will then be welcome in the museum, including people with reduced mobility. It goes without saying that the atmospheric monumental character of the buildings will be preserved.

The new museum is taking shape

But how do you ensure that the Westfries Museum is restored to all its monumental glory, but still renewed and expanded? Architects Boudewijn van Langen and Arné Peeters of TPAHG architects seek and find the right balance, within the framework ‘sober and efficient’. And they ensure that the museum will soon be easily accessible to visitors using wheelchairs, for example. You can read more on our homepage.

A unique opportunity for a new museum concept

During the renewal of the Westfries Museum, not only the buildings will be overhauled, but also the presentation of the museum collection. However, the emphasis will remain on the cultural history of Hoorn and West Friesland, centred on the 17th century – when the city and region briefly contributed to world history. The presentations in the renovated museum will each have their own theme and atmosphere, where the past is illuminated from different viewpoints. The themes tie in with the new questions historians and society are asking about the past today. For example, about the position of women at the time and about the life of enslaved domestic servants in late 17th-century Hoorn. Themes that haven’t been covered yet, or have been underexposed in the museum.

Focus group

To properly tell this multi-voiced and connecting story about the 17th century (a story that everyone recognises and feels acknowledged, the museum is listening to people who feel involved and addressed by the various themes. To test the new concept, the museum brought together a focus group. Fifty people with very different backgrounds now contribute ideas on topics such as ‘accessibility’, very different perspectives’ and ‘public appeal’ in various working groups.