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Stichting Monumentenfonds Aruba in collaboration with the Government of Aruba will restore the Veneranda House

Cas Veneranda 1 145

For more than seven years StichtingMonumentenfonds Aruba (SMFA) has been looking for a partner interested in the building at Wilhelminastraat 7. One of the buildings is of great historical value and unique Aruba architecture. Today is a special day for SMFA to announce to the community of Aruba that it has reached an agreement with the family to purchase the building known as “Cas Veneranda”. All this in cooperation with the Government of Aruba after Minister Geoffrey Wever expressed interest in moving some of his departments to historic buildings in the Oranjestad area. After discussing several possibilities, a mutual agreement was reached that the Veneranda House would be the ideal building for the Department of Economic Affairs (DEACI).

 

Accordingly

On April 20, Minister of Economy Mr. Geoffrey Wever, jointly with the Director of Monuments Fund and in the presence of the SMFA board, APFA and representatives of the Arends family, owners of Casa Veneranda, announced the agreement to purchase, restore and rent the Casa Veneranda building. SMFA can now proceed with the restoration plans.

 

Restoration

The next stage is to do the necessary research, appoint an architect, design the project, prepare the project for completion and finally start the restoration. We estimate that the restoration will take approximately two years. Therefore, it is expected that by 2025 we will see a fully restored Veneranda House. The building will also contain a space for a restaurant/cafe which will make the monument accessible to the public as well and will not only serve as an office.

 

Protection

The building was so unprotected that it was at great risk of being lost to investors who did not care for the historic rear. Once the purchase of the building has been completed, Stichting Monumentenfonds Aruba will petition the Monumentenbureau for protection, and thus designate the building as a monument.

 

Funding

The project will be financed by the Netherlands’ NationaalRestauratiefonds (NRF) and Stichting AlgemeenPensioenfonds Aruba (APFA) with an interest-bearing loan from Stichting Monumentenfonds Aruba. Recently during a visit to Aruba NRF visited the building and confirmed their interest in financing the project. In order to make the project feasible, Minister Geoffrey Wever secured a contribution of 690 thousand florins in the form of a subsidy (eenmalig) for the purchase of the building.

 

The history of Veneranda

The impressive building on Wilhelminastraat was built in 1936 by Frederico Maximiliaan (Machi) Arends who was the consul of Spain.

The architect was the well-known bouwmeester Dada Picus, who went to Cartagena Colombia to get inspiration from a building that Machi’s wife, Maria Veneranda, loved and so came back to Aruba to build the building that we know today under the name of Casa Veneranda. One of the largest houses in Aruba at the time was built in a Latin American neo-baroque style.

Apart from being a residential building, it also housed a flower shop, a screw shop and the Spanish consulate. During the nineties the building was converted into a Papiamento restaurant. After the restaurant moved out of the building, it closed and in 2014 a major fire destroyed much of the interior. The building was closed for security reasons and will soon be fully restored and a new manager appointed.

 

Foundation of the Monuments Fund of Aruba

Stichting MonumentenfondsAruba has existed since 1996 and is a non-governmental organization in charge of the conservation, restoration, rental and maintenance of monuments in Aruba. It also emphasizes education and awareness about the importance of our monuments as part of our cultural heritage. Veneranda House becomes the 17th monument owned by Stichting Monumentenfonds Aruba.

In good cooperation with the Arends family, Minister Wever, SMFA, NationaalRestauratie Fonds and APFA we will be able to preserve the Veneranda House and its history for the future.

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