A monumental year from start to finish
- December 21, 2023
- Posted by: Mircla Nava
- Category: Uncategorized
The Monumentenfonds Aruba Foundation (SMFA) looks back on a successful 2023 with significant work in the field of monument preservation.
SMFA started the year by finalizing maintenance work on Nicolaas Store, where the monument was painted and received a visit from the Royal Family at the end of January. Another Monument that received maintenance this year is the School 1888 building (Court of Audit), a project combined with a test on a section of the facade, using lime- based plaster and paint to revert to the original material and technique. This part of the building will be evaluated for a period to determine if it helps alleviate the “salt efflorescence” issue present in the building.
The Court of Audit building’s maintenance project was combined with a presentation for EPI students to learn and practice the lime application technique.
After completing the project at the Court of Audit, work continued with the San Nicolas water tower, undergoing significant maintenance, repairing walls, and painting the entire exterior.
In addition, security measures were initiated in the area surrounding several of our monuments in Oranjestad as a test to reduce costs caused by vandalism at different monuments.
The buildings Huisje Wild and Casita Geel on Weststraat have new tenants and have been transformed into the office of Kwaliteitsinstituut Aruba and Moonshine Daiquiri Co., which will soon open its doors.
For the Steenweg 19 project, Botica Aruba, renovations to the interior were done according to the needs of KOAL, which opened their restaurant doors at the beginning of the year. Later, Cocolishi Studio also opened its doors on the first floor of this beautiful monument.
With pride, SMFA announced that Cas Veneranda on Wilhelminastraat will be the next building that the foundation will restore with funding from the Nationaal Restauratiefonds (NRF) and the Stichting Algemeen Pensioenfonds Aruba (APFA). Together with Mr. Geoffrey Wever, Minister of Economy, and the family of Machi and Veneranda Arends, they signed the purchase and lease agreement for Cas Veneranda. They presented the construction team currently working on the building’s design and launched the Tales of Cas Veneranda project where the entire community can share their memories and photographs of Cas Veneranda and the Arends family.
Awareness, education, and cooperation
In August, the “Biba nos Herencia” project began where, together with various cultural partners, meetings were organized to photograph Aruba’s monuments and share our tangible and intangible heritage on the Instagram platform. Various Instameets were organized, and each month hosted a new themed photography challenge. The project will continue into 2024.
The Eagle History Tour project will continue and conclude, telling the story of the Eagle refinery through an audio tour, specially designed light objects by Studio Goddijn, and information signs, among other things.
In September, the highlight was the Uncle Louis Store monument, now the office of Directie Natuur en Milieu, in San Nicolas, which was nominated for a Sustainability Prize and won the public’s award, thanks to the thousands of votes received.
Several cultural funds visited Aruba, and the SMFA director visited various organizations in the field of monuments and culture in the Netherlands, including the Nationaal Monumentencongres and the Rijksdienst Cultureel Erfgoed, where she gave a presentation.
During the visit to the Netherlands, the director met with Mrs. Cliné, who approached SMFA with an interest in leaving a legacy to the foundation. For this, SMFA made a request and received a Cultural ANBI Status from the Tax Authorities in the Netherlands. Entities with a Cultural ANBI Status have fiscal benefits when receiving donations, making it more attractive for donors to contribute to foundations with an ANBI status.
At the end of the year, SMFA received a visit from the Nationaal Restauratiefonds (NRF), where they discussed and reviewed restoration projects financed by the NRF. Additionally, they signed an agreement where SMFA will act as NRF’s representative in Aruba for commercial loans from the Nationaal Restauratiefonds.
Regarding the Dutch Caribbean Heritage Platform, together with the other islands in the Kingdom and in collaboration with Erfgoed Academie and the University of Curacao, several courses, webinars here held and preparations were made for a congress that will take place next year in St. Maarten, Saba, and St. Eustatius. The platform received funds from the Mondriaanfonds for educational projects.
Finally, the Monumentsfund Aruba team welcomed Rousanne de Weever as the president of the foundation and Sandy van Tol-van der Paal as treasurer. They also bid farewell to Robert Maduro and Stella Harms-Frantzeskakis, thanking them for their work over the past years as members of the board. The SMFA team also grew with two new colleagues, an intern, and several volunteers. Together as a team, they are ready to continue preserving our past for the future in 2024.
For more information and to stay updated on all SMFA projects, visit our website www.monumentenfondsaruba.com or follow us on our FB page: Stichting Monumentenfonds Aruba or IG @monumentsfundaruba.
Please note: Our office will be closed on December 25th, and we will resume on January 3rd, 2024.