Cas Veneranda will be restored by Monumentsfund and the Government of Aruba
- April 20, 2023
- Posted by: Mircla Nava
- Category: Uncategorized
For more than seven years, Stichting Monumentenfonds Aruba (SMFA) has been looking for a partner who is interested in the building at Wilhelminastraat 7. One of the buildings with great historical value and unique architecture in Aruba. Today is a special day for SMFA to announce to the Aruban community that we have reached an agreement with the family for the purchase and restoration of the building known as Cas Veneranda. All this has been made possible thanks to the cooperation of the government of Aruba after Minister Geoffrey Wever expressed interest in moving some of his departments to historic buildings in Oranjestad. After discussing some options, we agreed that the building would be ideal for the Department of Economic Affairs, Commerce, and Industry (DEACI).
On April 20, the Minister of Economic Affairs, Geoffrey Wever, together with the director of Monumentenfonds, Anne Witsenburg, and in the presence of the board of SMFA, APFA, representatives of the Arends family and owners, announced the purchase, lease and restoration agreement for the Cas Veneranda building. SMFA will now continue to work on the plans for the restauration.
The next phase is to do the necessary historical research, architect selection, design of the project, bidding and finally start the restoration. It is estimated that the restoration project will take about two years. We can therefore count on being able to view a fully restored Casa Veneranda in 2025. The building will also have a café/restaurant, which will also make the building accessible to the public.
The building, which had no protection until now, was in danger of falling into the hands of investors who are unaware of the great historical value of this building. When SMFA completes the purchase of the building, the request for protection will be submitted to the Monumentenbureau so that the building can be designated as a protected monument.
The project will be financed by the National Restauration Fund in the Netherlands (NRF) and Stichting Algemeen Pensioenfonds Aruba (APFA) with a low-interest loan to Stichting Monumentenfonds Aruba. During a recent visit to Aruba, NRF visited the building and confirmed their interest in financing the project. To make this project possible, Minister Geoffrey Wever provided a contribution of 690 thousand Awg in the form of a one-off subsidy to purchase the property.
Cas Veneranda’s story
The imposing building on Wilhelminastraat was built in 1936 by Frederico Maximiliaan (Machi Arends), the consul of Spain. The architect was the well-known master builder Dada Picus, who
went to Cartagena Colombia to find inspiration for a building that Machi’s wife, Maria Veneranda, was in love with. And so on his return to Aruba he built the house we know today as Cas Veneranda. One of the largest houses in Aruba at the time, built in Latin American neo-baroque style. Besides being a residential house, it was also a flower shop, an ice cream parlor and the consulate of Spain. In the nineties, the building became Papiamento Restaurant. After the restaurant left, the building remained empty and in 2014 a major fire destroyed much of the interior.
Aruba Monuments Fund
Since 1996 Stichting Monumentenfonds Aruba (SMFA) has mainly been involved in financing the restoration and maintenance of protected monuments and is the financial institution in the field of heritage care. In addition, the foundation is also committed to raising awareness and education about cultural heritage. Cas veneranda is the 17th monument to be owned by SMFA.
In cooperation with the Arends family, Minister Wever, SMFA, Nationaal Restauratiefonds and APFA we will be able to preserve Cas Veneranda and its history for the future.