Stichting News

Tuesday, March 12th, Monumentsfund Aruba (SMFA) in the presence of Minister of Economy, Communication, and Sustainable Development, Geoffrey Wever, and Minister of Finance and Culture, Xiomara Maduro, project partners, and other guests officially launched the restoration project of Cas Veneranda.

Last year, SMFA announced reaching a purchase agreement with the heirs of Federico Maximiliano (Machi) and Maria Veneranda Arends. In the presence of notary Mr. Michelle Gomes from Notarial Office Mr. M.J.G. Tromp, SMFA signed the official transfer deed of Cas Veneranda with representatives of the Arends family. The “key” to Cas Veneranda was also officially handed over to the president of SMFA, Rousanne de Weever. Additionally, the mortgage deed was signed with the General Pension Fund Aruba (APFA), which will co-finance the project along with the National Restoration Fund of the Netherlands (NRF) and the Ministry of Economy, Communication, and Sustainable Development.

One of the significant conditions for obtaining financing through NRF and for SMFA to purchase a building is that it must have monumental value and be under protection. In the case of Cas Veneranda, a request for protection has been submitted to the Monument Bureau. Once the restoration project is completed, and the protection process is finalized, a protection seal will be placed on the facade indicating it as a protected monument.

Another important condition for SMFA to start a new project of acquiring and restoring a monument is to have a lease agreement ensuring that SMFA can cover the expenses of the project and building maintenance. Once Cas Veneranda is finished, it will have two lessees responsible for bringing new life to the building. DEACI (Department of Economic Affairs, Commerce, and Industry) will be the main lessee. SMFA is in talks with one of the lessees for the hospitality part, which will be announced soon. The building will feature two different functions, ensuring the entire community can visit and appreciate this beautiful monument with its unique architecture.

In September, SMFA presented the construction team responsible for the project, consisting of Orlando Hoevertsz Archidesign as the architect, Hecom, Dynaf, Smart Systems, and Protec  under the guidance of our project leader Daphne Every. The team has been working on the research and design aspects of the restoration.

Recently, a tender was held where several companies participated in the first phase, which includes demolition works. Based on price, plan, and expertise, the project was awarded to the company General Property Services. They will remove parts of the building that are not original to continue historical research and will also open up a part of the building’s cistern to allow fresh air in due to high humidity.

Minister of Economy, Communication, and Sustainable Development, Geoffrey Wever, together with Minister of Finance and Culture, Xiomara Maduro, and DEACI Director, Maria Dijkhof Pita, officially initiated the restoration project by starting the “demolition”.

In the coming days, the contractor will continue with the works, which will last approximately three months. After this phase, another tender will follow to select the company to execute the restoration works to bring the building back to its former glory. SMFA hopes that by the end of 2025, Aruba will have another fully restored monument for future generations to enjoy.

Cas Veneranda:

The impressive building on Wilhelminastraat was constructed in 1936 by Federico Maximiliano (Machi) Arends, who was the consul of Spain. The architect was the renowned master builder Dada Picus, who traveled to Cartagena, Colombia, for inspiration from a building that Machi’s wife, Maria Veneranda, admired, and thus returned to Aruba to construct the building we now know as Cas Veneranda. It was one of the largest houses in Aruba at the time of its construction. Apart from being a residence, it also housed a flower shop, an ice cream parlor, and the consulate of Spain. During the seventies, the building was converted into a Papiamento restaurant. After the restaurant vacated the building, it was abandoned, and in 2014, a large fire destroyed a significant portion of the interior. For safety reasons, the building was closed, and it will soon be completely restored.

Monumentsfund Aruba:

Monumentsfund Aruba has been in existence since 1996 and is a non-governmental organization responsible for acquiring, restoring, leasing, and maintaining monuments in Aruba. In addition to this, it also emphasizes education and awareness regarding the importance of our monuments as part of our cultural heritage. Cas Veneranda becomes the 17th monument owned by SMFA. Through good cooperation with the Arends family, Minister Wever, SMFA, National Restoration Fund, and APFA, we will manage to preserve Cas Veneranda and its history for the future.

For more information and to follow the project closely: IG: @monumentsfundaruba fb: Stichting Monumentenfondsaruba

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