The national listed Ockenburgh estate features a historic residence that, after having been abandoned for over 20 years, was heavily in decay. A respectful renovation did not seem commercially viable to the market. Under inspired leadership, a group of volunteers took the revitalisation of the estate into their own hands with a plan to renovate the estate based on participation. Fokkema & Partners Architecten was involved to make a pragmatic re-design of the floorplans and advised on the engineering of the complete restoration.
Client Foundation for the Preservation of Historical Ockenburgh Estate (SHBO)
Location The Hague
Square 1.350
Timeline October 2017 - September 2020

From privately-owned grandeur to the heart of a community.

Ockenburgh is a historic Country Estate at the edge of The Hague. It was founded in the 17th century with a manor and gardens in formal classicist style. At the end of the 19th century, the estate was drastically changed by a new owner. In eclectic fashion, the manor was expanded with neo-classicist elements.

Its grounds opened to the public as a recreational area with the municipality as the new owner from the 1930s. Following a stage of turmoil during both world wars, Ockenburgh was adopted by a new generation and became a youth hostel with a campsite with a massive expansion in the 1970s. After closing the hostel and campsite, the manor reverted into a heavily dilapidated state. The 70s expansion was taken dismantled in 2011 yet its surrounding grounds remained a popular recreational destination.

Citizen's initiative to revive Ockenburgh

In 2015 a formal citizens’ initiative was launched to revive the Historical Ockenburgh Country Estate. The Grade A Listed building had then been abandoned for over 20 years. There was rising uncertainty on finding a new purpose for the building that would honour the qualities of the estate. The community came into action and first opened a pop-up café in the building. With the cafe as a baseline, activities were enrolled to redevelop the estate on a small scale, testing ideas and broadening its network of neighbours and professionals.

A foundation was established to consolidate its future by giving the estate a social, educational and cultural purpose. In 2017 the Foundation for the Preservation of Historical Ockenburgh Estate (SHBO) prompted the municipality to initiate the base renovation and construction works to preserve the villa. SHBO then financed the interior restoration of the villa and its surrounding gardens with donations.

Sustainability was key from a social-environmental point of view, but also from an economic standpoint to make the business case feasible with low operational costs.

To transform the historic manor into a restaurant and meeting venue around educational and inspirational values, the Foundation joined forces with Fokkema & Partners Architecten. Together, new floorplans were layout integrating interventions to boost a high-quality repurpose of the residence and a sustainable future occupation.

Ockenburgh is now owned by the foundation. It houses a restaurant, run by a professional catering organisation and further acts as a social heart for the neighbourhood with venues for special celebrations and a series of conference rooms. An educational centre was established for people with a distance to the labour market. Volunteers still take on a wide range of responsibilities: from running the foundation to maintaining the grounds and organising cultural events.

The manor was pragmatically restored to its 19th-century structure with its unique spatial qualities. The building has been fitted with insulation, more than thought possible thanks to precise detailing. In combination with solar panels and a heat pump, high sustainability standards are realised, resulting in minimal energy costs. This ultimately guarantees the future of the historical estate through self-sufficient exploitation.

The foundation managed to unite different interests and stakeholders with its enthusiasm and pragmatism while getting different authorities and market parties involved to preserve the estate for generations to come. Based on its (ongoing) achievements:

The Ockenburgh estate awarded 'Wild Card' in the NRP Gulden Feniks 2021

The citizens’ initiative is made possible with the contribution of around 150 volunteers active today, joining forces in the Foundation (SHBO). Through crowdfunding, fundraising and other initiatives its goals are being met.

The casco restoration was executed by the City of The Hague. Jurriëns Restauratie Bouw Onderhoud took on the interior construction works. Fokkema & Partners was involved with the architectural and technical consultation on behalf of the foundation. Some major contributions were granted by:

Fonds 1818
Rabo Foundation
Erfgoedtafel Landgoederenzone van de Provincie Zuid-Holland
VSB Fonds
Stichting Doen

and many others