Farmer Piet Scheepers from Best, Noord Brabant, simply did not know that this barn of his was so old. He figured 300 years, tops. And because it was difficult to work in due to the low ceiling, he was ready to tear the building down, six years ago.
Research by local historian Dick Zweers has since put a stop to those plans, Omroep Brabant reports. Zweers found out that the wood in the building was from 1263: “The first thing I noticed that this used to be the sort of house where there was always a fire, people were always in the same room, they always had a need for warm water—you can tell by those sooted beams.” He adds: “There have been changes, but the construction is in essence still the same.”
Scheepers had already acquired a permit for demolition, now the government wants to turn the barn—which currently houses calves—into a state monument, and is willing to invest 100,000 euro in renovation, as is the provincial government.
Omroep Brabant calls this the oldest farm still in use in Western Europe. Back in November, Zweers was still hedging his bets: “Great Britain has also got a lot of old stuff.”
(Photo: Google Street View)