The municipality of Utrechtse Heuvelrug has broadened usage rules for so-called ‘tabaksschuren’, or ‘tobacco barns’, barns that were used in the 18th and 19th century to dry tobacco leaves.
According to De Telegraaf the region used to be the tobacco centre of the Netherlands. The barns were typically 24 metres long and 12 metres wide, and had a tarred roof and shutters in the gable to keep the inside cool and draughty.
Until last Wednesday old tobacco barns could only legally be used as homes, but the municipality will now allow businesses such as offices and tea houses to operate from the classic barns.
A list of tobacco barns (with photos) can be found here (PDF).
(Drawing by Paulus van Liender, 1731-1797, of a tobacco barn just outside Amersfoort.)