"Good to have you here"

With a project such as DOMUSDELA many different aspects come into play, among them the restoration of a national monument, law and regulations, administrative decisions and political and other processes. There are many parties involved that all have their own interests and cultures. Projectleader Karel Franken played a crucial role in tying all the knots of this complicated project, that lasted for almost seven years, together.

An authentic and real project

The coming together of DOMUSDELA was a special experience for Karel Franken. For the projectleader, as well as the person Karel Franken. "It is a very authentic and real project that features life itself. It wasn't just another plan for DELA, no it was an intrinsic wish to create a place where all different kinds of people could come together and celebrate special moments in life. The most beautiful part of it was that all parties involved, despite having different interests, truly wanted to help in bringing this idea to life."

Feasible plan

When DELA reached out to Karel Franken back in 2013 to become the projectleader, he didn't hesitate for a second. He was convinced that the idea of ceremony houses in the middle of the city would become a succes. "After having more than 20 years of experience in this branche, you develop a good instinct to make a distinction between possible failures and feasible plans." Although it was clear to him that it wouldn't be an easy road to follow. "If you have the ambition to realize an immense project, in the middle of the city on a historical spot, you just know that everyone will interfere. On top of that, there are a lot of regulations that come into play, but those are the ingredients that I love."

Close to its original use

Franken immediately got excited, because the new plans for the area were not that different from what happened within the religious context of the church and chapel before. It remains a place where people can meet each other on special moments. He knows from experience that that is required. "Plans that involve monumental buildings, are critically looked at by organizations such as the national service for cultural heritage, the commission of monuments and the group of interest in the country or city. The closer you are to its original use the bigger the chance is for a smoother proces of permits.


One of the important challenges in the proces was managing the completely different ways of how several parties were thinking and working. In order to make the project financially feasible, DELA had to appeal to grants from the township as well as the province Noord-Brabant and the national fund of restoration. Due to the financial support these parties gave, they had an influence on several aspects of the project. "For the feasibility of the project this support was needed, but that doesn't make it any easier. Every intervention or change to the monument had to be accounted for by DELA and it had to meet certain conditions. This way of working reassures the societal responsibility of which the interest are not always the same. DELA wants to transform the complex, with respect for the past, to a contemporary, modern and transparant whole. The national service and the commission of monuments want to retain much of the monument in its original state." Franken ensured that everyone kept communicating constructively with one another. "That means that you have to give everyone as much insights as possible into the working process of other parties. When people thought 'this isn't going to work' we chose for a perspective in which the different parties all felt more at home with. This led to us being able to take the next step and together we figured everything out."

Wisdom and spirituality

A unique experience during the realization of DOMUSDELA was working with the Augustine fathers. "As owners of the church and monastery they played a key role in some phases. At the same time of the selling of their properties they were saying goodbye to their active lives in the middle of the city, in society. This ensured that whenever there would be a dead end or impasse, the fathers would kindly reach out to the parties involved to make haste because there could be a possibility that 'they might not be there anymore otherwise'."

Franken experienced the natural way with which the fathers brought wisdom and spirituality to the proces as a highly added value. "They always greeted us with the words 'Good to have you here'. It seems as something small, but it brings something extra to the atmosphere and to the way of meeting each other. Eventually this even became tangible in the appearance of the complete project."

Another thing he learned from the Augustines is to let go once in a while. "If at first it doesn't succeed, don't immediately regard it as a failure. Sometimes it is necessary to wait for the right time or right moment."

Friends of Domusdela

Contact us directly
Contact us directly
Call us 040 760 1755 Call us 040 760 1755 Mail us welkom@domusdela.nl