A city needs places of peace

Right before the summer of 2019, Marianne van de Sloot was installed as representative of the province Noord-Brabant. On her first day of work a big stack of files for the transmission was waiting for her. At the top a big file with the pieces about the re-development of an important historical place in Eindhoven. "Yes, this file was transferred prominently and with pride. As it should be. It is an icon in Brabant, which is provided with a new future."

Goosebumps

"What I found very powerful was that the Augustine fathers, DELA, the township and province together took on something so beautiful and valuable and provided it with a future. This means a lot to me, it gives me goosebumps. Eindhoven is associated as a city of hightech, innovation, Brainport and everything that comes with it, but the city also needs places of peace. I find it very beautiful that such a closed complex with the green areas, is now accessible to everyone.

Telling the stories of the past

Van de Sloot goes on, "Providing a future for this building is making the place accessible for everyone and telling the stories of the past and how they are connected with our present. Everything needs to match. It would have been very easy to build something commercial such as a casino or grocery story in the 'Paterskerk', Augustianium or chapel. This would have been possible with the room the complex has, but this does not fit with the history of the building. DELA did match this description, namely a place where people can think, get inspired, celebrate life and where you come together when life ends. The Augustines already had this story and now it continues."

Van Agt

In the conversation the word inspiration can be heard several times. Where is the inspiration for her in this re-destination project? Van der Sloot: "Like I know the Augustines, it is an order who took responsibility for the world outside of the monastery as well. For example, by efficiently training boys and prepping them for the future. This morning I had a meeting here at city hall in a room that was filled with old pictures of old-commissioners. The picture of Dries van Agt (prominent CDA-er, besides being a commissioner for the Queen in Noord-Brabant also old-Prime-Minister, RL) caught my attention, who was enrolled at the Augustinianum with the fathers. The relationship between the province and the present is clearly visible here."

Bold moves

The first encounter with the Augustines was in Van der Sloot's college years in Nijmegen. She heard about them through media-priest Leopold Verhagen. He belongs to the gallery of important persons for the KRO, where she, before she became representative of the province of Noord-Brabant, was a chairman for years. Father Verhagen was an Augustine and lived at Mariënhage. Over fifty years ago he retrieved national fame through his playful day closures for the KRO. "Father Verhagen also inspired me. It was a bold move to appear on television as a priest. This connects with the Augustines, just like the big move his brothers took to move their heritage in the centre of Eindhoven for a new purpose. I find this very compelling. I have a lot of respect for people who dare to look into the future and provide their beloved place with a new purpose. As a province, we like to help with this."

The province Noord-Brabant contributed € 2.3 million to the restoration of the 'Paterskerk', the Augustinianum and the student chapel. Besides that, the province also provided a loan to DELA for the sum of € 5 million for the complet re-development.

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