The Twente landscape is sometimes called a patchwork quilt. It is varied, with fields and meadows. Here and there a farm, wooded bank or a stream. “Farms used to be much more numerous. They were often small in scale with a few cows and the residents could often just make ends meet,” says Han ter Beek. “For all kinds of reasons, farms are disappearing from the landscape. We, as a committee, are making an inventory of existing and disappeared farms in the municipality of Enschede.” Van Beek is part of the farmers’ committee within SHSEL.
“For all kinds of reasons, farms are disappearing from the landscape.”
Han ter Beek, member of SHSEL and part of the farmers’ committee
“I sometimes think: fortunately we had the pandemic, so I had four years to put the book together,” sighs ter Beek. “The book has had about seven or eight writers over the past fifteen years. Some have died and others have stopped. I then took up the gauntlet and collected, rewrote or expanded all the stories.”
Thirty years of research
The new book is the fourth part in the series about Farms in Enschede. Chairman of the Historical Society Dick Buursink talks about the history of the series in 1TwenteVandaag. “This project started about thirty years ago. There should be ten books in total. We started in the Eschmarke. We then described the farms in the Broekheurne. The previous part was about Usselo and the Rutbeek. We consciously first the farms outside the city limits. People here still know the history of some farms. In the city that knowledge has disappeared because it has now been built up.”
“It is precisely about the residents’ history of the Boekeloë farms”
Dick Buursink, chairman of the Enschede – Lonneker Historical Society Foundation
In the book series, the writers do not want to tell the known history of the farms. “It is precisely about the history of residents of the Boekelo farms. When were they built and who lived there and what has changed,” Buursink explains.
Textile barons and winners
From Enschede to ‘s Heerenberg you have to walk on the Van Heek ground. According to the ex-PvdA councilor, this proverb is a truism. “The enormous rise of the textile industry in Enschede caused many people to move to the city. Some farmers were desperate. By selling their farm to the textile barons, they had some money again.”
The residents moved to the growing city or stayed on their farms. The people became Twente winners named. It is comparable to current renting. But instead of a home, agricultural land is also rented. There was often a larger farm or house nearby. “That was the Hof te Boekelo in Boekelo,” says farm expert ter Beek.
Read more below the image.
A sketch drawing of the Hof manor in Boekelo.
Image: Cornelis Pronk, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
“Hof te Boekelo was a Havezate. It is a fortified house, comparable to a kind of castle. A number of wealthy families lived in the house, such as the Ripperda’s. They had some smaller farms on their property, the Wönnerserven. They tenants had to pay money to live there.”
Now, like many of those small farms, the house no longer exists. About ten percent of the farms in Boekelo are still inhabited. The rest has been torn down.
Book five: farms in Twekkelo
The book Farms in Boekelo was presented in Café de Buren in Boekelo. The fourth part in the farm series is now available to everyone. Preparations for the next books have already been made. Van Beek: “Book five will be about the farms in Twekkelo, the hamlet that is split in two by a municipal boundary. I have been working on the book for a number of years, but it should not take another fifteen years.”