The fire that largely destroyed an empty farm at Noordeind in Emmen in September has been ignited. This is what preliminary police investigation results show.
The building, which is owned by the well-known millionaire Vasco Rouw, caught fire on Thursday evening, September 14. The fire started on the side of the living area, which borders the ash tree. Flames rose meters high from the thatched roof and the fire brigade fought the fire with several vehicles and an aerial platform. Because there was little or no wind, to the relief of many, the adjacent Nabershof was not in danger. This is the museum farm of the Drenthe association Volk van Grada, dating from 1681, and the oldest farm in Emmen.
Based on the facts that the police now have, it is ‘plausible’ that arson has occurred, a spokesperson said when asked. “We conducted a neighborhood investigation, an investigation was conducted with a sniffer dog and we viewed video footage from the neighborhood. The investigation is still ongoing.” No people have been arrested to date. Since the fire, the building on the Noordeind street side has been behind fencing.
The former farm has been owned by 35-year-old Emmer entrepreneur and investor Vasco Rouw since the end of March 2021. He cherishes the image of a self-made millionaire, who dropped out of school at 15 to focus on his online gaming company. He then made the news with trading in crypto coins and purchasing dozens of properties, including in Dubai. Rouw paid 1.2 million euros for the farm at Noordeind, according to data from the Land Registry.
After purchasing the property, Rouw indicated that he wanted to have it renovated and then live in it himself. He is aware that the police are assuming arson. “They told me that the chance is 99 percent,” said Rouw.
He says he has no idea who might have started the fire. “What I do know through the grapevine is that people sometimes came to the site. Do I think that the arsonist or arsonists are targeting me personally? No, I certainly don’t assume that.”
The Emmen resident calls the fire and its suspected cause annoying. “Of course you’re not looking forward to this. But there are worse things. It’s just material; health is much more important.” Given the damage, Rouw assumes that demolition and new construction will now be chosen. “One part has been destroyed and the remaining part undoubtedly has a burning smell. Yes, I still want to live there myself.”
According to Rouw, the fact that the renovation had not yet started since the purchase of the building has to do with ‘busy work’ and ‘other priorities’. The Emmen resident says he is insured for fire damage. In 2020, an empty thatched house went up in flames next to the farm at Noordeind. A villa was later built on that spot – near the T-junction Walstraat/Noordeind. No indications of arson were found in that fire, the police later said.