February 27, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

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Residents of Thiemshof Hengelo want their meeting place back: “We have been in the house for more than a year”

Residents of Thiemshof Hengelo want their meeting place back: “We have been in the house for more than a year”

The municipality of Hengelo talks about neighborhood-oriented work and wants people to be able to live in the house as long as possible, but in the meantime it seems as if meeting places are closed everywhere in the city. Residents of Thiemshof went to the town hall on Wednesday evening to present a petition to Councilor Luttikholt before the council meeting. “We come here every day to play shuffleboard, play ball, and play cards. We’ve been home now for over a year.”

Shuffleboard and race balls

On the ground floor of Thiemshof, an apartment complex located on the corner of Bornsestraat/Dennenbosweg opposite Van der Poel IJs, residents and locals can meet each other almost every day until the end of 2021. Frans van Rooijen is one of them. He organized shuffleboard and racing matches there for years: “There were days when 50 to 60 people would come to meet each other and do fun things. Now that is no longer possible. Only on Tuesday mornings can we have a cup of coffee together here.” The owner wants to keep the space “Available to us, but then Wijkracht will have to rent it again.”

“We can’t facilitate something every hundred metres. That would be unsustainable.”

Counselor Marie-José Lutégholt


This owner is Twinta, the real estate arm of the healthcare organization Carintreggeland. Director Hermann Münster: “We would like to rent spaces like this, so that residents and people from the neighborhood can go there. There are more of these spaces in Hengelo and almost all of them have to be closed because the municipality decided to concentrate this type of care in three so-called “district houses.” “But for many people, the distance to these neighborhood homes is too great. If Wijkracht no longer wants to rent the space, we will convert it into offices for our own use.”

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Hengelo seems to embrace Wijkhuyzen once and for all: “The project phase is over, now the structural support.”

Feeling less lonely

According to Munster, Hengelo completely misses the point. Vincent Mulder, a consultant on behalf of the Socialist Party, thinks so too. He does not understand the municipal council’s move: “In all the policy documents, I read that Hengelo strives to reduce loneliness among residents, that it wants to provide support to people where they live through a neighborhood-oriented approach, and that they want to use “existing infrastructure, e.g. Schools and community centers. Why is this meeting space being denied?”

Welzijn Ouderen Hengelo Foundation

Maybe because the rent is now higher than before? This is already a thing. When this space was put into use at the end of the last century, the Stichting Welzijn Ouderen Hengelo (abbreviated SWOH, now Wijkracht) was still part of Carint, just like Twinta. This “pocket, jacket and pocket construction” has allowed rent to be kept low.

When SWOH became independent in the form of Wijkracht and entered into a support relationship with the municipality, the low rent was maintained, but Münster says the new rental agreement will mean a higher rent: “They used to rent this space for an amount ‘less than the rent of a single house,’ whereas It requires a much larger number of square meters. Heating costs have risen dramatically. So money must be added. But it’s still just a matter of making choices.”

“Let it be clear that we prefer a meeting place.”

Hermann Munster of Tointa

‘There’s no party’

Councilor Marie-José Leutegholt believes that the municipality is not a party to this issue: “Twenta decided to renovate this space. In addition, there are activities for seniors in De Kluxe near Timshof (half an hour walk for people who are well-off). As a municipality, we We are currently occupied with the so-called “spot plan”: where is something already located and where should something be organised? Because we cannot facilitate something every hundred metres. That would be ‘unaffordable.’ If the owner decides to renovate such a space, that is his right. We are not a party to that.”

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Münster wants to clarify that last sentence: “We will only renovate if Wijkracht doesn’t want to rent again. Let it be clear that we prefer a meeting space.”

Vikracht replied

Wijkracht has been asked to respond, but the director in charge is on leave. When asked, the spokesperson said that in addition to the three neighborhood houses in Hengelo, Wijkracht facilitates “five to six meeting spaces.”

He follows.

In the video below, city resident Marijke Ten Tege demands that the Thiemshof meeting space be kept open: