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De Toekomst

2015-01-27 14:49

Een eigen gebouw voor de arbeidersbeweging

This afternoon I walked through the city and my eye was caught by a building I had never noticed before. When I searched it on the web, it proved to have an interesting history. It was the building of the first cooperation in the Netherlands (where the idea started a bit later than in the UK).

The building is called 'De Toekomst' (the Future), and it was built in 1887, primarily to provide a meeting place for worker organisations, that had a hard time renting meeting places with commercial landlords.

It also housed a cooperative bakery, and two homes.

The cooperation was organised by the head of public works of the city of Groningen, Joan Nieuwenhuis. A year earlier he had started a socialist newspaper and wanted to resign from the city, but the (conservative) mayor convinced him to stay on.

His newspaper was financed by a rich farmer, Derk Roelof Mansholt, grandfather of Sicco Mansholt, who would become one of the founding fathers of the European Economic Communion, and architect of the (infamous?) common European agricultural policy.

For the cooperation the collateral was interestingly provided by the biggest factory owner and grand entrepreneur Jan Evert Scholten, and the nobleman Jhr.Mr. W.C.A. Alberda van Ekenstein, Dutch parliamentarian.

So although relations between workers and employers could be harsh in 19th century Groningen, there was also a genuine recognition and even assistence by those employers of the worker organisations.

Categorie├źn:  Geschiedenis  Groningen  Politiek

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