Zeeland Archives, Middelburg, Netherlands

The Zeeland Archives (Zeeuws Archief) is the place to be for your personal research and discovery of the history of Zeeland. It manages and keeps the archives, files, records and collections of public authorities, businesses and private persons in Zeeland. The Zeeland Archives is specialized in the field of digital durability and offers both digital data-storage and authenticity. On top of this it offers access to the Zeeland Digital Depot.

The Zeeuws Archive is a knowledge center for historical and genealogical research in Zeeland. The Zeeuws Archive, located in Middelburg, is the Regional Historic Center for Zeeland and the municipalities of Middelburg and Veere. The service features an extensive collection of archives, collections, drawings, maps, prints and photographs on all possible subjects from the province of Zeeland. The archive contains more information about the municipalities of Middelburg and Veere.

The Zeeuws Archives stores and manages important sources of Zeeland history and makes them accessible to everyone for free. The Foundation of Friends of the Zeeuws Archives supports the work of the archive in full width. From restoration, special publications, incidental acquisition of rare archives to digitalization.

The Zeeuws Archives functions in formal terms as the National Archives in Zeeland and as municipal archives for the municipalities of Middelburg and Veere.

The Zeeuws Archief, on the one hand, manages archives and collections from government, provincial and private institutions with the territory of Zeeland or its predecessors, and, on the other hand, the municipalities and private institutions in the municipalities of Middelburg and Veere and predecessors. The archives include the archives of the Middelburg Commercie Compagnie, which is included in the World Heritage List for documents.

In 2007, the Zeeuws Archief concluded a service agreement with the Waterschap Zeeuwse Eilanden, which led all archives of this water board and its legal predecessors to the Zeeuws Archive and made available to the study room.

The office functions of the Zeeuws Archives are housed in the monumental Van de Perrehuis, an eighteenth-century city palace in the center of Middelburg, built on the basements of a Command of the German Order. For the public functions, the property has been expanded with a state-of-the-art wing, where the reception, depots, study room and the archive cafe are housed. In an adjacent building, internally linked to the Zeeuws Archives, the Netherlands Genealogical Center is also located.

The Zeeuws Archief was founded in 2000 by a merger between three archive services: the National Archives in Zeeland, the Municipal Archive of Middelburg and the Municipal Archive of Veere. Since 4 January 2000, the Zeeuws Archive has been opened to the public.

The Gemeenschappelijke regeling Zeeuws Archief is an independent governing body and is an initiative of the National Archives Service (Ministry of OCW), the municipality of Middelburg and the municipality of Veere. The Zeeuws Archive is supported by the Friends of the Zeeuws Archives Foundation.

The building of the Zeeuws Archives consists of the Van der Perrehuis, where the offices are located, the Lussanet wing, where the restoration and conservation department houses and a new building with the depots and public spaces.

From the Perrehuis
The Van Perrehuis was built in 1765 as a city palace for the Middelburg patriarch couple Johan Adriaan van de Perre (1738-1790) and Jacoba van den Brande (1735-1794). Frontage of the Perrehuis – picture ZA The architect was Jan Peter van Baurscheit de jong (1699-1768). The Perrehuis is built on the foundations of a much older building. These served as a seat or commander of the German order.

Jan Peter van Baurscheit de jong (1699-1768)
Van Baurscheit became known as the designer of the former Dutch wrecked building of the Provincial Library in the Long Delft and in Vlissingen, the Dishoeck House and the so-called Picture House.

The Lussanetvleugel
In 1954 the Van de Perrehuis was restored under the direction of the renowned Middelburg reconstruction architect, ir. H. de Lussanet de la Sablonière. In addition, the expansion in 1840, with a neoclassical style sitting room, which was renewed in 1914 with a fire-free archive depot, was abolished. The resulting hole in the rear of the Van de Perrehuis was closed by means of a protruding center part, with a double-stage borders, so that the relationship between house and garden was restored.

On the west side of the rear, De Lussanet designed a new wing in a custom style, lower than the old house and with completely different floor heights. On the main floor, immediately recognizable as such because of the high windows, he located a new sitting room. Below was the archive depot. The wing became a characteristic example of adapted new construction from the characteristic reconstruction period for the center of Middelburg. At the establishment of the Zeeuws Archives, this high quality wing was maintained and intended for the conservation and restoration departments and the technical installations. The characteristic wood reclamation behind the former stage and the same construction ceiling for the Lussanets reconstruction work was maintained. The wing now carries the name of the architect: De Lussanetvleugel.

ir. Hans de Lussanet de la Sablonière (1907-2002)
The Lussanet was the chief architect of the Rijksgebouwdienst and coordinated the restoration of the ‘central part’ of the partly abandoned Abbey complex in Middelburg, 17 May 1940, that is, all buildings except the churches. Together with architect J.F. Berghoef designed the building for the provincial registry. The provincial home was ready twenty years after the bombing. In the following years he still worked on the governor’s house and the government archives. The National Archives, built in 1963-1966, was a design of De Lussanet, which was based on an originally made by Berghoef. On January 26, 1966, Minister Cheer opened the new state archive.
In 1954, De Lussanet led the Restoration of the Perre House and designed the new construction which would later be named. The Lussanet was praised for its modesty and ability to maintain the atmosphere of historic buildings in restoration work.

New construction
After the departure of the Van Perrehuis court this property was destined for new housing for the nesting state archives in Zeeland in the mid-nineties. However, the building was not long enough to accommodate more than ten stretching kilometers of archives and collections. Hence, underground depots from the Perrehuis were planned with overground new spaces for public functions (study room, archive store and archive café).

Meanwhile, the Dutch archive business was changing. In different provinces, the national archives in the provincial capital merged with the local municipal archives. Also in Zeeland, some archive managers stopped the heads and even went one step further: a merger between the state archives and two municipal archives: from Middelburg and Veere. Together they soon form one organization in one new building: a provincial knowledge center for historical and genealogical research.

For the complex restoration and design of the new building of the Zeeuws Archive, a special architectural combination was formed consisting of the architectural agencies Verlaan & Bouwstra from Vianen (restoration) and Benthem-Crouwel from Amsterdam (new building). The main contractor is the HBG. Coordination of construction is in the hands of the National Building Service.

Renovation and restoration
At the end of 1997, the restoration and renovation of the Vanre Perrehuis dating from 1765 was started. As much as possible, it tries to restore everything in its original state.

New construction and domicile – photo ZA In addition to the Van de Perrehuis, the new wing is astonishing. There are underground three depots for archiving. Above are the public functions. On the ground floor the reception, the archive shop and the archive cafe, below the study room. The auditorium ‘hangs’ as it were in the hall.

For the construction of the three depots, a thirteen meter deep pit was dug. The first construction took place on March 3, 1998 and on July 14 the deepest point was reached. Underneath the groundwater-filled construction well, one meter thick bottom was dumped at once. This required 1,500 cubic meters of concrete for which 167 concrete cars from morning to 4:00 am until 3 pm at night are continuously shut down and due.

After this, a construction crane has been placed for the supply and drainage of all building materials. Dozens of concrete butterflies, builders and other construction workers began building depot walls, pillars and intermediate floors. Bit by bit the subterranean complex came out of the deep well. When the floor of the upper third depot was dumped, the depot cube was just a few meters below the ground level.

Public spaces
Then suddenly the shape of the building changed. A functional rectangle for the archive store suddenly became a playful triangle where the public spaces will be accommodated. In the lower layer of the triangle, with a sharp point towards the Bogard street, comes the study hall. In the upper floor there are the reception and the archive café.

On the side of the Hofplein are the lift and the central staircase, which are connected to the Brouwerijpoort, the future entrance of the Zeeuws Archives. Here the new building closes on a transparent glass and tubing structure at the old Van de Perrehuis. There is a sloping roof across the triangle. The extremity of the tube that carries the roof construction is also the highest point of the new building section. This item was displayed on 6 April 1999 by the future director of the Zeeuws Archief Dr. R.L. Coops applied.
Then the finishing phase of the complex and the layout of the depots with cabinets began for a total of 25 kilometers of archives. The delivery of the entire complex, Van de Perrehuis and new wing, came in September 1999.