Weert is a city with a rich history, with the city park as one of the most important places in the history of the city. With the redesign of the city park, Weert is regaining an accessible, lively and green heart. A place where the experience of physical and immaterial history, archeology and heritage education are given a well-deserved prominent place. A place to relax, play, exercise and learn. For young and old, for residents and tourists, for the city and the region.
Experience history in green areas
The city park is an inseparable part of the history and development of Weert. But this historical story is still insufficiently being experienced in the city. In a participatory planning process, a vision and design for the redevelopment of the city park was established. Essential to the historical story is the role of the noble Van Horne family. In the middle of the fifteenth century they built the castle “De Nijenborgh”. The moat around the castle and the moat of Weert, which was built a few years later, form a whole and a naturally developed system. However, through the years this system has become obscured and hardly visible. The new layout of the city park offers a great opportunity to tell this story again.
Two worlds in one park
The castle complex exists out of two parts with a formal character: a main castle (where the Van Horne family stayed) and a forecourt (the place where the visitors were received). The moat provides cohesion and unity in the area and forms the basis for the new city park, together with the reconstructed brook ‘Weerterbeek’. The more informal “fields” are located around the castle island.
The forecourt and moat will be made visible again on the spot where a timber trader was located until the end of 2019. The buildings and asphalt of the timber trader make space for green banks and an iconic new forecourt. This will be the heart of the park, marked by hedges. Arches and openings provide sight lines to historical elements and objects. The forecourt has room for all kinds of activities and functions. The basis is formed by a formal garden with a pavilion; a quiet green place in the heart of the city. The equestrian statue of ‘Philips de Montmorency’ (a citizens’ initiative) is given a central place and fulfils an important educational role. The pavilion is made from the old frames of the timber trader building and can be used as a space for research or exhibitions of history and archeology, as a kiosk or as a stage for activities and performances. New paths and bridges connect the forecourt with the rest of the park and provide an attractive experience of the castle and the moat. The greening of the area and the removal of the existing asphalt at the same time provide more coolness and better water management.
Lush fields around the castle island
What is still a large bare plain will become a diverse and rich piece of park where sunny lawns and lush groups of trees alternate. Space will be created here for sports and games, green places to stay and an orchard at the ‘Tiendschuur’. The green structure is cleaned up and enriched, providing more biodiversity and habitats for flora and fauna. With this we actively invest in urban nature and strengthen ecological life in the city. In addition, the water system and water quality will be improved, for example in the castle moat. Water storage is also receiving attention by improving the soil structure and increasing the water storage capacity. Reconstructing the vanished brook ‘Weerterbeek’ contributes to this.
Park and city reconnected
Three new bridges together with the existing castle gate and attractive walking routes, provide a better connection between the park and the city center. By adding extra entrances to the park and making the existing entrances more interesting, the park becomes more attractive and the connection with the city center and the surrounding neighborhoods stronger. The former brook ‘Weerterbeek’ will also play a more important role in this. After all, a deck on the moat ensures that the water can be experienced more strongly.
In collaboration with: Lara Voerman Architectuurhistoricus and Personal Architecture
Type: public space, cultural heritage, participation, landscape, bridges
Client: Municipality of Weert
Size 32.000 m2
Status: execution construction in preparation, start end 2020