Apr 5, 10:30 am
DINXPERLO – The Grenslandmuseum in Dinxperlo has undergone a thorough renovation. Volunteers spent months refurbishing and redesigning the special museum. On April 1, Mayor Anton Stapelkamp opened the museum year and the completely renovated Grenslandmuseum in a playful way. He raises a barrier, as a symbol for the cross-border and unique character of the museum.
By Karin Stronks
Before the opening, invitees gather in the Church Center. Chairman of the board of the Grenslandmuseum Marijke Verschoor-Boele welcomed those present and explained the metamorphosis of the Grenslandmuseum, the exhibitions and the donation of Jürgen Hoymann. She asks mayor Anton Stapelkamp to come forward and hands him a booklet with information about the museum and smugglers’ biscuits, a specialty of the Heimatverein.
Then Stapelkamp, officially in a suit and with official chain on, gets the floor. It starts in German and after a few words in dialect it turns into Dutch. He explains that the Grenslandmuseum has grown from a private initiative into a future-proof museum. He links the renovated museum to the center plan for Dinxperlo, which runs parallel to the visions. “We hope that many visitors will find the Grenslandmuseum, with its new modern look.” And ends his speech with: “Viel Spass, Viel Erfolg, bis Bald!” After the opening act, raising the barrier in front of the museum entrance, guests take a look at the revitalized Grenslandmuseum. Snacks and drinks are served.
Upon entering, the visitor imagines himself in a customs office. Uniformed customs officers are waiting for the guests. A desk with folders, a counting machine and documents with stamps complete the picture. “The elderly among us still remember this scene. But this is a nice new experience for young people,” says Marijke. “In addition to telling a local piece of history, we think it is very important to maintain the Achterhoek geniality and conviviality. Our hosts and hosts cooperate well with this by giving a warm welcome, explanation or a tour.”
How is a major renovation like this prepared? Arnold Betting, board member and caretaker, explains: “The collection has been mapped and exhibited in a logical and well-arranged way. We have removed ‘duplicate’ pieces from the museum. One cap tells the same thing as four of the same.” The whole looks more spacious and very professional. In the back of the large room is a mirror with barbed wire in front. The visitor sees himself behind barbed wire. A confronting image…
“Many hours of volunteer work went into this thorough refurbishment, you can imagine the man-hours saved. Volunteers spent months cleaning, installing insulation, shielding the windows and installing lighting. We are so proud of our working group. They have made all this possible, they have helped to professionalize our beautiful museum”, says Marijke, “the basic exhibition was set up by Berend Enzerink and designer Sven Hergaarden. They have created structure, and have presented the collection chronologically and ‘logically’.” The arrangement is calm, clear and spacious. Because the windows are shuttered, visitors are no longer distracted. In this way, all attention is focused on the collection, which focuses on stories about the border.
The Grenslandmuseum comprises three exhibitions. A temporary exhibition has been set up in the front room. Arnold Betting explains: “The theme of this exhibition is ‘vegetable auction of Dinxperlo’. It may look simple and sober, but it took the compilers René Westendorp and Dinie Caspers a lot of time and effort to collect the collection.” Fruit and vegetable boxes, wooden egg boxes, a farmer in green overalls, worn clogs, an old-fashioned scale and preserving bottles with contents give visitors a look back in time, back to the vegetable auction of the past.
Marijke and the board are very happy with the donation from former customs officer Jürgen Hoymann, a large collection of German customs-related items. Marijke explains enthusiastically: “This unique collection has been given a nice place in our basic exhibition, ‘customs and smuggling’. They include German customs uniforms, ‘Shields’, plates and stamps. This acquisition has given our collection a cross-border impulse. The character of the border is once again well emphasized.” She continues: “Since he started working at customs in Kleve, Jürgen has been collecting things. These have been transferred to the Grenslandmuseum. We have a barrier here, on one side you can see as much of the Dutch collection as possible, the German collection is on the other side. Just like on the Heelweg, yellow crosses mark the border.”
The history of the border is the third exhibition, it is told on the basis of panels that are set up on the podium, which used to be the opkamer. Visitors can reach this exhibition by walking up the stairs under the beam, which contains a customs bicycle. The panels show the history of the border, from the past to the present, through photos and stories. The panels are designed in a beautiful style and exude an industrial atmosphere. Arnold: “The aluminum frame is sturdy and durable. Our DIY group has thought about this carefully and came up with this idea. It fits the whole look.” Marijke is proud of the result of the renovation. Spotlights are attached to a black frame of tubular steel, which provide lighting above the panels. “The fluorescent tubes have been replaced by professional LED lamps. It benefits the atmosphere in the museum. And it fits nicely with the industrial style.” She praises the handyman’s team who always thought along in a problem-solving way and who also carried out the plans. “We can go years ahead. As far as we’re concerned, the museum season can start!”