Foto’s Gertjan Miedema

Renovated housing for Utrecht rowing clubs officially opened

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Municipal councillor Maarten van Ooijen officially opened the new home base of the three rowing clubs of Utrecht on Saturday. De Driewerf on the Merwedekanaal was substantially overhauled.

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A larger room for Triton, a larger kitchen for Orca and a larger shared powerhouse. The two Utrecht student rowing clubs and the 'citizen association' Viking, have improved considerably from the building they shared since 1978. After years of planning, the renovation of the cramped and outdated De Driewerf started last March. Ultimately, the last construction workers left in December.

Last Saturday, the Utrecht municipal councillor Van Ooijen conducted the official reopening of the renovated De Driewerf. Having recently become a father, he received a special rowing baby romper to take home.

Other notable innovations in the building are the spacious entrance hall (the "Driewerfstraat") and the bridge that connects the famous balconies of both associations on the waterfront. Furthermore, better insulation and double glazed windows should result in energy savings of 40 per cent and less noise disturbance for the surrounding area. The costs of the renovation amount to a total of 1.3 million. Of this, about eight tonnes are borrowed from the bank. The Stichting Waarborgfonds is the guarantor of the loan that has to be repaid in 15 years. This means that the associations will remain accommodated at the Verlengde Hoogravenseweg for the time being.

IMG_4607  Wethouder Maarten van Ooijen bij opening roeiaccomodatie De Driewerf-email.jpg

Orca chairman Bart Vollebergh calls the renovation “an investment for the coming years”. “The three rowing clubs are inextricably linked to the city of Utrecht. Through this renovation, we can continue the rowing in the city.”

That does not mean that the associations are completely satisfied. There are still major concerns about the increasingly crowded Merwedekanaal and the increasing development of housing along the water. Utrecht rowers decided to leave the city of Utrecht earlier to train in Vianen. They can go there until this summer.

In recent years, there had been plans for the construction of rowing water in De Uithof. These plans turned out to be unfeasible. The rowing clubs have also been looking at opportunities for water sports recreation in the new Rijnenburg district of Utrecht for some time now. However, decisions concerning this cannot be expected in the short term.

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