Newsletter 2 - June 2020

We would like to tell you more about how the idea to rebuild Kingma State (Kingma Estate) formed so you can understand how it started. And how this ideal (which we usually mockingly call our 'dream castle') is getting closer and closer to being realised. We have already put in many years, but to be honest, these years really just flew by. And lots has been achieved. We bought the necessary land, drew up a construction and financing plan and got the required zoning plan. We are in talks with a combined developer and construction company we have a lot of faith in, and are setting up the management organisation, also for the purposes of issuing certificates to family members.

But let's go back to the start.

As we said in the first newsletter, the idea for the 'rebirth' of the estate formed during the preparations of the large-scale family gathering Simmer 2000. Shortly before that, we discovered that our family descended from the original inhabitants of the Kingum estate and that this farm was developed into a fully-fledged estate by our ancestors, with all the rights and obligations that come with it
We decided against naming our foundation rebirth, instead opting for the more down-to-earth Herstel, or Restoration. 'We' in this case are cousins Joost and Jeroen Kingma, initiators of the family gathering in 2000. We also briefly considered the word 'redevelopment', but it didn't really fit, because it sounded too much like commercial project development. And our project is not a commercial project; we have an ideal, not a profit motive. So when we were able to make our first land purchase in 2002, we settled on Stichting Herstel Kingma State (the Kingma Estate Restoration Foundation).

In 1999, to prepare for our family meeting in 2000, we already founded the Kingma State foundation. The purpose of which was, apart from organising the international family gathering, 'to improve historical knowledge of the Kingma Estate and the Kingma family' and also 'to improve the reconstruction of the Kingma Estate'. The latter was quite daring, because we didn't have a plan, let alone land or money. We did have the realisation that it would be wonderful if we could build a new family house on the spot of the disappeared estate. A family house for all the Kingma family members around the world that would give the option to return and stay on our ancestral land. A house and environment in which we would be able to make the family history a reality with all the documents and paraphernalia that come with it. It might sound like a dream, but is definitely a challenging ideal.

To achieve this challenging goal, we needed to have some land underneath our feet. Land of the former estate, of course. And we did. In 2002, a small, but strategically important strip of land was for sale: half of the former 'singel' (promenade and canal) between the Harinxmakanaal and the estate grounds. This purchase was housed under the Herstel Kingma State foundation and was the first step towards realising our family 'dream castle'. It was also the start of meetings with the village community and the provincial and local authorities regarding our wild ideas. The idea behind these meetings was to create enthusiasm among the local community and the authorities for our ideas. In 2006, we were able to purchase another eight hectares of the former Kingma land around the forest grounds where the estate was located. This allowed us to get to work.

After purchasing the land, the next step was to realise our idea by obtaining the new zoning of 'estate' for the location. The existing zoning plan listed it as forest and agricultural land on which we would not be able to build the new estate. The process of changing the zoning plan took us five years, until 2012.

We created a design plan for the entire estate, a plan for the building complex, a cost/benefit analysis to see how our plans could be achieved, we had purchase negotiations with Staatsbosbeheer (forestry authority) to try to acquire the two hectares of forest, and a zoning plan procedure with many, many, many meetings with civil servants, council members and directors of the municipality and province. We also had regular presentations to keep the village community informed. All of this was completed in 2012. An essential part of our plan is the construction of eight houses that will become for sale and are situated in the two wings surrounding the courtyard. The proceeds of the sale is an important financial pillar of the plan. Without the sale of the houses, we will not have sufficient funds. Unfortunately, the housing market collapsed in 2012 as a result of the global economic crisis and the forecasts for the sale of the eight planned houses were highly uncertain. We had no other choice but putting our project on hold. Wait for better times.

Five years later, in 2017, the housing market in Friesland started to recover. Time to continue the project. We picked up where we left off and started working on elaborating on our plans. These have now been detailed and fully calculated to take the next steps. Entering into a contract with a suitable construction company that can realise the main structure and builds and sells the houses. This main structure consists of building the mound, access road, ponds, garden, forest, pathways, utilities. We are now in full talks with a development and construction company that takes our preferences and is enthusiastic about the plan and its feasibility. We expect to enter into an agreement over the course of the summer.
We will also set up the new management organisation for the estate. Because an estate has all sorts of fiscal aspects, we acquired the advice of a specialised fiscal consultancy agency.

Once the management organisation is in place, we will, over the next months, invite family members to participate financially in the estate and thus in the ownership and management of the family house and estate. As said before, a considerable part of the costs for the construction of the estate is paid from the proceeds of the sale of the houses. The financial means for the construction of the family house and the repurchasing of the additional land for the estate will come from family member financing. There is already a small group of Kingmas investing in the running costs of the project. We would like to expand this group with other Kingmas that feel connected to the ancestral land and the rebuilding of the estate.
Moreover, we started a communication campaign to inform as many family members around the world as possible of the rebirth of the Kingma Estate. Not just Kingmas in the Netherlands, but also abroad, such as in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and South America, where a few thousand family members have built their homes over the past centuries.
After successful family funding and obtaining the building permit, we hope to start construction. At that point, the houses will also be put on the market.

Traditionally, a land owner does not easily let go of their land. They want to stay connected with it and transfer this possession to their children and grandchildren. In our case, this is translated into a continued family involvement of the Kingma family in the comings and goings of the rebuilt estate in the broadest sense. After all, that is what tradition is: laying it in the hands of the next generation.

You can read about the progress of all activities for the rebuilding of the Kingma Estate in our next newsletter, expected to arrive in August.