In our small village, there are only 18 inhabited houses. In addition, there are a lot of barns, woodsheds, and other outbuildings. But there are many old, dilapidated houses and barns as well. On the one hand, of course, ugly and sometimes even really dangerous because some houses and sheds are really about to collapse. On the other hand, it has a certain charm. Really Slovenian actually, it’s part of it. In the Netherlands, you will not soon see that very often.
But times are changing here too. Where years ago young people moved to the larger cities in search of work and entertainment, now they are eager to stay in the village and so new houses will have to be built. Although it is normal here that children continue to live at home and, for example, renovate a floor in the parental home, of course not everyone can and wants to do that. That’s why two new houses are being built in our village at the moment, and at least three more will be added in the coming years.
The first house being built is actually not intended for permanent residence but as a so-called »Vikend«, i.e. a weekend house. The owners live in town and have bought the plot across the road from us, which contained two old houses. They have already demolished one house and are now building a new one on that spot. When that is finished, the second house will also be demolished. They use the weekend house to retreat to the countryside on weekends and perhaps holidays and enjoy the peace and quiet and the space and work in their vegetable garden, which is already in use. That’s a very common thing here, that people from the city have a weekend house somewhere in the countryside. Our new »neighbors« indicated that later when the children have moved out and they themselves retire, they may move in permanently.
The second house that is being built belongs to the daughter of a fellow villager who wants to have her own place with her boyfriend. Years ago, the fellow villager built his own house next to his parental home, where he lived with his wife and three children. One of the children has left home, the second has converted the top floor into an apartment for him and his family, and the daughter still lives at home, for the last several years with her boyfriend, and there is not enough room left in the house to create an apartment for them as well. That’s why they have decided to build a new house on the site of the parental home where her grandmother lived until a few years ago. Grandma passed away, and the house has been empty ever since. They demolished it in the spring, and now a new house is being built.
At another place in the village, a plot with an old house on it has also been sold, where the daughter of another fellow villager wants to build her own house. She and her husband and children have lived on the top floor of her parental home for years, while her parents live on the ground floor. This new home for them will be completed in the next few years.
And then we have an old house where an old woman lived alone in really appalling conditions, without a bathroom or toilet. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it. Several villagers have offered help over the years, which the old lady always flatly rejected. In the last year of her life, she mostly lay in bed and someone came to bring food and check on her. She passed away two years ago. The plot was bought by two young men from the village, who both want to build their own house on it. One still lives at home and the other lives with his girlfriend in her parents’ house. It is a large plot, so it can easily accommodate two houses. They have already been busy cutting down trees and shrubs and clearing out the old barn and house. Unbelievable what a mess came out of there!
So there are suddenly a lot of changes happening in the appearance of the village and that takes some getting used to. Of course, it is an improvement but still….. I am very curious what it will look like here in a few years’ time.