Preserving Oostkerk

April 1, 2022

We are starting to make the Oostkerk in Middelburg more sustainable. Stichting Monumentenbezit received the Oostkerk from the Protestant Municipality of Middelburg in November 2018. This seventeenth-century Protestant domed church is in the "Top 100 Dutch Monuments.

When Monumentenbezit became the owner of this beautiful church, it also became the owner of the outdated and energy-guzzling heating system from the 1950s. This created major energy and operating challenges. 

Since 2019, the Oostkerk Foundation has successfully organized cultural and socially connecting programming there with exhibitions, musical performances and other events. Due to the cold, the Oostkerk was not usable for event programming during the winter period, and the use of the Oostkerk at all involved high energy costs and relatively high CO2 emissions. A large-scale sustainability project was therefore launched.

The challenge was not only matching techniques to the special building, but also making it completely reversible while preserving the church's monumental values.

These are some the changes in the Oostkerk in terms of sustainability:

  • A new underfloor heating system based on a sustainable heat pump was installed.
  • To ensure that only the church hall itself is heated and not the entire volume of the church, a horizontal "air curtain" was created. In the base of the dome, heated air is blown into the use zone inside the church. Inside the dome, the air is exhausted. This technique ensures that the heat does not dissipate in the dome, but rather is optimally utilized low down in the room.
  • To prevent drafts, rear glazing and wall heating was installed, which is powered by the same heat pump used for the underfloor heating.

The new sustainability techniques have been fitted almost invisibly into the Oostkerk. This was only possible because the installations could be placed in the adjacent building. Because no space was available in the domed church for the utilitarian functions, Monumentenbezit purchased this building and used it to install the heat pump with associated sound absorbers, the central heating system and part of the control technology. Through pipes running under the street, the heat enters the church.





Construction group Peters, Bordewijk Advisors, Synto, Schildersbedrijf Boutelaar-Pouwer, HDV Steigerbouw, Roegiers Glas




Watch the video about this project

Click here for the infograhic on the measures.

The result
The measures taken make it comfortable for visitors all year round. The systems running on the heat pump provide a base temperature in the church. Conventional techniques, including convectors under the windows and infrared panels, and air heating are used to bring the base temperature up to comfort temperature before an event. Heating in this way uses 42% renewable energy. The Oostkerk Foundation can start again in the top 100 monument, with a program of concerts, exhibitions, tours and other activities.

Cooperation partner TERTS
Monumentenbezit has become a cooperation partner of TERTS, a cross-border cooperation program with financial support from the European Regional Development Fund. TERTS promotes sustainable energy use in the tertiary sector by demonstrating innovative techniques and providing guidance to SMEs. Oostkerk is included as one of the program's five demonstration sites.

More info: For more information about the TERTS program, check out the website

Want to know more about the Oostkerk? Take a look at the monuments page.


Also read about our other projects