The history of Akoesticum

The three friends, Harold Lenselink, Victor van Haeren, and Hans Sluijmer, shared the idea that talent in the performing arts could not exist without broad participation by amateurs. That everyone's life should consist of music, dance and theatre because it is essential for the development of every human being. While cycling, they discovered the ideal place and the ideal building: empty barracks next to the Ede-Wageningen train station.

National monument Frisokazerne

The Maurits- and Friso barracks were built within two years - from 1904 to May 1906. The reason for their construction was the introduction of compulsory military service in 1901. The municipality of Ede was seen as a suitable location because of the relatively cheap land, which was close to the railway, and the suitable training grounds next to it. In addition to the two barracks, a bathing facility, a fencing/gymnasium and a large men's canteen were built between the two buildings. In 1905, vehicle sheds were also ordered to be built. Shortly afterwards, a pharmacy, an arsenal (storehouse for weapons and equipment) and a series of houses followed. Until they were named in 1934, the Johan Willem Friso Barracks and the Maurits Barracks were respectively known as Infantry Barracks 1 and 2.

After the German invasion in May 1940, almost all German army units - SS, Wehrmacht and Kriegsmarine - were stationed in Ede. The Frisokazerne - later renamed Kommodore Boute Kaserne - was used for housing and as a training place for sailors. The second Allied bombardment took place on 17 September 1944, and was part of Operation Market Garden. During that bombardment, the Friso Barracks were badly hit, and the original gables and stepped gables destroyed. After the Second World War, the main focus was on restoring the army, the buildings and facilities. The German naming of the Frisokazerne was reversed immediately after the war.

When Defence started to withdraw from military real estate in the Netherlands from 2005, the task for the municipality of Ede became more urgent. They had to find a way to redevelop both the barracks and their surroundings. This was a major task, due to the large number of valuable and relatively unknown buildings on the site. The Maurits and Friso barracks were designated national monuments in 2006. At the time, reallocation was the spearhead of the policy for the preservation of historical monuments and cultural history. Area assignments increasingly had to take account of cultural-historical frameworks and starting points.


In 2011, the Ministry of Defence transferred the military site next to Ede-Wageningen railway station to the municipality of Ede. Both barracks, the Frisokazerne and the adjacent Mauritskazerne, had been vacant for some time. The Akoesticum concept - a training centre with many large rooms - suited the redevelopment of the Frisokazerne. As a result, the smaller spaces directly behind the front façade could be used almost unchanged as service areas. The large spaces at the back have become rehearsal spaces. Most of the spaces already existed, and the architect only had to give them a different function. The original structure of the building therefore remained easily recognisable. The original finishes have also been restored as much as possible. Akoesticum was therefore an ideal concept that could be realised with a very limited number of interventions.

Following a unanimously positive council decision on the cultural purpose for the Frisokazerne, work began on the restoration and conversion of the building in November 2013. Within one year, the building regained its historic quality. On 1 October 2014, we launched the national training centre for music, dance and theatre.


Interview met Pierre Lommen, Adviseur Monumentenzorg gemeente Ede over de restauratie van de Frisokazerne. Gepubliceerd in de Akoesticum Verjaardagskrant, 2e editie januari 2018.

Bouwhistorisch onderzoek naar de J.W Frisokazerne, door: Projectbureau Ede-oost, 21 januari 2010.