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Staphorst alleyway residents caught in postal delivery bind

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

STAPHORST – Residents of rare alleyways in the tourism weary but very picturesque Dutch town of Staphorst are battling the one-size-fits-all bureaucratic attitude of their postal services and the heritage protection rules of their municipal government. Through the centuries, local residents, usually farming families, kept adding traditional farmsteads on dead-end alleyways as the next generation needed a place of their own. These structures were buildings with the farmer’s family and livestock all under one roof (a traditional and common Dutch practice). The alleyways and the linear ‘peat colony’ layout of the town were all given protected heritage status under the so-called Belvedere legislation, which combines cultural historical aspects with space concerns. The postal services want the residents to pick up the mail from proposed mailboxes on the main road, which the residents are resisting. A high court sided with the postal services but now the municipality opposes the idea of modern mailboxes since these are seen to ruin the quaint appearance of the protected town site. The residents say they are not impressed with the help they received from their municipal officials.