Facelift for the Alte Feste

The Alte Feste in Windhoek has experienced and survived many storms since its construction began in 1890. Now it is set to be renovated thanks to the US Embassy in Namibia.
Brigitte Weidlich
The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture said on Friday that the US Embassy, through its Cultural Preservation Fund, was “enthusiastically” supporting the renovation of the historic Alte Feste building.
Apart from the renovation, the building will then be converted into an arts and crafts centre. Last year in March, the ministry concluded a declaration of intent with the Namibia Craft Centre, which is to set up the centre and manage it for ten years.
“This building is the oldest (remaining) structure in Windhoek and has significant historical value for Namibia,” the ministry said.
After the renovation, a small museum will be set up inside the old fort, which will take into account the eventful history of the building.
The Alte Feste was declared a national monument in 1957.
Furthermore, an arts and crafts market, an art gallery, small workshops where training will take place, studios for artists and a café with a restaurant are to be built. Some rooms will be set up as offices. The inner courtyard, where the equestrian monument, which was dismantled on behalf of the government, has stood since December 2013, is to be set up for events.
“The US Embassy’s enthusiastic support will not only preserve Namibia’s rich cultural heritage but also promote economic empowerment and social cohesion,” the ministry said.
On Wednesday the ministry will announce further details together with US Ambassador Randy Berry in the courtyard of the Alte Feste.
Ten years ago - in July 2014, the Alte Feste was closed, with the National Heritage Council announcing that it was to be renovated for N$50 million. However, this didn't happen.
In 2017, the German embassy in Windhoek offered €25 000 to contribute to the renovations. Three years later, the ministry asked the German embassy about the money so that the fort's roof could be repaired. The embassy is said to have provided €9 100 at the time.