Olęder forest settlement (house, barn, cowshed), currently a farm, Bure
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

Olęder forest settlement (house, barn, cowshed), currently a farm



The rural homestead (formerly a forest settlement) in the Bure colony is an example of a secluded farm, of which there are not many in Greater Poland, related to the Olęder settlement process. It was built on a cleared patch of land. It is a very well preserved homestead having a quadrilateral plan, comprising a wooden log house, a wooden barn, and a brick cowshed. It serves as a testimony to the multicultural history of Greater Poland and one of the intense stages of the Olęder settlement process, which had a lasting and visible impact on the rural landscape of the region.


The Olęder settlement process was started by Dutch settlers. With time, the word “Olęder” (derived from the Polish word “Holender”, which means “Dutchman”) started to be used to refer to a freeman who undertook the reclamation of marshlands and the clearance of forests and hence enjoyed a set of special rights and privileges. The collective name given to those villages (colonies), “Haulaenderein”, is derived from the word hauen — “to clear”, as most Olęder settlements in Greater Poland were built in areas which were previously occupied by woodlands. The names of the colonies frequently incorporated the word “Holendry” or “Olędry”. Most settlers were German peasants who fled from the territory of the March or who were encouraged to settle in this region by Polish feudal lords. Later, they were joined by Czech and Polish settlers. The new settlers were granted privileges known as the holenderskie (Dutch) law. They were based on the principle of personal freedom. The settlers also had the right to elect the head of the village (sołtys). After an initial rent-free period, the settlers were required to pay a rent; once the tenancy period was over, they could choose to purchase the lands that they occupied.

The first Olęder settlements were built in the marshlands surrounding the Noteć and Warta rivers, near Śrem and Pyzdry. They resulted in the formation of villages referred to as marshland row villages. The oldest Olęder village in Greater Poland is the village of Olędry Ujskie, established in 1597.

The second type of settlement related to the Olęder colonisation process is the “scattered settlement” typical of the lowland regions near Nowy Tomyśl. Individual homesteads, built on cleared patches of land, were connected by networks of roads and paths. In the centre of a village, there were usually a church, a school, and a tavern.

An example of this type of Olęder settlement is the homestead in the Bure colony, most likely built in the first quarter of the 19th century (as suggested by the date “1813” on the brick cowshed). The Bure colony was established in the wooded part of the Wierzyce estate, owned by the Żółtowski family. The establishment of the settlement was related to the village of Holendry Wierzyckie, which had been founded earlier.

The Olęder homestead in the Bure colony was privately owned until 1939. After World War II, it was taken over by the state agricultural holding. It was rebuilt in the years 1979-1980, having been partially destroyed by fire. Currently, it is private property.


The homestead is located approximately 1.5 kilometres south of the road connecting Czerniejewo with the S5 express road in Wierzyce. The building complex is located on the south side of the road leading to the colony. In the centre, there is a yard, roughly square in shape, surrounded by the buildings: a side-gabled cottage along the western boundary, a cowshed along the southern boundary, and a barn along the eastern boundary. The homestead is enclosed with a picket fence with a gateway for vehicles and an accompanying smaller pedestrian gate on the west side and another small gate leading to the fields on the east side. In the yard, near the north wall of the cottage, there is a well with a well-sweep.

The single-storeyed cottage extends along the west side of the yard, in its south-west corner. It is a wooden building on a rectangular floor plan, having a post-and-plank structure on stone foundations and a brick socle. The cottage is cuboidal in shape and has a tall, thatched gable roof. A brick chimney juts out from the roof ridge halfway its length.

Door openings leading into the entrance hall are located in the west and east facades. The gable façades are covered with wooden boards.

The rooms inside the cottage are arranged symmetrically on both sides of the entrance hall extending along the central axis of the building. In the northern part, there is a single large room, and in the southern part, there are two smaller rooms having a similar size.

Along the south side of the yard, there is a single-storeyed cowshed, built on a rectangular floor plan and cuboidal in shape. It is made of brick and covered with plaster. It has a gable roof of roof tiles. The northern surface of the roof features a wall dormer providing access to the attic, covered with a separate gable roof. The cowshed is linked to the cottage by means of a wooden connecting section, also covered with a gable roof.

Along the east side of the yard, there is a single-storeyed barn. It is a wooden, post-and-plank building, having a rectangular floor plan and cuboidal in shape. It has a gable roof with wood shingles. The south and north gables are covered with weatherboards. In the west wall, there are three door openings with double gates.

Limited access to the historic monument. Private property.

compiled by Anna Dyszkant, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 24-10-2014.


  • Rusiński W., Osady tzw. „Olędrów” w dawnym woj. poznańskim, Poznań-Kraków 1947.
  • Burszta J, (red.), Kultura Ludowa Wielkopolski, Poznań 1960.

General information

  • Type: residential building
  • Chronology: 1 ćw. XIX w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Bure
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district gnieźnieński, commune Czerniejewo - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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