The Dekema House (Dekemahuis) is originally a “Stins” (medieval, defensible, habitable tower (later also built horizontally) on the Breedeplaats in the Frisian city of Franeker. The building from circa 1500 was previously twice as wide, but the western part was demolished around 1900.
The first owner of the Dekema House was Juw van Dekema and 1485 is mentioned as the year of construction of the building. Van Dekema acted as potent state of Friesland, counsel and “grietman” of Baarderadeel. His son Jarich van Dekema studied in Leuven and was also a lawyer and grietman. Jarich married Katrijn Camstra and they also lived in the Dekema House. There are still paintings of this couple on the Dekemastate in Jelsum. The property later came into the possession of their daughter Jel van Dekema. Around 1600, Jels’ sister Anna’s grandson, Jarich van Ockinga, owned the property.
In 1660 the house was sold and Mayor Henricus Schotanus à Sterringa became the owner. The building then had a hall, an upstairs room, two cellars and four rooms upstairs. The house also had a coach house and a horse stable. Later the Dekema House was occupied by a number of professors at the University of Franeker. For example, Ulrik Huber, Petrus Camper, Everwinus Wassenbergh and Theodorus van Kooten would have lived there.
In 1757, the building was split in two. The western part served as an inn between 1798 and 1849 and then as a school until 1896. The eastern part was in 1819 owned by Eduard Marius van Beyma, grietman of Franekeradeel. On his death in 1825 he left the Dekemahuis to the Franekeradeel grietenij. In 1895 the Martena House (Martenahuis) was purchased, which would now function as a town hall. The western part was then demolished in 1900.
In 1894 a house was built on the east side directly against the Dekema House. Today, the remaining Dekema House is also split into two parts, the eastern part of which is merged with the attached house. The Dekema House received the status of national monument in 1967. Because no permission was given to remove the plaster layer, the cloisters of the building are hidden behind the plaster layer from around 1800 and the building does not resemble the other stins in the city: the Cammingha House (Camminghahuis), Martena House (Martenahuis) or Little Botnia (Klein Botnia).