Architecture in the Netherlands


The exhibition consists of twelve framed panels braced in the back 48” wide, 54” high.

Panel I Subject: Housing

Depicts the “Netherlands have been more active in housing in comparison with their population than any other country.” (Quotation from: The Architectural Forum). Photos from slums of old Amsterdam (No. 316, 12”x18”)of housing in Rotterdam, 1934 (Frans Bekkerstraat) by W. van Tyen and A. Verbeek (No. 30476, 20”x16”) The panel shows some results of better housing: Much lower death rate: in 1900 19 per 1,000, in 1935 8 per 1,000 and a decrease of Tuberculosis; in 1901 10 per 10,000, in 1939 5 per 10,000. Furthermore a quotation from New Homes for Old by Reed and Ogg, 1940, New York: “Under the housing act of 1901, the first in Europe, Holland put up 220,000 new dwellings financed by public funds. For the United States, that would mean three and a quarter million houses.”

Panel II Subject: Planning

Depicts: “In Holland you cannot build without consent of the board of aesthetic supervision which requires high architectural standards as well as harmonious site planning.” The panel shows: The Board in action and the following photos:- Amstelation, Amsterdam by H.J.G. Schelling (photo 31204, 20”x16”), Nat6ional Security Bank, Amsterdam by D. Roosenburg (photo 31203, 20”x16”), Modern housing in Amsterdam. (photo 30180, 16”x16”)

Panel III Subject: The Dutch Architect Faced Great Difficulties

In order to reclaim land, the sea had to be conquered and huge dikes were built across the sea, illustrated by photo 276, 16”x11” (building of the dike), photo 1899, 23”x16” (sluices and dike) photo 30505, 16”x11” (settlement on reclaim soil). The soggy soil of Holland makes it necessary to support each house. A blueprint (12”x32”) gives a cross section of a Dutch house on piles, photo 3201, 11”x13” shows the pile driving. The panel depicts that 13,659 pine trees from Sweden and further north had to be driven into the soil to build the former Town Hall at Amsterdam. (photo 338, 13”x16”)

Panel IV Subject: Architecture of Times Gone By

Text: The Netherlands has many cultural monuments. They tell the history of a rich past, and promise the development of a strong cultural life in the future. In this collection a few examples of Dutch architecture of the main periods of the past- one building representative of each period- are included. For the rest we have restricted ourselves to modern architecture because it expresses the modern civilization.

1560 St. Servaas Church of Maastricht 900 A.D. Built shorty after the Norman invasion. It is considered to be proto-Romanesque. (16”x13”) 2592 Cathedral at ‘s Hertogenbosch, Gothic. Comparable in its magnificence to the great cathedrals of France. (11”x16”) 1107 Westerchurch at Amsterdam by Hendrick de Keyser (1565-1621). Renaissance. Tower can probably be attributed to Cornelis Danckorts. (11”x16”) 338 Former City Hall of Amsterdam, now the Royal Palace, by Jacob van Campen (1597-1657). Dutch Classical Style. (16”x11”) 368 Interior of former City Hall. (10”x14”)

Text: Mechanized production began to make its influence felt. Problems of urbanization arose with the rapid growth of industrial centers. The time was at hand to benefit from the use of new materials and dew constructions. Gradually such developments could not fail to act as a stimulant to architecture.

The new era began in the latter part of the nineteenth century with the English country home style of Voysey, Baillie Scott and the outstanding work of Frank Lloyd Wright in America. In the Netherlands this influence came from Viollet le Duc, who wanted the French to discard the classical style, and to develop their own architectural traditions. This Neo-Gothicism was brought to Holland by his pupil Dr. P.J.H. Cuypers. The Central Station and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam are examples of Neo-Gothicism in the Netherlands. Although the Neo-Gothic style takes over many elements of Gothicism, Cuypers never strove for slavish imitation of this style. He used new building materials, even though his first application of steel was made in a rather romantic and decorative manner. It cannot be said that he founded a new style, but he did help Dutch architecture to become a craft again. Furthermore he was the first to put an end to the dull imitation of old forms. He found the road back to honest construction. Berlage continues this trend which led to a rejuvenation of architecture. (17”x13”)

336 Rijksmuseum at Amsterdam. (1885) by O.J.H. Cuypers (1827-1921). Neo-Gothicisme. Cuypers was the first to put an end to dull imitation of old forms. (16”x13”)

Panel V Subject: A New Era Begins

Text: At the turn of the century a new era began, inventions changed the mode of life; unsatisfactory social conditions developed new ideologies such as liberalism, democracy, socialism. Architects began to realize that these philosophies would form the foundation for the new world. A manifestation of the new idealism, coupled with a realistic view of the function of building, can be found in the work of Berlage (1856-1934). His buildings show the construction which during the 19th century, was completely hidden behind style imitations. The rational trend of building, started by Berlage, did away with these senseless imitations of the past. It gave the architect an opportunity to create works which conform to the needs of his own time. Imitation of period building is not done today in Holland. All building represents expressions of our time. The term “modern” cannot be applied as it is used in the United States, because the antithesis in the form of the period building is not known in Holland.

1106 Commodity Exchange at Amsterdam (1893-1903) by H.P. Berlage (1856-1934). It shows the construction, which, during the 19th century, had been hidden by style imitations. (16’x24’)

Subject: (Second Part) Utilitarian Architecture

Text: Shortly after the World War a movement started under the influence of the painters Theo van Doesburg, Piet Mondrian, van der Leck and Huszar. Although their philosophical theories about the rendering of space did not directly create a new architecture, indirectly these abstractionists did not help Dutch architecture to develop and reach a point of greater maturity. Their philosophical theories about the rendering of space, published in the Dutch periodical “De Stijl” influenced many painters in different parts of the world. One of the first architects who tried to create a new architecture built upon these theories of space was G. Rietveld. The resultant architectural movement, supported by the famous Dutch ton planners J.J.P. Oud and C. van Easteren and the internationally known architects Brinkman, van der Vlugt and many others, developed into the movement “Fitness for Purpose.” This movement can be characterized by its strong opposition against decoration in architecture. They underlined the point that the functional form, having an expression itself, does not need any additional treatment. (12”x14”)

4649 Signal box by S. van Raventseyn (12’x15”) 3197 Van Nelle’s factory at Rotterdam 1929 by J. Brinkman and L.C. van der Vlugt. One of the first buildings in the world with “curtain-wall” construction to provide maximum of light inside. (24”x16”)

Panel VI Subject: Housing in Amsterdam

TE 1. Text: Housing in Holland is often subsided by the government. Holland was the first country to introduce a housing law. (1901). Improvised housing conditions improved the health situation of the country especially in regard to tuberculosis. Low cost building is carried out with state and municipal subsides and with the help of building cooperatives and non-profit building associations. Site planning of urban settlements, even those of small communities, is always guided by experts. (14”x9”)

TE 2. Text: Expansion Project “Zuider Amstelcanal” at Amsterdam In this project no blocks of houses are planned. The site-planning is done with many open strips of land. More than half the area is designed for one family houses. The result will be an amount of 25% more houses of that type. Next to the highway, behind the row of trees, there will be a path for bicycles of 14 feet and a foot path of 14 feet. It indicates the enormous use of bicycles and the love for hiking in Holland. The houses do not block the park, but they connect the park harmoniously with the residential quarter. In that way the park becomes merged with the living quarters. All apartment houses are situated to the south. Two buildings are planned for single people and for the aged. An open air swimming pool is also provided. (14”x18”)

TE 3. Text: Expansion Project “Sloterlake” This project combines the advantages of country life with the conveniences of city life. The garden village will be so close to the city that the expression “commuting” is exaggerated. In the West part housing for laborers is planned with an average density of seventy units per two and a half acres. The difficulty in site planning was to combine as much as possible “green” areas of tress and grass with economical building in order to make low rents possible. For that purpose 60% of the buildings must have four or more stories. After the project has been entirely executed, the greatest distance will be four and one half miles from the center of Amsterdam (de “Dam”). The garden city will have excellent commodities for water sports. Main traffic arteries and roads only to be used by village people are separated entirely. Outside the highways 1,000 houses are planned of which 57% will be executed with four and more stories and 43% of one and two stories. 32% are one-family houses. (15”x15”)

413 Bird’s-eye view of the Merwede Place at Amsterdam. (16”x11”) 30180 Bird’s-eye view of the new part of the city of Amsterdam. (16”x11”) 228 Low cost housing garden village near Amsterdam. 1926 by J. Boterenbrood (16”x11”) VS 2 Layout of Amsterdam “Zuider Amstelcanal” (16”x12”) VS 13 Entire model of the new expansion project of Amsterdam, seen from Northwest to Southwest. (16”x14”) V* 11 Detail of mosel showing high buildings near lake in new expansion project of Amsterdam. (16”x11”)

Panel VII Subject: Housing in Rotterdam

30476 A and B. Houses and their interiors in Rotterdam 1934 (Frans Bekkerstraat) by W. van Tyen and A. Verbeek. (20”x24”) LB 6811 38F Houses in Rotterdam 1934 (Frans Bekkerstaat) by W. van Tyen and A. Verbeek. Floor plans. (9’x7’) Kf-L 66-114 F Housing in “Hook of Holland” near Rotterdam 1927 by J.J.P. Oud. Floor plans. (10”x7”) 30474 Housing in Rotterdam 1927 by J.J.P. Oud. (16”x11”) 30459 Dwellings in “Hook of Holland” near Rotterdam 1927 by J.J.P. Oud. (16”x11”) 3199 Church in the “Kiefhoek” housing 1930 Rotterdam by J.J.P. Oud. (16”x11”) 712 The rural tradition of architecture in the garden village “Vreewijk” near Rotterdam 1916 by Prof. M.B. Granpre Moliere, P. Verhagon and A.J.Th. Kok. (16”x11”)

Panel VIII Subject: Schools

TF 1 Text: Because the new ideas of progressive education met with such response in Holland, a vast new field was opened for the architect; viz. building schools to fit the needs of modern pedagogy. In their school buildings, Dutch architects show the beauty of architecture as a result of designing for a purpose instead of adding artificial “treatments” for beauty. The school of Wiebenga succeeded in making buildings an object of utility which appeal to the Dutch taste because of the simplicity and open construction. (16”x7¼”)

30461 School of Aalameer 1931 by J. P. Wiebenga, example of utilitarian architecture. (20”x16”) 30475 School of Aalameer 1931 by J. P. Wiebenga, two other photos of the school of Wiebenga. (9”x12”) 2052 Open air school of Amsterdam 1930 by P. Bijvoet and J. Duiker. First experiment of radiant heat built in ceiling. (16”x11”) LY 24-40 Open air school Amsterdam 1930 by P. Bijvoet and J. Duiker. Floor plan (9”x5”) 30473 Montessori school at Bloemendaal by J. H. Groenwegen 1931. Because the new ideas of progressive education met with such response in Holland, a vast new field was opened for the architect; viz. building school to fit the needs of modern pedagogy. (16”x11”) K5-L 66-85 F Montessori school at Bloemndaal by J.H. Groenewegen 1931. Floor plan (9”x12”) 30015 Montessori school at Bloemendaal by J.H. Groenewegen 1931. Interior. (12”x9”) 110 School at Hilversum by W.M. Dudok. Dudok schools have an inclination towards romanticism. (16”x11”) 30469 Public school Fabritiuslaan at Hilversum by W.M. Dudok. A typically Dutch device, the thatched roof, is employed. This country-like accent is not out of place among the bungalows of the region. (14”x11”)

Panel IX Subject: Representative Architecture

TH 1 Text: Architecture must develop from a functional base. This does not mean that the architect must abandon representative values in his plans. Think of the famous houses of the Amsterdam patricians. These houses were built in the 17th century, still they were basically functional. Their attic was especially designed to store the goods brought in by the barges. In the basement offices and kitchen were located. The first floor served as a big reception hall where magnificent parties were held. They gave the wealthy merchant a splendid opportunity to fulfill his social obligations.

In our times also, architecture very often has the double purpose of serving a function and demonstrating a representative value as well. (15”x13”)

31213 Hotel with Theater Gooiland at Hilversum by J. Duiker 1930. Due to the semi-circular facade all rooms are exposed to the sun. (20”x16”) 1491 Hotel and Theater Gooiland at Hilversum 1930 by J. Duiker. This masterwork shows the rationalist who did not shy away from the decorative. (9”x7”) LA 78-106 F Hotel and Theater Gooiland at Hilversum 1930 by J. Duiker. Floor plan. (9”x7”) 4648 Museum Boymans at Rotterdam by A. van der Steur 1935. One of the finest museums in the world. (13”x20”) 30466 Museum Boymans at Rotterdam 1935 by A. van der Steur. Interior. (11”x9”) LA 78136 F Museum Boymans at Rotterdam 1935 by A. van der Steur. Floor plans. (9”x11”) 1511 Town Hall at Hilversum 1928-1930 by W.M. Dudok. Romantic block architecture dominates this magnificent building. Dudok is influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright, but his manner of fitting geometrical building elements into a design is very personal. (20”13”) LA 78-97 F Town Hall at Hilversum 1928-1930 by W.M. Dudok. Floor plan. (10”x10”)

Panel X Subject: Public Buildings

TG 1 Text: Much more than a museum, architecture in its constant close contact with the public, has the power to exercise a cultural influence. Shortly before the German invasion, the Government in Holland allowed for each Government building a 2% subsidy to make possible the collaboration of artists in order to obtain the most satisfactory results. (16”x6¾”)

4509 Kitchen and boiler room of the sanatorium Zonnestraal at Hilversum 1927 by J. Duiker. The architecture enables the patients to get all the necessary fresh air. (16”x13”) LA 78-103 F Sanatorium Zonnestraal at Hilversum 1927 by J. Duiker. Floor plan. (9”x11”) 4631 Department store Se Bijenkorf at Rotterdam 1931 by W.M. Dudok, partly demolished during the bombardment. (16”x11”) 4628 Department store De Bijenkorf at Rotterdam 1931 by W.M. Dudok. (16”x11”) 30465 Bank offices at Schiedam by W.M. Dudok 1936. (16”x13”) 30462 Bank office at Schiedam by W.M. Dudok 1936. Interior. (9”x7”) LA 78-145 F Bank office at Schiedam by W.M. Dudok 1936. Floor plan. (9”x16”)

Panel XI Subject: Private Buildings

TI 1 Text: Holland has a dreary climate. Sunshine is rare. Therefore the need for large windows which permit sun and light to enter, is very understandable. The position of the building in regard to sun exposure is a dominating functional factor. The acceptance of function as the starting point lends to each building characteristics corresponding to the purpose it must fulfill. Architecture, in the recent past, had been so overburdened with superficial ornament, that many Dutch architects felt it their duty to renounce everything even resembling the “decorative” or “Picturesque.” In the same way that Berlage and his disciples at times over-emphasize the constructive element; the functional architect often went to extremes in stressing the point of utility. Exaggerated demonstration of “Fitness for Purpose” often became an obstacle to serve function. Of course, there are still in Holland many architects with an inclination towards romanticism. Sometimes they are architects with outstanding talents who have exercised influence upon the functionalists. They themselves underwent the influence of the functionalists, too. This reciprocal effect resulted in an exceptional maturity of Dutch architecture. On the other hand, an essential difference can be observed between the work of functionalists with an inclination towards the decorative and the work of the romantics who did not neglect the function in their plan. (16”x16)

1561 Skyscraper Daniel Willinkplein 1931 Amsterdam by J. F. Staal. Because of the lack of solid sub-soil, high buildings cause extreme difficulties. (12”x15”) 4523 Apartment house Parklaan Rotterdam 1934 by W. van Tyen. (12”x15”) LA 78-143 F Apartment house Parklaan Rotterdam 1934 by W. van Tyen. Floor plan. (9”x7”) 4515 Apartment house Parklaan Rotterdam 1934 by W. van Tyen. Terrace. (9”x5”) 199 Studio apartments, Uiterwaardenstraat at Amsterdam 1934 by Zanstra, Symons and Gissen. Interior. (9”x8”) 30467 Studio apartments, Uiterwaardenstraat at Amsterdam 1934 by Zanstra, Symons and Gissen, especially built for artists; successful experiment. (20”x16”) LA 78-91 F Country house Alkemadelaan The Hagus by G. Rietveld. Floor plan. (10”x7”) 4513 Country house Alkemadelaan The Hague by G. Rietveld 1935. (14”x11”) 138 Weekend house at Loosdrecht 1938 by Paul Bromberg. The sun-exposed South facade is extremely high whereas the north side of the house facing bitter winds, is built low as possible. Under the house storage for a rowboat has been provided. (14”x11”) 30464 Low cost housing by J.J.P. Oud, 1927. (14”x11”)

Panel XII Subject: Interiors

TJ 1 Text: It is a fact that architecture influences also interior decoration. Interior decoration has been guided by the same movements that have influenced architecture and the development of the two has been closely related. An understanding of space-rendering and well designed furniture can be observed in the average Dutch home. (6¾”x6”)

30472 Houses at Utrecht Prins Henderiklaan by Schroeder and Rietveld. Interior. (20”x16”) 30471 Houses at Utrecht Prins Hendriklaan by Schroeder and Rietveld. (9”x7”) 30468 Houses at Rotterdam Kralingsche Plas 1930 by J. Brinkman and L. C. van der Vlugt. (9”x7”) 30480 House at Rotterdam Kralingsche Plas by J. Brinkman and L. C. van der Vlugt. Interior. (16”x13”) 30482 Rebuilt interior 1940 by Maaskant and van Tyen. (16”x13”) 30355 Country house at Tongeren 1940. Interior designed by G. Rietveld and W. Panaat. (16”x13”)

This text was originally published in conjunction with the exhibition.