From Gerrit Rietveld to Rem Koolhaas, not to mention Herman Hertzberger and Wim Quist, some of the world’s most celebrated architects hail from the Netherlands. Both nationally and on a global scale, Dutch architects continue to make their mark with their pioneering approach to building. In the following pages, we showcase some of the country’s top architectural agencies.
TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER | PHOTO © AMSTERDAM&PARTNERS AND NBTC
Due to the country’s unique topographic situation, the Netherlands has long been a hub for pioneering architects. The necessity of being protected against water means that Dutch architects have become experts in the management of water and land.
Zuid by night. Photo © Roel Baeckaert
Every square metre of land needs to be put to good use in a densely populated country like the Netherlands, and Dutch architects are renowned for coming up with highly efficient plans which make perfect use of the available space.
Dutch architects have an international reputation for their original designs. From Berlin to New York, they have made their mark across the world. Meanwhile, if you pay a visit to any Dutch city, the country’s strong architectural legacy will immediately become apparent.
Katterugwoningen. Photo © Geert van der Wijk
From the capital city, whose canal houses are famous the world over, to avant-garde destinations such as Rotterdam, the architectural highlights are endless. In the latter, you will find architectural gems including OMA Timmerhuis and the Erasmus bridge.
Meanwhile, in Utrecht, do not miss Rietveld Schröder House, a 20th century architectural treasure and a UNESCO world heritage site. Designed by Rietveld, it is globally recognised as the most influential domestic building of the early modern period due to its radical approach to design and the use of space.
Java-eiland. Photo © Koen Smilde
NBTC HOLLAND MARKETING’S ARCHITECTURAL HOTSPOTS
We spoke to NBTC Holland Marketing about the significance of architecture in the Netherlands, and they told us their top five destinations for design aficionados:
Utrecht – Rietveld Schröder House
A 20th century architectural gem and a UNESCO world heritage site. The Rietveld Schröder House is a must for lovers of modern architecture, De Stijl, or just the quirky. Designed by Gerrit Rietveld, one of the founding members of the De Stijl, it became the architectural showpiece of the movement. It is globally recognised as the most influential domestic building of the early modern period due to its radical approach to design and the use of space.
Drachten – Van Doesburg-Rinsema House
Drachten is the city in which Theo van Doesburg realised his first big commission, designing colour schemes for a complex of 16 middle class homes, and one of these homes is now a museum that is open to the public. The residence illustrates how De Stijl influenced both interior and exterior design. On display in the residence are the design drawings of Van Doesburg and works by Thijs and Evert Rinsema in the form of furniture, paintings, and other art expressions, as well as an extensive collection of publications on De Stijl and Dada. Van Doesburg was the founding member of the De Stijl art movement which began in Leiden in 1917.
Rotterdam – a contemporary architectural gem
A city that is home to bold, innovative contemporary architecture including floating pavilions, OMA Timmerhuis and the iconic Erasmus bridge. Wander through the city and you will soon be overwhelmed by some of its unusual buildings. This includes the Kubuswoningen that were built in the 1980s, a a series of unusually shaped homes inspired by the cubism art movement. An- other, more recent addition, is the equally stunning Markthal, completed in 2014. The arch of the building houses over 200 apartments and is also beautifully decorated on the inside.
Schiedam – giant windmills
A city famed for its jenever production, made possible by its soaring windmills. Holland and windmills are synonymous, however, Schiedam is home to the world’s tallest windmills. These giants loom above the city; with some reaching 33 metres, only six of the area’s original 20 windmills have survived.
Amsterdam – a historic hub
Amsterdam’s canal houses are famous the world over and with good reason. Dating from the Dutch Golden Age, Amsterdam’s oldest houses, with their ornate gabled façades, are a national treasure. Many of these stunning examples of architecture can be found around the city’s 17th century Canal Ring. The Canal Ring is a UNESCO- designated world heritage site.
The Rotterdam skyline
Find out more about architecture in the Netherlands here: www.discoverbenelux.com