Categories: ArchitectureCulture

Architecture of the Netherlands

Dutch architecture has played an important role in the international discourse on architecture in three eras. The first of these was during the 17th century, when the Dutch empire was at the height of its power. The second was in the first half of the 20th century, during development of modernism. The third is not concluded and involves many contemporary Dutch architects who are achieving global prestige.

The development of architecture in the territory of the modern western European state The Netherlands as a component of the art of the Netherlands began and actively continued in the 2nd millennium AD. e., Having passed in varying degrees all the stages of European architecture, and also largely influenced the pan-European development of housing and industrial architecture.

There is no unambiguous answer as to the definition of the Dutch national style in architecture, but the fact remains that Dutch gothic has the greatest historical continuity on the territory of the country, it was used more by building seekers and followers of historicism and the nineteenth century; original in the Netherlands lands were the Renaissance and classicism. Thus, it is believed that the period of the highest development of the architecture of the Netherlands coincided with the political triumph of the state – the so-called “golden age” of the Republic of the United Provinces, and in particular the 17th century, when cities were being actively built up in the country, ambitious town-planning projects were being implemented, how inAmsterdam (see the canals of Amsterdam), at the same time in the country created famous local architects, in many respects at this time the modern architectural appearance of the Dutch cities was formed. The architecture of the Netherlands of the 20th century is a creative quest, originality, innovation, often on a global scale.

Delimitation of concepts and general characteristics
Being part of the art of the Netherlands, the architecture of the country has a common history with this art school. In this regard, it is necessary to distinguish between the concepts of the architecture of the Netherlands and the Dutch architecture. The first concept has a synonymous replacement – Dutch architecture; The second concept is much broader, because Dutch architecture in the Middle Ages developed on the territory of historical Netherlands. Before the Dutch bourgeois revolution of the XVI century architectural schools Dutch and Flemish (. See Architecture Belgium) evolved together, then – as an individual. Although, undoubtedly, the foundations of the differences in the architecture of the Netherlands and Belgium were laid just in the Middle Ages.

Among the factors that led to these processes – as purely objective (geographical location, different natural conditions, proximity to the effects of neighboring states, etc.), and subjective (differences in the development of educational centers, the presence of architects and school builders, and so on etc.). In addition, the Dutch architecture did not limit the Dutch architecture even after the formation of the Republic of the United Provinces, after being a colonial metropolis, the Netherlands planted its administration, culture, language and architecture, including in the colonies, in particular in the large colonial cells of Indonesia, in a number of Caribbean islands – for example, the historical nucleus of Willemstad in Curacao, which is a surprisingly bright “reading on the spot” of Dutch architecture, it is thanks to originality that it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The general characteristics of the architecture of the Netherlands, inherent in it throughout history, belong to her openness and ability to absorb foreign experience and develop her own style. Undoubtedly, the early urbanization, the high (historically one of the highest in the world) population density and the constant struggle for land (drainage of land, construction of canals) had an enormous influence on the development of architecture in the territory of the present-day Netherlands; also the architecture was influenced by the general historical development – wars, foreign domination, Reformation, economic ups and stagnations.

To the essential characteristics of the architecture of the Netherlands in the twentieth century, its innovation was added – among the modern Dutch architects, not only the followers, but first of all the pioneers, theorists and conductors of such contemporary artistic, including architectural trends, as functionalism (“international style”), deconstructionism, neoplasticism.

Dogotika, gothic and “flaming” gothic
On the territory of the Netherlands, megalithic structures of the Neolithic period, the Celtic settlement (1st millennium BC, Roman buildings (I-III centuries), were preserved).

Since the reign of the Carolingians on the territory of the historical Netherlands, cities have begun to emerge and are being built. Basilica churches were built during the so-called ” Caroling Renaissance ” – for example, the Basilica of Saint Servatius in Maastricht (X-XVI century), which is the oldest active temple in the Netherlands and a rare example of the Romanesque style; less often erected centric chapels (the chapel of the palace of Valkhof in Nijmegen, which was probably built in the 8th-9th centuries, the present view is from the 11th century). Romance style was formed under the influence of the Rhine regions, Lombardyand Northern France, which reigned in the Lower Lands in the XI – mid XIII centuries. Its centers were the valleys of the rivers Maas – that is, the borderlands of the modern Netherlands and Belgium.

In the XIII century, the architectural centers were also Brabant, the seaside of Flanders. The decorations of the churches (according to the French models) were characterized by the symbolism of the content, the conventionality of the form (the capitals of the churches in Maastricht, at the turn of the 12th-13th centuries).

In XIII-XV centuries cities grew around castles and market squares with houses of guilds and shops, the city tower and town hall; the radial-circular layout prevailed. Constructed city walls with powerful towers and gates, fortified bridges, wooden and stone houses with narrow facades, usually in several (often with 3) floors with pediments, often quite colorfully decorated. Miserliness and tradition of planning on the one hand, rich decor and sophisticated decor on the other, clearly indicated a combination of the Romanesque and Gothic features. However, the dominant in the Dutch cities inevitably became Gothic (Ridderzal Castle, The HagueXIII century; Oudekerk, Delft, XIII-XIV centuries) The so-called “brick Gothic” was developed in the Northern Netherlands with its marshy soils and lack of natural stone, lightweight coverings were developed, including wooden arches (Sint-Jakobskerk, The Hague, Oudekerk, Amsterdam).

In the 14th and the first third of the 16th century, there were built church churches (Utrecht Cathedral, XIII-XVI centuries). At the same time, in the south of the present-day Netherlands, Brabant blossomed late, “flaming” Gothic, which is still more typical for Belgium, in the Netherlands it is represented by single samples in Alkmaar, Middelburg (Middelburg Town Hall, 1452-1520, architects – the Keldermans family, better known for their work in Belgium), etc. In fact, flaming gothic testified of the Renaissance in the Dutch architecture.

The Netherlands Renaissance and Classicism (1500-1800)
In the 16th century, from Italy and France, the classical principles of the Renaissance permeate the architecture of the Netherlands, the Dutch architects begin to acquire professional education and write theoretical works. The first Dutch architect was the painter and engraver Peter Cook van Alstom (1502-1550). He owns translations of Vitruvius (published in 1539) and treatises of Serlio (1540s).

Interestingly, this adoption (not borrowing) of Renaissance art, including in architecture, was indirect, because Italians or French did not work in Dutch cities, as we say in Germany, that is, absorptionnew occurred on local soil by the local builders, which inevitably led to the transformation of the architectural forms of the Italian Renaissance in the Dutch architecture. These forms, perceived from the outside and thoroughly recycled, were used for decorative decoration, without affecting the old, familiar Gothic construction of buildings. The order elements, Renaissance thrusts, cornices were applied to ordinary, essentially medieval buildings, which resulted in a significant change in the “classical” proportions. The very high pediments of the buildings retained a stepped form, and the bay windows still stood out on the facades. Typical in this respect are the numerous buildings of town halls, shops, merchant corporations, scales, etc.

The Dutch architecture of this period of the so-called northern (or Netherlands) Renaissance was significantly influenced by external and internal political, economic and religious factors. Thus, the rise of the economy and politics led to the enrichment and growth of the Dutch cities, their development, and first of all, the construction of secular buildings (town halls, warehouses, shopping arcades, etc.), the isolation of national artistic, including architectural traditions; The Reformation led to the erection of new Protestant churches, which no longer contained a significant Gothic element, but were Renaissance (Süderkörck, Amsterdam, 1603-11, the first reformist church in the city;Hendrik de Keizer).

In secular buildings of this time a new, very picturesque style was created, where nevertheless the gothic traditional foundation-structure was combined (when organically, when not so) with a huge number of Renaissance architectural motifs. In some places, the tradition of brickwork (” Meat Row “, Harlem, about 1600), including white-stone classical details (the city chancellery, Leeuwarden) has developed.

The outstanding architects of Holland who created during this period were Jacob van Campen (1595-1657), Lieven de Key (about 1560-1627) and Hendrik de Keyser (1565-1621). In total, the Dutch architecture of the Renaissance has had a significant impact on the architecture of other countries, primarily Germany and England.

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The 17th century was also a period of development and construction of numerous canals in the Dutch cities (see Amsterdam Canals) – both for the purpose of draining lands, protection, and for transport purposes. On the banks of canals in the XVII-XVIII centuries, the houses of merchants and wealthy burghers were actively built and reconstructed (see House on the Canal).

During this period, the penetration of European (French) classicism in the public and residential as well as in the sacred architecture, from transitional forms to pure imitation, became noticeable in the Netherlands (Amsterdam Town Hall, 1648-55, Niveukerk, The Hague, 1649-56, Hugetan Palace, The Hague, 1734-36).

XIX century: the search for a national style
Although traditionally XIX century in the Netherlands architecture art historians is designated as a “passing” time, when no outstanding architectural monuments were created, in fact, to state this unambiguously would be completely erroneous.

After all, the Dutch cities, like most of the historical European, owe a great deal of their architectural face to the activities of builders of the XIX century. It was a time when cities grew actively, industry developed (the foundations of industrial design laid), cultural and educational upsurge took place, urban centers of culture were built and reconstructed – museums, theaters, public libraries). Pan-European romanticism, having taken root in the Netherlands, in architecture also produced a bright and tangible result – the Dutch national style was defined.

Even before the middle of the XIX century, the Netherlands was built mainly on French (mostly in the style of classicism) samples, later many eclectic buildings began to appear, but Dutch neo-Gothic, supplemented by neo-renaissance details, performed by leading architects of the country is understood as the Dutch national architectural style.

In this period (the second half of the 19th century), in particular, the “pillars” of Dutch architecture, designed and built vivid structures, were Adolf Leonard van Gendt (Concertgebouw, the new building of the City Theater, both Amsterdam) and Peter Kuipers (Rijksmuseum, Central Station in Amsterdam). The latter, as the main figure of architectural historism in the Netherlands, also exercised a tremendous influence in the field of study and research, restoration, reconstruction, and sometimes the reconstruction of religious buildings in the Netherlands, often built new Neo-Gothic churches (St. Joseph’s Cathedral,Groningen, 1886).

Without understanding the architecture of the Netherlands of the 19th century, it is difficult to understand the real Dutch architectural boom that took place in 1910-1930, for example, the teacher of the functionalist J. Aud was the same traditionalist Peter Kuipers, and the nucleus of the Amsterdam Architectural School was formed in the bureau of his nephew Edward.

From 1900 to the present time: modernism and postmodernism
In the XX century Dutch architects played an important role in the development of modern architecture. At the beginning of the century, Hendrik Berlage (Hague Municipal Museum) established the basis for a rationalistic view of the erection of polyfunctional premises.

In the 1920-1930s in the Netherlands architecture became one of the art forms that developed dynamically. In the country there were many art groups that promoted their views on the development of art, in particular, architecture.

Thus, the expressionist architects Michel de Clerc and Pete Kramer were closely associated with the “Amsterdam School”. The other group consisted of more functionalist architects – Mart Stam, Leendert van der Flygt (Leendert van der Vlugt) and Johannes Deyker (Johannes Duiker). The ardent supporter of rationalism in the architecture of the Netherlands was also IA Brinkman (plant Nellefabrik, Rotterdam, 1931).

An outstanding phenomenon in the Dutch art was the work of members of the art group “Style”, which, starting with the creation of their own style of neoplasticism, finally joined the functionalism – Gerrit Rietveld (Schroeder House, Utrecht, 1924) and Jacobus Aud, who was the chief architect of Rotterdam, where he built many residential complexes and conceptual houses.

The Second World War and the subsequent restoration provided an amazing variety of styles to Rotterdam. The current architectural style in the city is widely represented by numerous skyscrapers (the highest tower is the Maas, 164.75 m), the world famous ” cubic houses ” (1984, architect Pete Blom), business facilities (headquarters ” Unilever NL”), and also a symbol of the city – the bridge of Erasmus.

In the post-war era, in the 1950s and 1960s, the Dutch architects of the younger generation, Aldo van Eyck, JB Barem and Hermann Hertzberger, the Ministry of Public Affairs and Employment, The Hague, known as the ” Forum generation “(Forum generation, under the name of the software magazine), provided the internationalization of Dutch architecture.

Since the 1960s and 1970s, the architecture of the Netherlands has been closely associated with design (Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, 1963 – 67, architect M.F. Deintier).

From the 1980s to the present, Rem Koolhaas and his architectural bureau (Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA)) is the leading force in the world architecture that forms the new, postmodern generation of Dutch architects.

Modern architecture in the Netherlands is characterized by a variety of forms, practicality, environmental orientation and originality – this particularly applies to individual projects. Young architects are given the opportunity to experiment in the construction and expansion of cities. The state exerts its influence on architecture, acting as a customer. The latest examples are the modernist building of the Ministry of Housing, Space Planning and Environmental Protection (architect Hohoststad / Hoogstad) and the postmodern building of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (architects Graves and Soeters). From the most modern works of Dutch architects – the projects of the architectural bureau MVRDV – the name is derived from the initials of the company’s founders: Winy Maas (1959), Jacob van Rijs (* 1964) and Natalie de Vries (Nathalie de Vries, * 1965), who embodies his ideas around the world and It has an original approach that has already influenced modern architecture as a whole.

Source from Wikipedia