Dutch Language Blog

One of my favorite things: the Rietveld Schröderhuis Posted by on Feb 27, 2011 in Dutch Language

The Rietveld-Schroder house is, in my humble opinion, maybe the Netherlands’ finest attraction.  20th century Dutch architecture is, of course, its own course of study, and its reputation precedes it.  But you don’t need to be a design nerd to appreciate the Schröder house, which is open to the public Woensdag t/m Zondag, by reservation.


In 1924, Truus Schröder-Schräder asked Gerrit Rietveld to build her her dream-house, and a dreamhouse is still very much what the Rietveld-Schröder house feels like when you visit.  Viewed from the outside, its modern planes impress but don’t astonish:  there are a lot of houses in Holland that have been built in the years since whose exteriors look a lot like this one.  But inside, the Rietveld-Schröder house induces childlike awe.  It’s a house that combines practicality with play, which is perhaps one way to describe the country in which it was built.

The entire upstairs level can be divided into rooms, or can be left open; it’s ruled by panels that shift the space into the shape desired by its inhabitant(s).  It’s sad, actually, to tour the house and to know that no one is enjoying its many secrets on a daily basis; at the same time, it’s charming to think that it will only ever really belong to Mevrouw Schröder, who met Rietveld – her future lover – when her husband Frits Schröder allowed her to design one room of their house to her own liking.  Later, that room grew into a house.  And while it’s a fine monument to the ingenuities of De Stijl architecture, it’s most fascinating to think how satisfying it must have been as a living space.  A room of one’s own, indeed.


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