Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - The Diagoon House

Welcome Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky Zentrum in Vienna!

Register Now: 7th International Iconic Houses Conference

Inside Iconic Houses at Taut’s Home in Berlin

Welcome Vila Volman! Jewel of Czech Functionalism

Forgetting and Rediscovering the Adolf Loos Interiors in Pilsen

Movie Night: Pioneers of the Dutch Modern House - 26 January 2023 in Amsterdam

'Inside Iconic Houses' - Online Tour Program

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Rietveld Schröder House

'Inside Iconic Houses' Case Study House #26 Webcast in Webshop

Rietveld Houses Owners Association

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Pierre Cuypers' House and Workshops

Reeuwijk Celebrates Completion of Restoration Rietveld Homes!

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Van Doesburg Rinsema House

Welcome Rietveld's Van Daalen House!

Corberó Space: New Life for Hidden Jewel

Architect Harry Gessner Passed Away at 97

Watch Pioneers of the Dutch Modern House Now On Demand

Icon Saved: Dorchester Drive House

Welcome Umbrella House!

Iconic Houses in the Netherlands – Berlage’s Masterpiece

Welcome Atelier Volten!

SPECIAL – Iconic Dreams - Sleep in an Iconic House!

SPECIAL - Vacances en France!

SPECIAL - Casas Icónicas en España!

SPECIAL – German Greats!

SPECIAL – Dutch Delights!

SPECIAL – Northern (High)Lights!

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Het Schip

Inside Iconic Houses - Tour of Maison Cazenave

Inside Iconic Houses Tours Vizcaya Museum & Gardens in Miami

Casa Masó Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

Inside Iconic Houses tours Roland Reisley's Usonian Frank Lloyd Wright House

Rietveld’s Experimental Housing in Reeuwijk Saved

Serralves Villa after restoration

Portraits of the Architect - Interview with Gennaro Postiglione

Test Labs for New Ideas - Interview with Natascha Drabbe

Inside Iconic Houses - Isokon Building

Inside Iconic Houses - 16 December: Sunnylands with Janice Lyle

BCN-BXL Coderch-De Koninck - Beyond Time

New Chairman Architect Nanne de Ru on The Perfect Platform

Health and Home - Interview with Beatriz Colomina

A Life Less Ordinary – Interview with Valentijn Carbo

Invisible Women - Interview with Alice T. Friedman

Winy Maas on the Green Dip

Anita Blom on Experimental Housing of the 1970s

Women’s Worlds - Interview with Natalie Dubois

The Culture of Living - Interview with Robert von der Nahmer

Hetty Berens: A Fresh Take on Modernism

Niek Smit on Supporting Modern Heritage

Alice Roegholt on Amsterdam’s Working-Class Palaces

July is Iconic Houses Month

Hans van Heeswijk on The Pioneers of the Dutch Modern House

Wessel de Jonge on Dutch Icons at Risk

Save Maison Zilveli - Sign the Petition!

How a Building Tells a Story - Recorded Event

Toolkit for Owners of a Modern House

13 Aalto Sites Nominated for UNESCO World Heritage

Villa Beer At Risk - Sign the Petition!

Business Cards of Stone, Timber and Concrete in the Brussels Region 1830-1970

Exhibiting & Visiting Modernist Monuments

Fostering Well-Researched Responsible Design

ICONS AT RISK

Enjoy a virtual visit to the California House and a Q&A with architect Peter Gluck

Exhibition 'Modernism and Refuge'

A Hidden Gem of Postmodernism

New Centre for Historic Houses of India

An Online Chronicle of the Douglas House

Villa Henny, geometric style icon in The Netherlands

A Mendini temple in Amsterdam

IH-lectures USA & Canada Feb 2020 on Melnikov House

Sponsors and Friends

An Afternoon with the Glucks

Chandler McCoy on Making Modern Houses Sustainable

Catherine Croft: Getting Away from the Demolition Mentality in the UK

Patrick Weber on Discovering an Unknown Icon

Fiona Fisher on Iconic Interiors

Jocelyn Bouraly on Villa Cavrois

Mireia Massagué on finding success through a new kind of partnership

Danish Moderns – Looking Back at Our Mini-Seminar

Venturo house complements Exhibition Centre WeeGee’s offering

Lecture report: Remembering Richard Neutra

Hôtel Mezzara and the Guimard Museum project

We welcome 13 new members!

BREAKING NEWS: 8 Wright Sites Inscribed on Unesco World Heritage List!

LECTURE 29 August - Raymond Neutra: My Father and Frank Lloyd Wright

Iconic Reads

SPECIAL – Iconic Artist Residencies

Our Badge of Honour

SPECIAL – Women & Iconic Houses

SPECIAL – Iconic Housing

Iconic Houses End Year Message

City-ordered rebuild of landmark house stirs debate: Appropriate or overreach?

Kohlberg House Restoration in Progress

Planned Demolition of Rietveld Homes in Reeuwijk

Renovation Gili House in Crisis

An Iconic Saga

Restoring Eileen Gray’s Villa E-1027 and Clarifying the Controversies

Modernism on the East Coast

Iconic Houses in Latin America

Conference testimonials

House Tours May 2018 

Expert Meetings

Natascha Drabbe - Iconic Houses: The Next Chapter

Terence Riley -KEYNOTE SPEAKER- on Philip Johnson

New era for Villa E-1027 and Cap Moderne

Hilary Lewis on Philip Johnson and his Glass House

John Arbuckle on Great House Tours

William D. Earls on the Harvard Five in New Canaan

Stover Jenkins on Working for Philip Johnson

Frederick Noyes on his Father’s House

Scott Fellows and Craig Bassam on their Passion for Preservation

Jorge Liernur -KEYNOTE SPEAKER- on Latin American Modernism(s)

Fabio Grementieri on Modernism in Argentina

Catalina Corcuera Cabezut on Casa Luis Barragán

Renato Anelli on Lina Bo Bardi’s Casa de Vidro

Tim McClimon on Corporate Preservation

Amanda Nelson on Building Donor Relationships

John Bacon on Planned Giving

Jean-Paul Warmoes on the Art of Fundraising in America

Chandler McCoy on Why Less is More

Katherine Malone-France on Moving with the Times

Anne Mette Rahbæk on Philanthropic Investments and Preservation

Peter McMahon on Saving Modern Houses on Cape Cod

Toshiko Kinoshita on Japanese Modern Heritage Houses

Roland Reisley on Life in a Frank Lloyd Wright House

5th Iconic Houses Conference May 2018

Kristin Stone, Pasadena Tour Company

Restoring the past: The Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Home Studio

Behind the Scenes: Hendrick de Keyser Association

Crosby Doe, Architecture for Sale

Latin America Special – Focus on Mexico

De Stijl in Drachten

Preserving the Nancarrow House-Studio

Meet the Friends - Nanne de Ru

Latin America Special – Focus on Brazil

Jan de Jong’s House is Latest Hendrick de Keyser Acquisition

Stay in a Belgian Modernist Masterpiece

In Berlin’s Modernist Network

Rietveld-Schröder House Celebrates De Stijl Anniversary

Meet Our New Foundation Board Members

Maintaining Aalto's Studio – Linoleum Conservation

Virtual Tour of a Papaverhof Home in 3D

Getty Grant for Villa E-1027

Plečnik House in Ljubljana

Iconic Dacha

Iconic Houses: A Bohemian Road Trip

Work in Progress: Capricho de Gaudí

11 Le Corbusier Homes now on Unesco World Heritage List

At home with Le Corbusier

Henry van de Velde’s Study in Haus Hohe Pappeln Restored

Lynda Waggoner reports

A Conference to Remember

4th International Iconic Houses Conference

Guest of Honor - Harry Gesner

Fallingwater: European Lecture Tour

Wright Plus 2016 Walk

Susan Macdonald, Getty Conservation Institute

John Mcllwee, Garcia House

Meet the Friends – Elisabeth Tostrup

Iconic Houses: The Story So Far

Willie van Burgsteden, designer Iconic Houses

Buff Kavelman, Philanthropic Advisor

Meet the Friends - Frederick Noyes

Sheridan Burke, GML Heritage

Meet the Friends - Raymond Neutra

Sidney Williams, Frey House

Franklin Vagnone and Deborah Ryan, Museum Anarchists

Meet the Friends - James Haefner

Toshiko Mori, architect

Malachi Connolly, Cape Cod Modern House Trust

Meet the Friends - Penny Sparke

Lucia Dewey Atwood, Eames House

Cory Buckner, Mutual Housing Site Office

Jeffrey Herr, Hollyhock House

Speaking Volumes: Building the Iconic Houses Library

Sarah Lorenzen, Neutra VDL Studio and Residences

Ted Bosley, Gamble House

Keeping It Modern - Getty Conservation Grants

Meet the Friends - Thomas Schönauer

Wim de Wit, Stanford University

Linda Dishman, Los Angeles Conservancy

Jesse Lattig, Pasadena Heritage

Join us in Los Angeles! Update

Work in Progress: Casa Vicens

Work in Progress: Van Wassenhove House

Work in Progress: Villa Cavrois

Work in Progress: The Pearlroth House

Conference calls!

Follow us!

Third Iconic Houses Conference a huge success

Conference House Tours Barcelona

Marta Lacambra, Fundació Catalunya-La Pedrera

Natascha Drabbe, Iconic Houses Foundation

Special speaker Oscar Tusquets

Jordi Tresserras, UNESCO Network ‘Culture, tourism and development’

Christen Obel, Utzon Foundation

Elena Ruiz Sastre, Casa Broner

Fernando Alvarez Prozorovich, La Ricarda

Tim Benton, Professor of Art History (Emeritus)

Susana Landrove, Docomomo Spain

Rossend Casanova, Casa Bloc

Conference Program 25 November 2014

Jordi Falgàs, Casa Rafael Masó

Documentary La Ricarda

Marga Viza, Casa Míla/La Pedrera

Celeste Adams, Frank Lloyd Wright Trust

Conference 25 November 2014 at La Pedrera

Henry Urbach, The Glass House

Victoria & Albert Museum London November 12

Tommi Lindh, new director of the Alvar Aalto Foundation and Museum

Iveta Černá, Villa Tugendhat

Lynda Waggoner, Fallingwater

Kimberli Meyer, MAK Center

Rent a house designed by Gerrit Rietveld

Barragán House on Screen

Gesamtkunstwerk – An Icon on the Move

Triennale der Moderne 27 September - 13 October 2013

Prestigious Art Nouveau mansions in Brussels open

September 14 + 15: Heritage Days in Paris

June's New Arrivals: Museum Apartments

Iconic Houses is now on Twitter and Facebook

Corbu’s Cabanon: Reconstruction and Lecture

Projekt Mies In Krefeld: Life-sized model of the Krefeld Clubhouse

New arrivals: Spain special

MAMO: Le Corbu’s ‘Park in the Sky’ open 12 June

Taut's Home wins Europa Nostra Award

Annual Wright Architectural Housewalk: 18 May

Frank Lloyd Wright Homes on Screen

Message from the Editor

Neutra’s House on Screen

Michel Richard, Fondation Le Corbusier

Symposium The Public and the Modern House

Melnikov House on Screen

Iconic Houses in the media

Message from the Editor

Round Table Review

Eileen Gray House on Screen

Copy Culture

At Home in the 20th Century

New 20th century Iconic Houses website launches

Philippe Bélaval, Centre des monuments nationaux

Publication date 24 May, 2022

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Het Schip

  • Entrance Model Home at Het Schip, Michel de Klerk, 1921. Photo Els Zweerink.
  • Kitchen in the Model Home at Het Schip, Michel de Klerk, 1921. Photo Els Zweerink.
  • The characteristic turret has no direct function. It indicated that this was the centre of the residential block, comparable to the spire of a church tower. Photo Els Zweerink.
  • Rich curves of brick in the sculptural facades. Photo Els Zweerink.
  • Couple by the fireplace in their apartment, photo Museum Het Schip.
  • Entrance Model Home at Het Schip, Michel de Klerk, 1921. Photo Els Zweerink.
  • Kitchen in the Model Home at Het Schip, Michel de Klerk, 1921. Photo Els Zweerink.
  • The characteristic turret has no direct function. It indicated that this was the centre of the residential block, comparable to the spire of a church tower. Photo Els Zweerink.
  • Rich curves of brick in the sculptural facades. Photo Els Zweerink.
  • Couple by the fireplace in their apartment, photo Museum Het Schip.

Palaces for the People – Model Home in Museum Het Schip

Natascha Drabbe takes us to the most iconic houses from the twentieth century. If there was one thing that revolutionized the interior of homes in the Netherlands in the 1920s, it was the need to build more homes for the common man, the working class. A world-famous example of this is the residential block 'Het Schip' in Amsterdam. This 'workers' palace' was designed by architect Michel de Klerk and built in the style of the Amsterdam School.

Photography | Els Zweerink

Michel de Klerk (1884–1923) was commissioned by the housing association 'Eigen Haard' to design the workers' homes on a triangular plot on the Spaarndammer park. Built in 1919, the complex contained 102 working-class residences, a small meeting room, a post office, and a school. The building was described as a workers' palace and was soon nicknamed ‘Het Schip’ (The Ship). The total composition and the great richness of form bear witness to De Klerk's design talent and the details in the masonry and carpentry work of the builders. The facades exude a festive atmosphere and consist of bright orange bricks, decorated with a multitude of artistic shapes, also in brick. The model home in the residential block that can be visited as a museum home is a member of Iconic Houses.

Michel de Klerk at work, photo Museum Het Schip.  

Architect Michel de Klerk
Michel de Klerk, who was only 39 years old, occupies a prominent place within the Amsterdam School movement. He died in 1923 from the effects of pneumonia. De Klerk grew up in poverty in Amsterdam's Jewish quarter. As it turned out at primary school that he had a great talent for drawing, he was given the opportunity to follow further education at the craft school. In 1898, architect Eduard Cuypers, a first cousin of the architect Pierre Cuypers, employed him as an assistant. Eduard Cuypers had a large office where crafts were practiced as well as architectural designs. De Klerk was barely fourteen years old at the start of his employment. He would continue to work at Cuypers' office for twelve years.

Since his assignment for a block of worker’s houses on the Johannes Vermeerplein his name would keep associated with public housing. Together with architect Kramer, De Klerk also designed the housing complex 'De Dageraad' for the social-democratic General Workers' Cooperative 'De Dageraad' on the P.L.Takstraat, also in Amsterdam. De Klerk's socialist views undoubtedly played a part in obtaining these assignments.

The building was soon nicknamed 'The Ship'.

Model Home
The apartments of 'Het Schip' are still inhabited by tenants. The former post office, the school and the house under the iconic tower are now used as a museum and house museum. The house museum shows how De Klerk accommodated all the needs of daily life in the working-class houses. His credo was: 'Nothing is beautiful enough for the worker who has had to live without beauty for so long.' The house museum provides insight into the living situation of workers who lived in the housing complex from 1920 onwards. It is difficult for us to imagine what an enormous progress in living conditions this was for the workers at the time. We think it's normal for everyone to have their own bedroom, a well-equipped kitchen, and a nice bathroom in the house. But the opposite is true.

"Nothing is beautiful enough for the worker who has had to live without beauty for so long" - Michel De Klerk -

Reconstructed slum dwelling
The Netherlands is famous for the Housing Act of 1901; it was the first country to take such a step. In response to the appalling living conditions of the workers, a unique collaboration was created between government, corporations, and architects with the aim of achieving the highest possible, affordable quality of life for everyone. This was badly needed, because the workers who moved en masse from the countryside to the cities, found their shelter in cellars, slums, and one-room houses, where they had to live with the whole family. Streets were built close together, leaving little daylight and fresh air. Unhealthy living conditions caused diseases and epidemics. Slowly but surely the slums were declared uninhabitable and made way for better homes.
On the former schoolyard of 'Het Schip', the museum made a real-size reconstruction of a slum house (16 square meters) to make clear what it was like to live in a slum with an entire family. There is hardly any daylight in the slum. Cooking, washing, and sleeping take place here in one and the same room. By looking into this slum through the eyes of the residents (a family with seven children), insight is provided into the history and importance of social housing in the Netherlands.

Workers' Houses
The furniture of the workers' houses of Het Schip was all in the style of the Amsterdam School: sleek oak with small dark-stained decorations. At that time, prominent furniture designers, such as Piet Kramer, set the trend. But the average carpenter translated that in this case into furniture for 'ordinary' people. This type of furniture was not suitable for machine manufacture. Because handicraft was expensive, a lot of it was made by residents themselves. There were even manuals for it. A good example of this home craft is a floor lamp with carved Indian motifs. The Dutch East Indies was one of the sources of inspiration for the Amsterdam School.
There were two bedrooms in the workers' house, which is not very much for a family by today's standards. Yet for many this was a huge step forward. In the past they had to make do with alcoves and box beds.

The great wealth of shapes testifies to the architect's design talent.

School and Post Office
When the socialist housing association 'Eigen Haard' ordered the construction of the housing complex 'Het Schip', a school was already located on this site. It had been completed a few years earlier, in 1914. Michel de Klerk integrated the existing school building into the new building. The school was intended for the children of the workers. The prevailing thought was that a pleasant living and working environment had a positive influence on the general well-being of the workers. There was also a brass band that had its own place to practice, and outings were organized, for example to the sea. The post office, part of the building, enabled the residents to participate in telephone and letter traffic. It was also the place where the workers received their wages and were encouraged to save money.

Portrait Fré Cohen, Collection Peter van Dam. 

Fré Cohen: Form and Ideals of the Amsterdam School
Until 30 October 2022, Museum Het Schip presents an exhibition about the Dutch artist and graphic artist Fré Cohen (1903-1943). Fré Cohen was a successful and iconic woman in the men's world of graphic design. She was of great importance to the Amsterdam School. In her work, both the formal language and the ideals of the Amsterdam School are clearly expressed. For more information, visit www.hetschip.nl

Pioneers of the Dutch Modern House
For those who are curious about more stories about the developments in Dutch residential architecture in the twentieth century, Iconic Houses has made a five-part thematic video series in which specialists discuss the following topics:

  • Hygiene and Health in the Modern Home by Hetty Berens, Curator of the Sonneveld House.
  • Palaces for the People by Valentijn Carbo, Architectural Historian at Hendrick de Keyser; Association.
  • A Woman’s Place: Clients and Architects, by Natalie Dubois, Curator of Design at the Centraal Museum Utrecht.
  • Experiments with Space by Robert von der Nahmer, owner of the Diagoon House.
  • Home as a Self-Portrait: Architect ‘s Houses by Natascha Drabbe, Architectural Historian and owner of the Van Schijndel House.

The video series lasts 1 hour and can be streamed with or without a keynote lecture on the same theme via www.iconichouses.org/shop.

About the author
Natascha Drabbe, architectural historian and resident of the renowned Van Schijndelhuis in Utrecht, is Executive Director and Founder of Iconic Houses, the international network of owners and managers of architecturally interesting houses from the twentieth century. They strive to preserve modern heritage. The iconichouses.org website serves as a platform for more than one hundred and fifty Iconic Houses around the world, of which no fewer than 24 are in the Netherlands. The houses can all be visited (by appointment) and in some you can even stay overnight.

This article previously appeared in Dutch Magazine Herenhuis #89, May/June 2022.

Publication date 24 May, 2022