Last year I visited seven UNESCO sites in the Netherlands. This leaves three sites for my itinerary this year. The first of these I visited this year was the Rietveld Schröder House in Utrecht. I even found a willing victim who wanted to visit the site together with me.
In short, what to expect from the Rietveld Schroder House is in a way similar to what can be seen at the Van Nelle Factory. The Rietveld Schröder House is another example of Dutch efficiency and good usage of space.
Whereas the Van Nelle Factory was built with multi-functionality in mind, the Rietveld Schröder House is multi-functionality in the flesh. It’s a small space which can be transformed during the day into a huge space by moving walls & windows around.
Does this sound vague yet? I guess it’s one of those things you’d kind of have to experience…
The only way to visit the house is by booking an audio tour in advance. It’s very important to book beforehand because I have seen people get turned away at the ticket office. The house is located at the outskirts of Utrecht, so if you’re turned away you have to travel all the way back to the city centre.
You’re allowed to take photos inside, which made me very happy because I didn’t expect that.
Photography and audio tours are not best friends though. For most of the tour I was juggling with the audio tour telephone thingie in one hand & my camera in the other. It’s awkward at times, but whenever I had the choice I opted for the photos and let the audio guide blabber on about the building itself from the floor. You’re not allowed to touch any of the furniture inside, so the struggle is real when it comes to having your hands full.
Audio tours don’t really inspire me much. I prefer human interaction during a tour. Luckily part of this tour includes a demonstration. When we entered the upstairs part of the house, all the room were closed. The tour guide called this the “night mode” of the house. She then demonstrated what the “day mode” looks like and how the whole place can open up, including walls & windows. This means that plenty of light flows into the house and there’s enough space for the whole family to roam around.
The only thing we noticed is that there isn’t much closet space for someone who has a room for her books and a room for her clothes, this would be a big no-no.
History of the Rietveld Schröder House
The Rietveld Schröder House was commissioned by Truus Schröder-Schräder and designed by the architect Gerrit Thomas Rietveld. It was built in 1924. The small one-family house portrayed the ideals of the De Stijl group of artists and architects in the Netherlands in the 1920s. The interiors and furniture are an integral part of its design and have been given the same UNESCO recognition.
Walking Tour Rietveld Schroder
This year is a special year for “De Stijl”, that’s why there are special Rietveld Walking routes through Utrecht.
We visited two buildings that were designed by Rietveld on the way back to the city centre. It was immediately apparent that the first one was designed by Rietveld, however, the second one is a bit more incognito.
The best way to end the day is by strolling through Utrecht for a while. That’s exactly what we did. It’s a city I haven’t visited often, so I enjoy exploring the little back alleys and neighbourhoods.
The UNESCO sites in the Netherlands are quite interesting. A few of them are about the Dutchies’ fight with & appreciation of water: Schokland, Woudagemaal & Kinderdijk. Others are all about the Dutchies inventiveness. The Rietveld Schoder House is part of the latter grouping. My expectations of the site were quite low, as architecture is not my favourite subject. However, as was the case when I visited the Van Nelle Factory, I was happily surprised!