History of the architecture of the Netherlands

Dutch architecture played a significant role in international architecture over three periods. During the 17th century, while the Dutch empire was in power, second during the first half of the 20th century due to the development of modernism, and third has not concluded yet, as several dutch architects continue to influence architects globally. The Netherlands played a significant role in the architectural development of modern western Europe. It also largely influenced the pan-European housing and industrial architecture development. There is no specific definition for the Dutch National style of architecture, but Dutch gothic architecture influenced most of the country. It was commonly used by building seekers and followers of historicism. The Netherlands was originally home to Renaissance and classicism. The period of development of the architecture of the Netherlands coincided with the political triumph of the site-the so-called golden age of the Republic of the United Provinces. During the 17th century, the city was actively built, along with numerous town planning projects. During this time, the modern architectural appearance of the Dutch cities developed. The architecture of the 20th century is considered creative and on a global scale.

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View of the Carambeí Historical Park mill and houses in Dutch architecture on the left_ ©Kauan Mateus Kubaski

The architecture of the Netherlands is closely related to its school of art. Hence it’s important to distinguish between the architecture of the Netherlands and Dutch architecture. During the middle ages, Dutch architecture developed on the border of the Netherlands, and Dutch architecture influences the architecture of the Netherlands.

Renaissance and Baroque

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The Vleeshal In Haarlem_©Welleschik

The Dutch golden age covered the 17th century. The period was known for thriving economies which led to the expansion of cities. Several new storehouses and town halls were built. New canals were also dug out, in and around Delft, Leiden, and Amsterdam for defense and transportation. Several new houses of merchants came up along the canal. Most of them were narrow with ornamental facades.

The characteristics of the Italian Renaissance are primarily visual similar to pillars, piers, pediments, and rustication was espoused since numerous Dutch engineers were unfit to read the theoretical validation, which was frequently in Italian or Latin. Vertical lines were emphasized, differing from the perpendicular emphasis of Gothic architecture. Light-colored bands were bedded into facades to emphasize this vertical character. Another element in Dutch Renaissance architecture, particularly in Amsterdam, was the stepped gable, which was meant to hide the slant lines of the gable behind the straight lines of the façade.

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Town Hall of Amsterdam bilt in 1665_©Robert Scarth

The architecture of the first democracy in Northern Europe was marked by sobriety and restraint and was meant to reflect popular values by quoting considerably from a classical age. It set up its motivation in the designs of Hendrick de Keyser, who was necessary for establishing a Venetian- told style into early 17th- century armature through new structures like the Noorderkerk (1620 – 1623) and Westerkerk(1620 – 1631) in Amsterdam. In general, architecture in the Counter-Reformation-influenced south and Protestant-dominated north, remained explosively invested in northern Italian Renaissance and Mannerist forms that anteceded the Roman High Baroque style of Borromini and Bernini. rather, the more austere form rehearsed in the Dutch Republic was well suited to major structure patterns palaces for the House of Orange and new communal structures, uninfluenced by a the Counter-Reformation style that made some advances in Antwerp.

The major expounders of the mid-17th century, Jacob van Campen and Pieter Post, espoused de Keyser’s forms for similar miscellaneous rudiments such as piers, gable roofs, central pediments, and vigorous steeples. These stylistic developments anticipated Wren’s Classicism when brought together. The most ambitious constructions of the period included the seats of tone-government in Amsterdam( 1646) and Maastricht( 1658), designed by Campen and Post, independently. On the other hand, the places of the House of Orange are closer to a typical townsman manse than to a royal palace. Two of these, Huis ten Bosch and Mauritshuis, are symmetrical blocks with large windows, stripped of ostentatious Baroque indications. The same austerely geometrical effect is achieved without great cost or grandiose goods at the stadholder’s summer hearthstone of Het Loo.Another of the designs used by the Dutch was the use of warm colors similar to red or dark orange. They also were roughly textured and tended to be darkened due to the rough texturing. The use of architectural symmetrical balance was part of their habits as well.

Modern Architecture

Rietveld Schröder House (1924), designed_©Gerrit Rietveld Luctor

The architecture of the Netherlands is well known for its openness, it’s the ability to absorb and adapt to any foreign form, transforming it into a different style of architecture. The onset of rapid urbanization in the past, the high population density, and the lack of availability of land contributed to the development of local architecture. The wars, reformations, and foreign rule also played a crucial role in the development of the present-day architecture of the country.

Innovations were added, to the essential characteristics of the architecture of the Netherlands in the twentieth century. Architectural trends such as functionalism, deconstructivism, and neoplasticism also were utilized, in the development of present-day architecture.


1.HiSoUR – Hi So You Are. (2018). The architecture of the Netherlands. [online] Available at: https://www.hisour.com/architecture-of-the-netherlands-33707/.

‌2.Study.com. (2019). Dutch Baroque Architecture: Characteristics & Examples | Study.com. [online] Available at: https://study.com/academy/lesson/dutch-baroque-architecture-characteristics-examples.html.

‌3.BluEntCAD (2022). Dutch Baroque Architecture: History and Characteristics. [online] Available at: https://www.bluentcad.com/blog/dutch-baroque-architecture/.


Hridya is an architecture student keen on expressing herself through words and visual narratives, hence found architecture to be a common ground that combines these interests. Furthermore, she loves to explore new horizons to stretch her abilities.

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