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With the National Collection for Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning as a point of departure, theatre and radio producer Naomi Steijger visits the Vreewijk neighbourhood in Rotterdam and talks to designers, archive experts and residents about greenery in this garden suburb. First in a series of podcasts under the name Green in the City.


A century ago, in the 1920s, the garden suburb Vreewijk was built in Rotterdam. Its buildings and green areas were conceived and implemented together, making it a special residential area: the first tuindorp (literally,"garden village") in the Netherlands. The archive collection of Het Nieuwe Instituut includes photos and design drawings that display this interweaving of architecture and greenery, as well as documents that reveal its inspiration in the garden city ideals that arrived from England at the beginning of the 20th century.

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The episode is also available on various podcast apps and platforms such as Podbean, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

Archive Explorations: Green in the City

Under the lockdowns of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are more aware than ever of the relaxing and healing power of the greenery around us. Yet the idea that has a positive effect on our physical and mental health is not new: much of the planning of greenery in the Netherlands is based on this idea. In the series Green in the City, part of Archive Explorations various radio broadcasters go on a mission to find answers to the questions: how have garden and landscape architects and urban planners dealt with the concept over the years? What were their views, and how do we see them now?

Archives and collections of Het Nieuwe Instituut with documents about Vreewijk

  • H.P. Berlage archive
  • S. van Embden archive
  • M.J. Granpré-Molière archive
  • J. Klijnen archive
  • Th. K. van Lohuizen archive
  • Tentoonstellingsraad voor Bouwkunst en verwante kunsten archive
  • W. van Tijen archive
  • P. Verhagen archive
  • J.G. Wattjes archive
  • J. Wils archive
  • A collection of panels with urban designs of Vreewijk, donated by Havensteder housing corporation (Rotterdam).

Literature about Vreewijk

  • De Nijlarchitecten, Cultuurhistorische Verkenning Vreewijk [De Nijl architects, Cultural-historical Exploration Vreewijk,] Rotterdam, 2009
  • M.J. Granpré-Molière, ‘Een rondgang in het eerste Rotterdamsche tuindorp’, Tijdschrift voor Volkshuisvesting [‘A tour of the first Rotterdam garden village’, Journal of Public Housing], 1921, no. 2, p.124–129
  • J. Oudenaarden, I. Kleijwegt, De Wederopstanding van Het Witte Paard [The Resurrection of the White Horse], Stichting Het Witte Paard, Rotterdam, 2011
  • M. Steenhuis, Stedenbouw in het landschap Pieter Verhagen (1882-1950) [Urbanism in the Landscape Pieter Verhagen (1882-1950)], Rotterdam, NAI Publishers, 2007
  • J.W. Verdenius, ‘Het voortuinvraagstuk in verband met de Volkshuisvesting’, Tijdschrift voor Volkshuisvesting [‘The issue of front gardens in relation to public housing’, Journal of Public Housing], no. 2, p. 342–344
  • L. Zwiers, Kleine Woningen [Small Houses], Amsterdam, J. Clausen, 1923