National Collection for Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning
Het Nieuwe Instituut derives its special position to a significant degree from the range and unique importance of the National Collection for Architecture and Urban Planning, which it manages. Following the introduction of the 2016 Heritage Act the collection was also granted heritage status. This has served to endorse once again the significance of the collection and ensure structural funding for it. The collection is an important source for external parties: researchers, curators, students and writers for whom the hundreds of archives with approximately 4.5 million documents provide indispensible materials.
Het Nieuwe Instituut manages 700 archives and collections of Dutch architects, urban planners, professional associations and educational institutions, comprising a total of some 4,000,000 documents. The collection is the largest in the Netherlands, after that of the Naturalis Biodiversity Center, and is one of the largest architecture related collections in the world. Besides museum quality drawings, these archives include sketches, preliminary designs, working drawings, business and personal correspondence, photographs, models, posters, press clippings and published articles. The collection offers insight into 130 years of development within Dutch architecture and urbanism. The uniqueness of many archives, their artistic quality and the added value of the complete collection give the archives of Het Nieuwe Instituut their great cultural and historical significance.
With the establishment of the Maatschappij tot Bevordering der Bouwkunst (Society for the Promotion of Architecture) in the mid-19th century, the education of architects in the modern sense started taking shape. From that moment onwards, architectural archives were established. The archives of the firm P.J.H. Cuypers and his son J.Th. Cuypers, are prominent 19th century components of the collection of Het Nieuwe Instituut. The main bulk of the collection is from the period 1900 to 1940, and includes the archives of H.P. Berlage, K.P.C. de Bazel, W. Kromhout, M. de Klerk, J.J.P. Oud, W.M. Dudok, J. Duiker, J.A. Brinkman and L.C. van der Vlugt, T. van Doesburg, H. Th. Wijdeveld, G. Th. Rietveld and C. van Eesteren. Another important archive from the same period is that of the Royal Institute of Dutch Architects (BNA). The post-war reconstruction period (1940-1965) is well-represented by the archives of J.H. van den Broek and J.B. Bakema, H. Maaskant, and W. Wissing. More recent archives include those of Herman Hertzberger, Sjoerd Soeters and Albers en Van Huut.
Alongside analogue material, the Dutch National Collection for Architecture and Urban Planning also consists of born digital material; material that is originally produced in digital format. This rapidly growing born digital collection is one of the largest and most unique collections in the world. It consists of over 5TB of data containing over 1,000,000 files that range from architectural 2D drawings and 3D-models to images, video footage, animations, renderings and computer code. The technological shift in work practices of designers from analogue to digital and thus the foreseeable growth of the born digital collection is one of the reasons for our increased investment in digital preservation and digitalization, both in terms of time and funding.
Het Nieuwe Instituut collects publications about Dutch and international architecture, urban design, and related design fields such as housing, spatial planning, landscape architecture, and interior architecture. The main emphasis is on the modern era, from the 19th century onwards. Besides architecture and urbanism, Het Nieuwe Instituut also collects information on art, photography, digital culture and design, as well as on social topics such as globalization, media, the network society, and the amusement industry. By staying in touch with these trends, Het Nieuwe Instituut aims to take a broader perspective of developments that are relevant to designing the space around us.
The library collection contains around 65,000 books and brochures, and 1,300 magazine from the Netherlands and abroad, including 40 ongoing subscriptions. The audiovisual collection contains around 550 video tapes, DVDs, CDs and audio cassettes, and has recently been digitised. Het Nieuwe Instituut also houses a collection of rare 20th-century books and magazines and 18th- and 19th-century folios. The collection grows by around 10 metres a year, not only through acquisitions from (antiquarian) bookshops, but also through donations by institutions and private individuals, and the acquisition of libraries from the estates of Dutch architects.