Nieuwe Instituut
Nieuwe Instituut
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Sonneveld House

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Sonneveld House


Sonneveld House is a museum house and one of the best-preserved homes in the functionalist Nieuwe Bouwen style. The villa on the edge of the Museum Park was designed in the early 1930s by the architecture office Brinkman en Van der Vlugt, known for the Van Nelle factory and the Feyenoord stadium. Sonneveld House shows how a prominent Rotterdam family embraced Modernism, and how that choice coloured their daily living environment.

Jongkindstraat 12, Rotterdam | Open from Tuesday - Sunday 10.00 - 17.00

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Visit the Sonneveld House website

On the Sonneveld House website, you will find more practical information, in addition to stories about the history of the house, its architecture and interior and the original inhabitants. The website includes family photos, drawings and documents from the Sonneveld family archives and from the archives of Gispen and Brinkman and Van der Vlugt.

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Avant Garde

Albertus Sonneveld, one of the three directors of the Van Nelle Factory, commissioned the construction of the detached house for himself and his family in 1929. They finally moved into the new house on Jongkindstraat in 1933, leaving all their old household possessions behind. Not merely content to adapt to their new surroundings, they chose to modernize their whole lifestyle according to the tastes of the avant garde. The Sonneveld House illustrates how the new trends in architecture were welcomed by the influential upper middle class.

'Nieuwe Bouwen'

Nieuwe Bouwen is a functionalist architecture that emerged in the early 20th century and peaked between the two world wars. Rather than aiming toward monumentalism, its architects focused on a building’s function and the needs of its users. They used modern techniques and materials such as concrete and steel frames to design efficient, hygienic buildings. Functional floor plans and an open, flexible layout contrasted with the traditional closed volumes and gave the buildings an open, airy feel. Nieuwe Bouwen sought to create a healthy living environment full of fresh air and sunlight.

Interior design

A striking aspect of the house is the way Brinkman and Van der Vlugt designed not only the architecture but also the complete interior. For the furnishings, they selected mainly furniture by the designer/manufacturer Gispen and fabrics by the firm Metz & Co. The Sonneveld House is probably the first example of an early modern interior where the products of these companies were applied consistently. The house was moreover equipped with the latest household gadgets to enhance the domestic pleasure of its inhabitants.

House Museum

Sonneveld House, which enjoys national heritage status, was opened to the public in 2001 after undergoing restoration work and refurbishment to recreate the original condition of the house and interior. This was largely achieved with objects owned by the Sonneveld heirs, among them items of furniture and lamps, as well as personal belongings acquired by the family when they lived in the house from 1933 to 1955. In addition, art and design from the 1930s, in particular glasswork, have been added to enliven the interior of Sonneveld Museum House.

Huis Sonneveld. Foto Johannes Schwartz.

Iconic Houses

The Sonneveld House is part of Iconic Houses Network. Its website offers an overview of modern house museums and architects' houses world wide, open to the public. Iconic Houses is also an organisation for professionals who are active in the management of house museums, aiming at sharing knowledge and expertise in the field of conservation, presentation and reaching an audience. See the Sonneveld House webspecialon Iconic