Housing for older people in the Netherlands is undergoing substantial change. The costs associated with an ageing population have led to radical structural changes, such as the separation of housing and care and the privatisation of care. The political ambition to replace the welfare state with a ‘participation society’ has accelerated the policy of allowing older people to live at home for increasingly longer periods. This new political and economic reality is having an influence on housing for older people and provides an opportunity to foreground the phenomenon of ageing as a cultural issue.
Designs for housing for older people are a tool for researching alternative forms of community and care. This presentation shows that the search for new models is nothing new, but has a rich history. During the course of the twentieth century, charitable organisations, local governments, care institutions, designers and older people themselves have pondered the question of housing for the elderly, employing a range of expertise.
In the spring of 2015, students of architectural and art history from the VU University in Amsterdam conducted research in the archives of Het Nieuwe Instituut into the development of housing for older people in the Netherlands. The archive contains a cross section of designs from the past 100 years. The variety of material shows that housing for older people is strongly linked to political and emancipatory processes.
The provision of housing that allows older people to live independently stems from the introduction of the Woningwet (Ho...➝ Read more
In most periods throughout history, it was believed that older people could be divided into distinct groups, for whom a ...➝ Read more
The oldest form of collective housing for older people is the almshouse. In many towns from the 13th century on, almshou...➝ Read more
The service flat
One example of collective housing for the elderly is the service flat. These are apartments in private residential build...➝ Read more
The nursing home
Nursing homes are a distinct category within housing for the elderly. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries chronic...➝ Read more
- E. Feddersen and I. Lüdtke, Living for the Elderly: A Design Manual, Birkhäuser, Basel, 2009
- N. Mens, C. Wagenaar, De architectuur van de ouderenhuisvesting Bouwen voor wonen en zorg, Rotterdam, NAi Uitgevers, 2009
- D. Simpson, Young-Old Urban Utopias of an Aging Society, Lars Müller Publishers, Zurich, 2015
- E. Smit and M. Walda, ‘Het vraagstuk van de huisvesting der bejaarden’, in Wonen zonder zorg(en)? Van zorg met verblijf naar wonen met of zonder zorg. Veldacademie, Rotterdam, 2016
This presentation stems from archival research into housing for older people conducted by art and architecture history students from the VU University in Amsterdam in 2015 as part of the ‘Design and Discourse’ course, led by Minke Walda and Ellen Smit.
With thanks to Romy Bosch, Veerle Driessen, Berber Hoftijzer, Lieske Huits, Dominique Jurgen, Sarah Knigge, Olga Kruisbrink, Roos van Strien, Maaike Taekema, Vincent Visser, Jorne Vriens, Els van Zeggeren and Joanne Zwart. Annelies Wester, also a student at the VU University, turned the results of their research into the material presented here. Architect Evelien van Veen (Van Veen Architecten) has provided a reflection upon the selection of projects.