© Wouter Jansen

Follow in Rietveld’s footsteps in Utrecht

The university city of Utrecht is a popular destination for people who love art, design, and architecture. The Domtoren, canals, former docks, churches and countless other monuments bear witness to a rich past. Utrecht is where the world-famous furniture designer and architect Gerrit Rietveld was born. He was one of the big innovators of the well-known art movement called De Stijl. Discover the colorful heritage of De Stijl at the Centraal Museum and Rietveld Schröder House and see the impact of the art movement on contemporary art and architecture.

  • Discover Utrecht, the city in which Gerrit Rietveld was born.
  • Admire Rietveld’s chair, the top icon of De Stijl movement, at the Centraal Museum.
  • Take a guided tour of the Rietveld-Schröder House, a unique UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Centraal Museum

There is no better place to discover the work of Gerrit Rietveld than the Centraal Museum in Utrecht. The museum boasts the world’s largest collection of Rietveld objects. Rietveld was the son of a furniture maker and opened his own workshop in 1917. His ambition? To create sober and abstract designs that were accessible and affordable to all. His vision aligned seamlessly with the ideas of De Stijl. His world-famous red-blue chair, which many consider the most iconic work produced by De Stijl, is on permanent display at the Centraal Museum with other pieces of furniture created by Rietveld.

Address: Agnietenstraat 1, Utrecht

Rietveld Schröder House

In addition to furniture, Rietveld also designed residences. His design of Truus Schröder’s house is the architectural masterpiece of De Stijl and even became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. The young Schröder widow wanted a light-filled and spacious residence in which she could live with her three children instead of being lived by others. The house was completed in 1924, its design far ahead of its time. Truus Schröder continued to play an important part in Rietveld’s life. The two enjoyed a secret relationship for years. After his wife died in 1957, Rietveld moved in with his soul mate. Rietveld and Schröder lived together in the house he designed until his death in 1964. Schröder occupied the house until her death in 1984.

Today, the Rietveld Schröder House is a UNESCO World Heritage Site open to visitors. Nearly everything is still in its original state. You will be led through the house with a small group of no more than 12 visitors. A guide shows the smart solutions and details Rietveld incorporated into the residence, such as moving walls and the extraordinary corner window. There is plenty to tell about every space!

Address: Prins Hendriklaan 50, Utrecht

Editor’s tip

Want to go for a bike ride? De Stijl cities Amersfoort and Utrecht are linked with a 20 kilometer bicycle route: Mondrian Meets Rietveld. The internationally renowned artist Boris Tellegen (1986) developed ten sculptures/totems inspired by De Stijl, which you will see along the way. If you would prefer to visit a Rietveld model residence, you can go to the Erasmuslaan and Robijnhof every last Sunday of the month.

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