Rietveld Schröder House
Rietveld Schröder House as a tribute to De Stijl
The Rietveld Schröder House is located in the elegant eastern part of Utrecht. Situated among historical and traditional mansions, its appearance is certainly striking.
It was commissioned in 1924 by the widow and art patron Truus Schröder, who admired the work of Gerrit Rietveld (1888-1964). The finished building pays tribute to the principles of Dutch art movement De Stijl, of which Rietveld was an important member. The house has a three-dimensional asymmetrical composition that plays with seamless transitions between inside and outside, a pronounced primary color scheme, and sliding walls that transform the flexible living spaces.
Owned by the Centraal Museum in Utrecht, the house has been carefully restored to its original state and furnished with various pieces of Rietveld furniture, including the Red-Blue Chair (1917) and the Zigzag Chair (1934). Aficionados of (construction) art, architecture and furniture design will certainly love this, and Gerrit Rietveld is still regarded as one of the most important members of the De Stijl movement for good reason.
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Rietveld & De Stijl
Rietveld was born in Utrecht in 1888 as the son of a furniture maker. In 1917, he had his own furniture workshop in Utrecht, where he designed his iconic Red-Blue chair. The construction of this chair was aimed at simplicity for mass production and was finally executed in 1923 in the primary color scheme of De Stijl.
In 1924, Rietveld was invited to exhibit at the Bauhaus and made his way into architecture with the design of the Rietveld Schröder House. This building became the architectural showpiece of De Stijl and resembles a three-dimensional Piet Mondrian composition that has been brought to life. Due to its then cutting-edge approach to design and the use of space, the house is recognized worldwide as the most influential residence of the early modern era. The building continues to exert influence on architecture to this day, which is precisely why it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Visit the Rietveld Schröder House
We recommend setting aside an entire morning if you want to visit the Rietveld Schröder House in Utrecht. It is about 15 minutes by bike from Utrecht Central Station and the trip through the city center and the large Wilhelmina Park is an enjoyable activity in itself. Upon arrival, you can take a one-hour guided tour and see for yourself how this famous home plays with flexible spaces, colors and lines. Just make sure you book in advance.
After a relaxing lunch, you can enjoy everything else Utrecht has to offer. With 2000 years of history, the old town is rich in many architectural delights. From the towers and cobblestones in the medieval center to the many masterpieces on display at the Centraal Museum, Utrecht is one of the most inspiring destinations in the Netherlands for lovers of architecture, history, and design.
Another highlight are the canals, considered by many as the most beautiful in the Netherlands. The Dom Tower, the oldest and highest church tower in the Netherlands, is also definitely worth a visit. Keep in mind that it’s impossible to experience all of this in one afternoon. If you enjoy large cities, you can easily spend a week or so in Utrecht a/k/a “Dom city”. Book your stay in the centrally located and affordable StayOkay on Neude square or choose the special boutique hotel Zies, near Ledig Erf.
In short: after a visit to the Rietveld Schröder House, there is every reason to spend a bit more time in Utrecht. If only because subtle and less subtle references to Rietveld's work can be found throughout the city. After all, Rietveld was a real Utrechter.