UNESCO World Heritage Site #162: Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar and Dessau

UNESCO World Heritage Site #162: Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar and Dessau
UNESCO World Heritage Site #162: Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar and Dessau

From the World Heritage inscription:

The Bauhaus is an outstanding example of the Modern Movement, which revolutionized artistic and architectural thinking and practice in the 20th century, and in particular of the progressive architectural concepts of the Jugendstil.

In 1919 the Schools of Art and of Applied Arts of the Grand Duchy of Saxony were combined to form the State Bauhaus of Weimar. The building of the former had been constructed in two phases, in 1904 and 1911, to the designs of Henry van de Velde (1863-1957), replacing the original structure of 1860.

The new building is representative of the progressive architectural concepts of the Jugendstil, in the transitional phase between Historicism and Modernism. The building was decorated with murals painted by Herbert Beyer in 1923 following the internationally famous Bauhaus exhibition. Van de Velde was responsible for the design of the former School of Applied Arts (1905-6), also in the Jugendstil tradition. Oskar Schlemmer added wall sculptures in 1923, which had disappeared, but have been replaced by copies.

Was the Bauhaus movement important? Yes.

In fact, I dare say I like most of the things with a Bauhaus design.

That, however, does not mean it was easy to take photos of this site. The locations for the UNESCO sites are divided between Weimar and Dessau. I visited them in Weimar.

While the Bauhaus movement was started in Weimar, and Bauhaus University is currently in Weimar, that doesn’t mean there is a lot to see. There is a Bauhaus museum in the city center, but that isn’t technically part of the UNESCO site. The university building itself isn’t that special. If you pop your head inside however, you can see some great design work inside.

The photo above is from the main stairwell in the main building at the University.

This was the seventh stop on my November 2011 Eurail trip to European UNESCO sites.


Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar and Dessau

The Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar and Dessau is a collection of prominent buildings and structures that represent the Bauhaus art movement. In particular, these sites have a link to the Bauhaus architectural school that was prominent in Germany from 1919 to 1933. This art movement created major influence in the architectural landscape not just of Germany, but all over the world. The Bauhaus architectural designs are widespread in Germany and in various parts of the world.

For this reason, the Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar and Dessau earned the recognition as one of the cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Germany. It showcases how an educational structure and movement can impact the cultural and architectural landscape of a city. They were recognized by UNESCO IN 1996.

About Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar and Dessau

Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar and Dessau

The Bauhaus School revolutionized an art and architecture movement during the 20th century. This school was founded by Walter Gropius in 1919. There are several components to this institution, which included the Art School, the Haus am Horn, and the Applied Art School. The design for these art schools themselves was a work of Henry van de Velde, who is a Belgian architect. Meanwhile, the Haus am Horn was the first practical application of the Bauhaus concept as this building was designed to be a single family settlement plan. Despite the significant impact of the Bauhaus movement in Weimar, political pressure forced the movement out of the city in 1925.

From Weimar, this movement was introduced in Dessau. This signaled the second successful phase of the Bauhaus movement in Germany. Hannes Meyer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe were crucial figures in the spread of the Bauhaus movement in Dessau. In 2017, the UNESCO World Heritage Site listing for the Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar and Dessau were extended. The properties included in the extension were the five houses with balcony access in Dessau, together with the ADGB Trade Union School in Bernau.

Below is a list of the structures included in the WHS site Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar and Dessau:

  • ADGB School in Bernau
  • Laubenganghäuser – Dessau
  • Main building of the Weimar Academy for Architecture and Building Arts – University Weimar, Geschwister-Scholl-Strasse 8
  • The Bauhaus Dessau, Gropiusallee 3
  • The Haus am Horn
  • The Masters’ Houses Dessau, Ebertallee 63,65, 67,69,71
  • The Van-de-Velde building of the Academy for Architecture and Building Arts -University Weimar, Geschwister-Scholl-Strasse 7

Bauhaus Today

Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar and Dessau

It has been over 7 decades since the Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar and Dessau were recognized by UNESCO from the time that the schools were established. Today, majority of the original buildings within this protected area has survived, along with the museums and exhibitions that depict the prominence of the Bauhaus movement in Germany. Even though it has been many decades since the Bauhaus movement was innovated, it still remains fresh and modern by today’s standard. The decision by UNESCO to name this site of cultural heritage is therefore important until today because the school’s idea of establishing a “new architecture” set the standard for architecture that would last even for nearly a century after it was established.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

UNESCO World Heritage Site #161: Classical Weimar

UNESCO World Heritage Site #161: Classical Weimar
UNESCO World Heritage Site #161: Classical Weimar

From the World Heritage inscription:

The high artistic quality of the public and private buildings and parks in and around the town testify to the remarkable cultural flowering of the Weimar classical period. Enlightened ducal patronage attracted many of the leading writers and thinkers in Germany, such as Goethe, Schiller and Herder, to Weimar in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, making it the cultural centre of the Europe of the day.

Weimar became the capital of the Duchy of Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach in 1572. For many years the painter Lucas Cranach the Elder worked in Weimar, where he died in 1553. This marked the start of a long period of growing cultural importance in which many painters, writers, poets, and philosopher lived in the city – Johann Sebastian Bach, Christoph Martin Wieland, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Johann Gottfried Herder, Friedrich Schiller, Franz Liszt, Henry van de Velde, and Walter Gropius.

You have probably heard of Weimar from the “Weimar Republic”, the name given to the German government between WWI and WWII. What you probably didn’t know is how this small city of 44,000 people played such an important part in German culture.

Weimar was the home to three of Germany’s greatest authors: Goethe, Schiller and Herder. Composers JS Bach and Franz List lived in Weimar for a time as did architect Walter Gropius, the founder of the Bauhaus School. Martin Luther preached here and reformation artist Lucas Cranach died here.


Classical Weimar

Classical Weimar is one of the cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Germany. This property is located in Weimar and consists of several sites. These multiple structures earned the nod from UNESCO as they are linked to the artistic and cultural landscape of the city. These sites are therefore renowned for their artistic quality. Most of the structures that are included in this UNESCO site were built during the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Classical Weimar was added to the list of UNESCO sites in Germany in 1998. It also reflects the period wherein East Germany served as the cultural center of Europe.

About Classical Weimar

The Classical Weimar UNESCO site consists of multiple structures that are located within Weimar, Germany. These structures are as follows:

Classical Weimar

Goethe’s House: This historic structure is considered part of the Classical Weimar protected area as it is the home of famous German writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. This home features Baroque style architecture and was constructed in the early 18th century.

Schiller’s House: This is another Baroque-style home that was included in this UNESCO protected area in Weimar, Germany. Built in 1777, this is the home of Johann Christopher Friedrich von Schiller. He is a German poet, philosopher, playwright and historian.

City Church, Herder House, and Old High School: This site alone consists of three separate structures including a three-aisled hall church that contains the altar triptych by Lucas Cranach the Elder, a 3-storey Herder House built during the mid-1500s, and the Old High School that also features a Baroque architectural style.

City Castle: This is another structure that belongs to the Classical Weimar ensemble. This castle is an imposing four-winged building that encloses a large courtyard. The interior decorations and furnishings feature a classical style.

The Dowager’s Palace: At the height of classical Weimar, this palace served as the center of intellectual life. This palace is made up of two- and three-storey buildings that feature Baroque style architecture. These buildings enclose a large courtyard.

The Duchess Anna Amalia Library: In 1761, the renaissance “Little French Castle” was converted into a library. This was through the initiative of Duchess Anna Amalia and was managed by the State Architect.

Classical Weimar

The Princes’ Tomb and the Historic Cemetery: It was Grand Duke Carl August who commissioned that a family tomb would be constructed. This tomb was constructed in 1823. Aside from the Duke’s family, the ones from the Goethe and Schiller clan were also buried within this mausoleum.

The Park on the Ilm with the Roman House, Goethe’s Garden, and Garden House: This site is located at the southern portion of the town in the midst of the valley wherein Ilm flows through. The Roman House and the Goethe’s Garden are two main features in the area.

Belvedere Castle, Orangery and Park: This is a two-storey Baroque castle that is one of the many structures that belong to the Classical Weimar ensemble. The castle features a central section that is square in plan. It also comes with a small tower. Meanwhile, the Orangey features a U-shaped plan that features the head gardener’s house in the center of it all.

Tiefurt Castle and Park: This two-storey Baroque building is linked to a former farm building using a wooden frame. Within the park, there are various other structures including buildings and memorials.

Ettersburg Castle and Park: This is an old castle that is made up of three wings and a spacious courtyard. The park within the castle is small is located next to a forest.

The above photo is of Goethe’s home in Weimar.

It is an amazingly remarkable city considering its size.

This was the sixth stop on my November 2011 Eurail trip of UNESCO sites in Europe

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

UNESCO World Heritage Site #160: Wartburg Castle

UNESCO World Heritage Site #160: Wartburg Castle
UNESCO World Heritage Site #160: Wartburg Castle

From the World heritage inscription:

The Castle of Wartburg is an outstanding monument of the feudal period in central Europe. It is rich in cultural associations, most notably its role as the place of exile of Martin Luther, who composed his German translation of the New Testament there. It is also a powerful symbol of German integration and unity.

The legendary creation of the castle is attributed to Count Ludwig der Springer. The first steps in its construction were taken in 1067, and it became one of the key points in the early years of Ludovician sovereignty. This sovereignty grew more firmly established during the first half of the 12th century. Raised to the dignity of Landgraves, the Ludovicians supported the policies of the Stauffen emperors. The building of the palace in the second half of the 12th century illustrates their status as Princes of the Empire. In 1227 Heinrich Raspe IV, the brother of Ludwig IV, succeeded him and, espousing the pope’s cause, was appointed King of Germany on the initiative of Innocent IV. His death in 1247 ended the Ludovician dynasty.

Wartburg Castle seems to be a crossroad for much of German history. It was important in medieval German history as a fortification of the Ludovicians, it was where Martin Luther hid and translated the Bible into German, it was important in the 19th Century unification of Germany, and Wagner used it as the backdrop for his opera: Tannhäuser.

If you arrive in Eisenach by train, you will probably need to take a taxi to get to Wartburg Castle. It is less than a 10 minute trip, but it is located on the top of a small mountain and is a fair walk from the train station.


Wartburg Castle

Wartburg Castle is a castle in Eisenach, Germany. It was built during the Middle Ages atop a rock plateau that rises to 410 meters above ground in the midst of the Thuringian Forest. It was recognized as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Germany in 1999 under the Cultural category. The castle was constructed in 1067 and was renovated during the 19th and 20th centuries.

This castle is notable because it is the former home of St. Elisabeth of Hungary. It was also the place where Martin Luther translated the Bible’s New Testament into the German version, as well as the site of the 1817 Wartburg Festival. Some even claim that this castle served as a point of inspiration for Ludwig II for the construction of Germany’s other famous castle – Neuschwanstein Castle. This castle is the second most visited tourist destination in Thuringia, only Weimar being more popular with tourists.

About Wartburg Castle

Wartburg Castle

There are many speculations about the origin of the name for Wartburg Castle. Some claim that it is derived from a German word ‘Warte’, which means watchtower. It could also be that the name of the castle is a word play of a German word Berg that means mountain or Burg that means fortress. Wartburg Castle has also earned the reputation of being the most German out of all castles in Germany.

In 1067, the foundation for building the Wartburg Castle was laid out. The castle therefore has a thousand-year-old history. But the earliest record of the castle’s history only started in 1080 after the castle was mentioned in Bishop of Merseburg’s writings. By 1155, the actual construction of the castle was officially started.

The Wartburg Castle is historically known for its link to the German church reformer Martin Luther. Luther sought refuge in this castle in 1521 following his excommunication by the pope. He was also outlawed by the Emperor after his 95 Theses undermined the Catholic doctrine. For several months, Martin Luther was in hiding at the castle. He used this time to translate the New Testament (from the original Greek text) to German. To this day, Martin Luther’s translation serves as the basis for the modern Bible for the Germans. Today, visitors of Wartburg Castle like to visit the parlor where Luther spent most of his time writing the translation.

Over two decades later, famous German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe stayed at the castle. For his five-week stay, he explored the idyllic landscape of the forest in which the castle was built in. He also drew images of the castle during that time, which helped to preserve the images of the now-deteriorated castle.

For many centuries, the castle fell into ruins and disuse. An extensive reconstruction was started in the mid-1950s to restore its Romanesque style. There is also a museum on the castle ground that exhibits art treasures, medieval musical instruments, silverware, and tapestries.

Tips for Visiting

Wartburg Castle

Below are important information about Wartburg Castle you need to know during your visit:

  • To visit the Wartburg Castle, you must endure a long climb uphill. Children are allowed to ride donkeys up the hill.
  • From the Wartburg Castle, you can enjoy amazing views of the Thurigian forest landscape. Don’t forget to enjoy this view!
  • It is free to roam and explore the castle grounds. This is a great view to examine the architecture up-close.
  • There are guided tours inside the castle. It costs 9 Euros for adults and these guided tours are in English. The museum is also open for visitors. It costs 5 Euros.
  • Some of the highlights inside the castle include Martin Luther’s study, Residence of the Counts, Elizabeth’s Boudoir, Landgrave’s Hall, Troubdours’ Hall, and the Banquet Hall.

This was the fifth stop on my November 2011 Eurail trip of European UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Cologne Cathedral

UNESCO World Heritage Site #159: Cologne Cathedral
UNESCO World Heritage Site #159: Cologne Cathedral

From the World Heritage inscription:

Cologne Cathedral, constructed over more than six centuries, has an exceptional intrinsic value and contains artistic masterpieces. It is a powerful testimony to the strength and persistence of Christian belief in medieval and modern Europe.

Christians met for worship in a private house in Roman Cologne near the city wall. Following the Edict of Milan in 313, when Constantine proclaimed religious freedom, this building was enlarged as a church. Alongside it were an atrium, a baptistry and a dwelling-house, possibly for the bishop. This modest ensemble was extended and enlarged in the following centuries. This immense building, known by the 13th century as ‘the mother and master of all churches in Germany’, was consecrated in September 70.

Post-Second World War excavations, as well as contemporary documents, provide evidence of its form and decoration – a basilica, with a central nave flanked by two aisles and a large atrium in front of its western facade. A two-storeyed Chapel of the Palatinate, in the style of Charlemagne’s chapel in Aachen, was added to the south transept at the beginning of the 11th century, and later that century it was connected by two lofty arcades at the east end with the Collegiate Church of St Mary ad Gradus.

The Cologne Cathedral is one of the most iconic symbols in all of Germany and certainly the most well known important religious building in the country. It towers above the city of Cologne as one of the largest and most important gothic cathedrals ever built.

The moment you walk out of the Cologne Central Train Station you are immediately struck by the enormity of the cathedral staring at you. The fact that it is on a hill and the train station is situated below it only adds to the effect.

Thankfully, the cathedral escaped any serious damage in WWII. It has been in a state of almost constant renovation ever since.

The cathedral was originally built as a resting place for the remains of the three wise men who were stolen from the cathedral in Milan. Today, the city flag of Cologne has three crowns on it, representing the three wise men. The reliquary of their bones in the the back of the church behind the altar.

This was the fourth stop in my November 2011 Eurail trip of UNESCO sites in Europe.


Cologne Cathedral

Cologne Cathedral is a Roman Catholic Church located in Cologne, Germany. To this day, this cathedral is still in use. It is a cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site in Germany that was inscribed in 1996. In 2004 to 2006, it was listed as among the World Heritage Sites in Danger.

The cathedral features a Gothic architectural style. The construction for the Cologne Cathedral started in the mid-13th century. It was again re-constructed in the 1840s to the 1880s. A final period of restoration was done on the church in the 1950s to 2005. This cathedral serves as the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and is considered a monument of German Catholicism, as well as that of the Gothic architecture. On top of that, this cathedral is the most visited landmark in Germany with about 20,000 tourist visits per day.

About Cologne Cathedral

Cologne Cathedral

The architectural design of the Cologne Cathedral was loosely based on the Amiens Cathedral. The plan for the cathedral follows the shape of a Latin Cross, which is typical of Gothic churches. This cathedral features one of the highest Gothic vaults there is, which is why there are two aisles located on either side of the cathedral to provide additional support. The nave for the Cologne Cathedral features 19th century stained glass windows. And on the outside, the cathedral is dominated by huge spires that are highly Germanic in character.

Aside from the unique architectural details of the church, the treasures contained inside of it are part of the many reasons why it is considered of cultural heritage value. The High Altar is one of the many treasures within this Gothic church. This altar was put into the church in 1322. The altar is made out of black marble and a solid slab that forms the top. The sides and front of the altar feature white marble niches. The Coronation of the Virgin figure is located at the center.

There are also many celebrated artworks within the church. One of the most celebrated of these artworks is the Shrine of the Three Kings. This was built from 1167 to 1191 by Nicholas of Verdun. Another notable work of art inside the church is the Gero-Kreuz. This is a large crucifix that is made from oak while featuring traces of paint and gliding. It is believed to be the earliest large free-standing sculpture from the medieval period. It is also the largest and oldest crucifix located north of the Alps.

Fun Facts

Cologne Cathedral

Here are some more fun facts you need to know about the Cologne Cathedral in Germany:

  • This cathedral can be seen from nearly any point in the city center of Cologne.
  • It is the second highest building in Cologne.
  • It can accommodate up to 20,000 people.
  • In 2004, it was listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Danger due to plans of constructing high-rise buildings nearby. These plans threatened the heritage value of the cathedral. In 2006, it was removed from the list after the limit to the height of the construction was set.
  • Not only is Cologne Cathedral a UNESCO site, it is also one of Germany’s major tourist attractions. Many of those who travel to this site are on a Christian pilgrimage. In addition, visitors who come to the cathedral climb the 533 stone steps leading up to the spiral staircase and onto a viewing platform. This platform is located 100 meters above ground.
  • As of 2017, bags are banned inside the cathedral following the recent terrorist attacks in Europe. Visitors who carry bags are not allowed to enter the cathedral.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Germany.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The Sour Toe Cocktail Club

Drink it fast or drink it slow, your lips must touch the toe – Recited before entry into the club

I carry only a few things in my wallet: a credit card, my drivers license and some of my frequent flyer cards. There is one other thing I carry with me. Something that I’m extremely proud of and which puts me in an elite group of people, so small that less than 0.0005% of the world’s population can claim membership. Continue reading “The Sour Toe Cocktail Club”

UNESCO World Heritage Site #158: Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust

UNESCO World Heritage Site #158: Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust
UNESCO World Heritage Site #158: Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust

From the World Heritage inscription:

Augustusburg and Falkenlust present the first important creations of the Rococo style in Germany. For more than a century, they served as models for most of the princely courts. Like the Residence of Würzburg, the castles and gardens are outstanding examples of the large princely residence of the 18th century.

Set in an idyllic garden landscape, Augustusburg Castle, the sumptuous residence of the prince-archbishops of Cologne, and the Falkenlust hunting lodge, a small rural folly, are among the earliest examples of Rococo architecture in 18th-century Germany.

A Rococo masterpiece, the castle of Augustusburg is directly linked to the great European architecture of the first half of the 18th century. In 1715, Josef-Clemens of Bavaria, Prince-Elector of Cologne, planned to construct a large residence at Brühl, on the foundations of a medieval castle. He consulted a French architect, Robert de Cotte, who sent the plans. However, this project was not immediately followed up and Prince-Elector Clemens-August, who was less francophile than his father, rejected de Cotte’s proposals and in 1725 called on a Westphalian architect, Johann Conrad Schlaun, to build the castle that was to carry his name.

My first impression of the Augustusburg Palace was that it was a smaller version of Versailles or of Schönbrunn Palace. That is in fact what it is. The palace was built as the summer residence of Clemens-August. He was one of the seven prince-electors in the Holy Roman Empire and the archbishop of Cologne. He also had 3 other bishop positions as well as being the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order. Needless to say he had a lot of money.

The high point of the palace is the grand staircase which was designed to give an amazing first impression to visitors of the palace.

Visiting the palace from Cologne is very simple. Just take any train to Brühl. It is about a 15 minute ride from the Cologne Central train station (Köln Hauptbahnhof or Hbf). When you walk out of the Brühl train station you will immediately see the palace. Its driveway ends at the train station.

This was the third stop on my November 2011 Eurail pass trip in Europe.


Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust

The Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust is a cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site in Germany. It was inscribed into the list in 1984. Both of these castles are located in the city of Bruhl in Germany. They are considered masterpieces of the rococo architectural style. Both of these castles were built in the 18th century for Clemens August, who was the archbishop of Cologne during that time.

The construction of the Augustus Castle was started in 1725. It was Johann Conrad Schlaun that was initially tapped as the architect for this project. However, Clemens August wanted a more modern style for the castles to be built. Three years later, Francois Cuvillies was chosen to work on this project. Several other artists helped him to transform the castle into what it is now. In particular, Balthasar Neumann is responsible for the design of the marble staircase that the Augustus Castle is famous for.

Meanwhile, the Falkenlust Castle is a hunting castle. Aside from Cuvillies, Architect Leveilly also helped out in the design of this castle.

About Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust

Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust

The town of Bruhl is located near Cologne, Germany. The main block of the Augustus Palace features a U-shaped building. This building consists of three storeys and two-level attics. As mentioned above, the staircase at the Augustus Castle is one of its most compelling features. This was specifically designed for by Clemens August in order to impress the visitors to this castle.

The gardens of the Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust are also notable. In particular, the gardens and park in the Augustus Castle were designed to be somewhat similar in style as the Versailles Palace in France. An elaborate flower garden was built south of the palace. This garden, however, was reconstructed in the 19th century by Peter Joseph Lenne. It was then that he turned the flower garden into a landscaped garden.

Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust

Another component of this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the Falkenlust hunting lodge. Aside from building castles, another one of Clemens August’s favorite hobbies include hunting. This lodge was built from 1729 to 1740. The style of this hunting lodge was patterned after the Amalienburg hunting lodge. Following the Second World War and until 1994, the Augustus Castle was used as a reception hall for guests by the German President.

Both of these castles are neither the most beautiful nor the most famous castles in Germany. Nonetheless, they earn the distinction for their influence in the creation of other princely courts that followed it. This is true in terms of the grandeur in style and the interior design of both castles. Hence, they are a must-visit in Germany for those interested in architecture and history. There are guided tours provided for the Augustus Castle but Falkenlust is available to be explored by anyone who wishes to do so.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Germany.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Rietveld Schröder House

UNESCO World Heritage Site #157: Rietveld Schröder House
Rietveld Schröder House: My 157th UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription for the Rietveld Schröder House:

With its radical approach to design and the use of space, the Rietveld is an icon of the Modern Movement in architecture and an outstanding expression of human creative genius in its purity of ideas and concepts as developed by the De Stijl movement. It occupies a seminal position in the development of architecture in the modern age.

It was commissioned by Mrs. Truus Schröder-Schräder, designed by the architect Gerrit Thomas Rietveld (1888-1965), and built in 1924. Mrs. Schröder lived in the house for some 60 years, first with her children, then in the company of Rietveld, and finally alone. In the early years, until 1932, Rietveld kept a studio in the house; from 1958, after his wife died, he came to live there until his death. During this long period, some changes were made in the interior, resulting partly from the needs of the inhabitants, partly from the experimental character of the building itself. The building is now a museum.

This is easily the smallest World Heritage site I have ever visited.

The Rietveld Schröder House is really just a small family home located in a neighborhood in Utrecht. Like many of the architectural World Heritage sites, it will probably be most interesting for students of architecture and design.

What makes the house interesting is how everything in the home seems to have dual usages or can be transformed into something else. Walls fold away, window coverings become wall furnishings, couches become beds and doors disappear.

The Rietveld Schröder House is not in the center of Utrecht. It requires a 15-20 minute walk from the center of town. A better option is to visit the Utrecht Centraal Museum (who operates the house) and rent a bike for the trip. They will provide you with maps to show you the route.

Entrance to the house is €12. Photography is not allowed inside and you can only enter on a guided tour.


Rietveld Schröderhuis (Rietveld Schröder House)

The Rietveld Schröder House is a cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site that was inscribed in 2000. This property was added in the 24th session of UNESCO. This architectural structure joins the canals of Amsterdam as a UNESCO property in The Netherlands. It is located in Utrecht and is the best example of the De Stijl architectural style. It was designed by Architect Gerrit Rietveld and was completed in 1924. He was commissioned by widow Truus Schroder. Hence, the architectural structure was named after these two.

Aside from being recognized by UNESCO, the property is also a listed monument in the Netherlands since 1976.

About Rietveld Schroderhuis

The Rietveld Schröder House is considered as the perfect example of the De Stijl architecture. This architectural style is notable for its use of seamless transitions from the outside to the inside. This is achieved through breaking open any closed walls. Another basic principle of the De Stijl architecture is its use of the primary colors such as red, yellow, white, grey, black and blue. Hence, the color alone is a distinctive feature of this art movement.

The façade of this house features prominently the use of lines and planes. These components were specifically chosen to stay true to the characteristics of the De Stijl architecture since they are purposely detached from one another. This also made it easier to add several balconies throughout the house.

Rietveld Schröderhuis (Rietveld Schröder House)

Truus Schroder, who commissioned the building of this house, was highly involved in choosing the location and design. She emphasized soberness in the design such that the house is characterized by its bright and large living area. Over the years, there were various adjustments done to the design of the building. However, the house was restored after Schroder’s death in 1985 to its original state. The architectural style of the house is not the sole highlight of this property. The same is true for the furniture by Rietveld including the famous red-blue chair and zigzag chair. There is also little distinction between the interior and exterior space; they seem to flow naturally from one space to another.

During the initial plan for the house, Schroder wanted to build the house out of concrete. But since it was expensive to do so, the house was built using mostly plaster and brick. Only the balconies and foundation were constructed using concrete.

Practical Information

If you plan to visit the Rietveld Schröder House in Utrecht, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • There is limited space within Rietveld Schröder House. Hence, advance booking is required for anyone who wishes to visit this UNESCO site. Tickets are available for purchase online.
  • If you buy tickets to Rietveld Schröder House, you can also be admitted to the Centraal Museum on the same day.
  • The UNESCO site is currently not accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
  • It is open daily from 11 AM to 5 PM.
  • The house was honored through the issuance of two euro coins depicting this UNESCO site. These coins were minted since 2013.

View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in The Netherlands.

View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

Last updated: Aug 25, 2017 @ 5:32 pm

7 Things This World Traveler is Thankful For

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States today, and while you can take the boy out of America, you can’t take the American out of the boy. So in that spirit I thought I’d list the things I’m thankful for this year.

Air Travel – Given how much we complain about airlines and airports it might seem odd to be thankful for air travel, but I am. We often forget how easy it is to travel nowadays. In real terms, the cost of air travel is as cheap as it has ever been. The notion of a “jet set” which is a rich elite who can afford to fly is passe. Today, almost anyone who saves their money can fly to almost any corner of the world. If it wasn’t for the advances in air transportation, world travel would be much more difficult.
Continue reading “7 Things This World Traveler is Thankful For”