Wealthy citizens built the first social housing in the Netherlands. This gave them respect in society, or they believed they could ‘buy’ a place in heaven. Around 1850 the first housing association was founded and in the 1900s the Dutch government dominated this industry with the adoption of a law. After that, the construction of social housing increased explosively. Architect Jacobus Johannes Pieter Oud joined the Municipal Housing Service in Rotterdam in 1918. In that period, as a result of urbanisation, there was a high demand for affordable working-class housing. He mainly works on social housing projects.
In 1925 Oud designs the last residential centre during his employment at the Municipal Housing Department. The construction lasted from 1928 to 1930. It became impressive houses in which workers were allowed to move in with their families. With this design, Oud becomes known beyond the borders as a modern architect. To this day, people still appreciate his work. The housing block, De Kiefhoek, is located in Bloemhof Rotterdam and has more than 300 houses. In 1978 the complex was demolished and later reconstructed between 1989 and 1995 after it turned out that renovation was not possible for technical reasons.
Kiefhoek Museum House
In 1990 the houses were completed again. The design of the complex is so historic that one dwelling in its original state is furnished as a museum. Around the museum house, various neighbourhood organisations make the residential area a pleasant area to live. The residents are intimately involved with quality of life and safety.
This Kiefhoek Museum House can only be visited with a guide. The guide shows you that there are different living spaces, identical. They consist of two floors. In the upstairs room, there are three bedrooms, and in the downstairs room, you can see the first designed living room, kitchen and toilet. Both floors are fully furnished in the style of the original houses. In the museum house, you will experience the living environment of the working-class families from the last century. They often lived under miserable conditions, but with social housing projects, the government tried to improve them.
In the area around the Kiefhoek Museum Dwelling
The district also has two neighbourhood shops, a church and two playgrounds. The church and the shops are in almost the same style. The residential centre is very striking in the area because it is one of a kind. The neighbourhood is also on the list of the Union of International Architects. On this list are a thousand essential buildings from the 19th century. After a visit to the museum house, you will get to see the rest of the neighbourhood and the guide will tell you all about the architectural styles.