On the edge of Museumpark, behind the luxurious Bilderberg Parkhotel Rotterdam, stands the villa that Albertus Hendrikus Sonneveld and his wife Gesine Sonneveld-Bos built. Until his retirement in 1950, Sonneveld was a member of the management of the Rotterdam Van Nelle Factory, a manufacturer of shag, coffee and tea. In 1933, the builders completed House Sonneveld. Together with his wife and architectural firm Brinkman & Van der Vlugt, Sonneveld chose to have the house built according to the architectural style of Het Nieuwe Bouwen(New Way of Building). Essential characteristics of this architectural style are sobriety, functionality and lots of light. In the Museumpark there are still five villas built according to this architectural style, and the Van Nelle Factory in Delfshaven was also built according to the same architectural style a few years earlier.
Sonneveld House Rotterdam
Sonneveld House is probably the most authentic of the houses designed and built in the style of Het Nieuwe Bouwen. The Museum House, which has been open to the public since 2001, has been a protected national monument since 1986. You’ll marvel at all the ‘modern’ gadgets in the house, such as a home telephone, an elevator and even an electric coffee grinder, all things you won’t find in the average houses from the thirties. The Gispen company was responsible for the interior. Due to an earlier restoration, the house as it is today looks almost identical to the one the Sonneveld family moved into in 1933.
The owner of the house is the Nieuw Instituut, on the other side of the Jongkindtstraat. The archive of Dutch Architecture and Urbanism is also managed there. The extensive information in the Architecture archive has made it possible to restore the Museum House to its original state. A large part of the interior and the utensils are 100% authentic because the heirs of Sonneveld gave them on loan to the Nieuwe Instituut. Many of the works of art in the house are not original but are products from the thirties.
What else is there to see around House Sonneveld?
Of course, the caretakers of the house will do their utmost to keep this house as authentic as possible. Some rules when entering the house are that you have to wear slippers over your shoes and that you are not allowed to touch objects. Fortunately, you can open cabinets and doors.