Practicing in the Netherlands

About Architecture in the Netherlands

The Netherlands have a strong tradition in infrastructure and building in the densely populated country. Learn more on Dutch Architecture and how to practice in the Netherlands.

Delft City Hall and Train Station

Well-known Dutch architects include Rem Koolhaas, Herman Hertzberger, Wim Quist, Gerrit Rietveld and H.P. Berlage. Dutch architecture is widely covered by international print and online magazines. Dezeen e.g. offers selection of articles upon country. Download the list of links to periodicals issued in the Netherlands, either in Dutch or English.

The Dutch government has set up an Effective Spatial Design Action Agenda for 2017 – 2020 to work on the strength of design together. Download the information on this Action Agenda

Learn more on past and present Dutch architecture:

Highlights from the Lowlands
Bouwend Nederland (Building Holland) has released a video to introduce the Dutch building sector internationally. The video, in English, introduces highlights from the building industry. It shows the strong tradition in infrastructure and building in the densely populated country. Learn more about the dangers of water and wind, and how the Dutch developed protection against it. And finally, see Dutch cultural heritage, and the perspectives leading to the future.

Architectural policy in the Netherlands
Policy and rulings in the area of spatial planning have important consequences for the architectural profession. The most important ministries making architectural policy are the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW), the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment is committed to improving quality of life, access and mobility in a clean, safe and sustainable environment.

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is working on a smart, skilled and creative Netherlands. Strengthening the role of designers and excellent ‘private patronage’ take a prominent place on their agenda. The Ministry also is important because it provides money to subsidy funds and architectural organizations.

Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and architectural policy
The Minister for Housing and the Central Government Sector is one of the two Ministers of the Ministry. Housing and Building is a part of the ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and architectural policy. The minister deals with the quality of housing and other buildings and that creates conditions for a proper functioning of the housing market.
State Architect
The Government architect is the first advisor of the National Real Estate Company, which is part of the Ministry of the Interior. The Government architect is the president of the Board of Government Advisors (CRa), of which the Government Advisor for Environment and Water, and the Government Advisor for Infrastructure and City are part. He promotes and monitors the quality of architectural and urban planning and landscaping.
Building Decree
Anyone who is (re) building must comply with the Building Regulations. In this Decree the minimum technical requirements for the construction, safety, health, energy and the environment.
External Appearance
Any building plan that an architect makes has its external appearance, or ‘welstand’, assessed. The national government sets out the guidelines and the municipalities are responsible for the final outcome.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs promotes a sustainable, enterprising Netherlands. This ministry is responsible for the Public Procurement Law and the business climate. It is also engaged in the Environment Act which should simplify the process of building projects from 2021. Till then the Crisis and Recovery Act (Chw) already makes this possible, for example by adjusting existing rules.

Do you have any questions or remarks? Contact me
Caroline Gentner Coordinator Internationalisation