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Dutch Architecture 1920–1940

THE VAN ABBEMUSEUM IN Eindhoven, Holland recently organized a show called “Bouwen 2040,” which stirred up considerable public interest. The exhibition covers only a short period of modern Dutch architectural history, but this period is an extremely intense and interesting one. 1940 was not an abrupt ending—architecturally speaking—of a fight for a new style. The influence of conservative architects had been increasing ever since the early ’30s. Politically it was a break: Holland entered World War II. Nothing of similar significance happened in 1920. However, for an understanding of the intellectual climate and the sociopolitical context, one must start a few years earlier.

Holland was neutral during World War I. Many Dutch artists returned to their homeland in 1914. The contacts which Theo van Doesburg had during the following years led to the foundation of the group de Stijl. The original

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