7x photogenic architecture in Hilversum
Did you know that Hilversum is known for its architecture by Dudok. Nowhere else in the Netherlands is home to so many monumental buildings and schools by the renowned architect. That is exceptional, because he used a wide range of styles. From the decorative Amsterdam School, to the simplicity of New Objectivity. Rent an OV-fiets and take a bike tour of Dudok's architectural highlights and works by many other famous architects, such as Jan Duiker.
1. A world of multicoloured glass at museum Beeld & Geluid.
Just around the corner from the Netherlands' main television studios, you can find the media institute Beeld & Geluid. The building alone is impressive due to its size, shape and the thousands of colourful surfaces! So colourful, in fact, that locals refer to it as the 'snoeptrommel' (candy jar, in English). But did you know that it was designed by Jaap Drupsteen, who was also responsible for Dutch passports and guilder bills? Once you step inside, you'll be astonished by the view up to the glass roof, 26 meters above you. But then you look down into the 16-meter-deep canyon. The magnificent light effect, the various perspectives and the robust architecture make it worthwhile to keep your camera handy. Inside the museum, you'll discover interactive installations, learn how to tell real news from fake, and find out what it's like to be an influencer (for a brief moment, at least). The enormous screens throughout the building portray icons and images from Dutch television history.
Beeld & Geluid is just a few minutes' walk from Hilversum Media Park station.
- Open Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 17:00.
- Admission: € 19.50 for adults, € 12.50 for children aged 8 to 17, and free for children aged 7 and under and Museumkaart holders.
Media Parkboulevard 1, beeldengeluid.nl
2. Award-winning architecture at Parc Restaurant
Would you like to dine in an idyllic location surrounded by greenery, with a view of world-class architecture? Then we would definitely recommend you visit Parc Restaurant. The restaurant is housed in a beautiful glass pavillion in the Oude Haven, and has been honoured with the HIlversum Architecture Award for its iconic turret design. And it's located right on top of Dudok's Sand and Salt Bunker, which once served as a storage facility for winter road grit, as well as an air raid shelter in emergencies. In nice weather, the terrace is the ideal place to sit and admire the structure. And when you add the irresistable French dishes, that look like architectural masterpieces themselves, it makes the experience even more worthwhile.
From Hilversum Media Park, you can get there in 20 minutes on foot, or just 7 minutes with an OV-fiets.
- Lunch costs an average of € 15 p.p. and you can expect to pay € 44 p.p. for a 3-course dinner.
Havenstraat 58, restaurant-parc.nl
3. Iconic building flooded with natural light at Zonnestraal Estate
A visit to Zonnestraal Estate is a perfect getaway from the city crowds. The estate once served as a sanatorium for the treatment of tuberculosis patients. Today, these monumental white-and-blue buildings, with their clean lines, turrets and bright natural light are some of the most attractive architecture in Hilversum. You can even visit one of the old patient rooms! All of the buildings at Zonnestraal were designed by Jan Duiker and Bernard Bijvoet in the 1920s. They are renowned for their clean and functional construction, which offers plenty of space and natural light. In pavilion 'Het Dresselhuys', you can sit down at the contemporary brasserie to enjoy hearty sandwiches, traditional German flammkuchen and salads. Tours of the estate are organised every last Sunday of the month. But you can also stroll around yourself, because the 120 hectares of forests and moors are the perfect place for a pleasant hike.
The estate is a 15-minute bike ride from Hilversum station with an OV-fiets.
- Zonnestraal building is open Monday to Friday from 09:00 - 17:00, and the estate grounds are always open to visitors.
- The 90-minute tour costs € 8 per person.
Loosdrechtse Bos 19 (Brasserie), brasserie-zonnestraal.nl and zonnestraal.nl
4. Jumping around in a former church at Flight Deck 53
In 2018, the Sint Clemenskerk transformed from a house of Roman Catholic worship to a gigantic playground paradise. The building is worth a visit simply to see the spacious nave, the colourful arches and the gilded ornaments. But you'll be struck by the contrast with the trampoline and free running park at ground level, where children can get rid of their excess energy on the trampolines or learn impressive tricks during the lessons organised throughout the week. Admire the view of the decorative chestnut brown-and white arches, the tall stained glass windows and the paintings by Max Weiss, which have remained intact since the early 20th century. It's sure to be an unforgettable experience for everyone.
From Hilversum Sportpark station, you can get there in 20 minutes on foot, or just 5 minutes with an OV-fiets.
- Open Monday to Friday from 10:00 - 19:00.
- Admission prices start at € 12.50 per hour. No reservations necessary.
Bosdrift 53, flightdeck53.com
5. Admire Pierre Cuyper's ornate Sint-Vituskerk
One of the largest, tallest and most impressive churches in the Netherlands is located just outside Hilversum city centre. The Sint-Vituskerk is reaches 98 meters into the sky, and is simply bombastic inside and out. The 19th-century church designed by architect Pierre Cuypers is entirely in the Neo-Gothic style. So you can expect stately towers, ornate pointed arches, marble columns and plenty of intricate stained glass windows. The sight is sure to spark a mystical experience. If you'd like a view from a higher plane, come back on Open Monument Day, when visitors are allowed to climb the tower.
The church is less than 10 minutes from Hilversum station on foot.
Emmastraat 5, vitus.nl
6. Visit Dudok's monumental and world-renowned City Hall
If you want to see Willem Marinus Dudok's absolute best work in Hilversum, then all you need to do is walk to the City Hall. At first glance, the building's size, colour and asymmetrical form might remind one of the Kunstmuseum in The Hague. The style is a combination of the abstraction of New Objectivity and the decorative expressionism of the Amsterdam School. Boring? It's anything but! Take a guided tour and discover the beauty of Dudok's architecture, from the wedding hall to the view from the 47-meter tower. The building also regularly hosts exhibitions and classical music concerts.
You can walk from Hilversum station to City Hall in around 15 minutes, or you can rent an OV-fiets and be there in just 5 minutes.
- The exhibition hall is open Thursday to Sunday from 12:00 - 16:00, and starting from 1 April on Wednesday from 14:30 - 17:00.
- Tours start at 13:30 from Thursday to Sunday. But don't forget to sign up in advance!
- Tour tickets cost € 11.50 for adults, € 7.50 for children aged 13-18, and free for children aged 12 and under.
Dudokpark 1, dudokarchitectuurcentrum.nl
7. Take a bike tour along Dudok's multifaceted school buildings
A summer day is a perfect time for a walk or a bike tour on an OV-fiets along Dudok's many school buildings in Hilversum. The architect designed the schools in the early 20th century, when the Compulsory Education Act went into effect and the city's school-aged population exploded. The special map will help you spot all 19 of Dudok's school buildings. Each one of them displays his typical expressionist architectural style. But you'll still be surprised by the contrasts in forms, colours and building materials. The Vondelschool, for example, features an ornate arched entrance, and the Rembrandtschool is noteworthy for its interplay of lines.
- The school tour start point is a 12-minute walk from Hilversum station, or a 5-minute ride with an OV-fiets.
- You can follow the route on your own, or take a guided tour for € 14 per person.
Neuweg 31, dudokarchitectuurcentrum.nl
Copy: Rosa Lee Szarzynski - Insiders
Image: Daria Scagliola, Stijn Brakkee, Flightdeck 53, Landgoed Zonnestraal, Live Hilversum, H. Fölmi, Restaurant Parc, Dudokpark Architectuur Centrum