what you can do, if the sun will still show up
Are you the type of person who likes outdoor activities but enjoys visiting museums as well? Do you hesitate between catching the last rays of the sun or educating yourself? Well, the good news is that you can kill two birds with one stone.
You might have already come across one of the tourist attractions in Utrecht – on one of the streets in the suburbs, behind a row of trees growing along the road, there appears an architectural anomaly that breaks the monotony of other houses. It is a building listed as a UNESCO World Heritage, even though it does not resemble the brick ‘gingerbread houses’, which we admire in the center.
Rietveld’s house, also known as villa Schrőder, is one of the most important buildings in the history of architecture. Although viewed from today’s perspective does not shock anyone too much (just another modern building they might say), for people in 1924 it was a total breakthrough from traditional, narrow brick buildings they were used to live in. The history of this house begins when 35-year-old Truus Schröder lost her husband and remained alone with three children. The new apartment and new life that she wanted to create was to embody her independent lifestyle and break with conventions, also in social life. The woman was sincerely interested in contemporary art of that time and followed its development. That is why she decided to hire an avant-garde designer – Gerrit Rietveld. He came up with many clever functional solutions, and the house itself … well, doesn’t it resemble one of the paintings we often see on mugs or T-shirts?
The designer was one of the representatives of the De Stijl group – a Dutch artistic movement started in 1917. They rejected traditional decorations, focused on geometric forms and used only basic colors, which is why Mrs. Schrőder’s house is painted in yellow, red and blue. The group supported the ideas of a style pioneer Piet Mondriaan, a painter who was an important leader in the development of modern abstract art. You can probably recognize him through his work called Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow. The Rietveld’s house is thus a translation of a painting into a house.
The interesting fact about those two; Piet Mondriaan and Gerrit Rietveld, although they are known as one of the most famous representatives of De Stijl and they were born within cycling distance of each other (Amersfoort – Utrecht), they never actually met. The symbolic meeting was initiated by Boris Tellegen, a contemporary artist who has created ten sculptures on the route between the two cities. The cycle path runs along De Bilt, Zeist and Soest and is about twenty kilometers long. Along the way, you will pass the statues with a height of 6.5 meters, which are definitely a striking accent on this artistic cycling route, connecting two Dutch cities with a rich creative history.
For more information, you can have a look at the map of the route: https://www.mondriaanhuis.nl/nl/doe-mondriaan/te-doen/fiets-van-mondriaan-naar-rietveld/pru-18-001-fietsroute-de-stijl-5mb-1.pdf, which will be available till the 31st of December.
If you are not into cycling in this crazy weather, but still interested in art history, you can visit Rietveld Schröder House in Utrecht or Mondriaanhuis in Amersfoort ( that organizes a special exhibition for its 25th anniversary!).