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Art of the reconstruction era

Inventory and valuation of monumental art from the reconstruction era in the Netherlands (1940 - 1965).

The period of reconstruction began in the Netherlands in 1940 after the bombing of Rotterdam. Many new buildings were provided with especially designed artworks.

Joop Sjollema Verre Muraille Cafe Schiller Amsterdam 1948

Joop Sjollema, Verre Muraille, Cafe Schiller, Amsterdam 1948

Murals, mosaics, stained-glass and wall hangings were widely installed and special techniques such as sgraffito and beton-glass were rediscovered or even evolved. Specialist art schools, artists' associations and funding schemes for the monumental arts also emerged.

Synthesis of art and architecture

In the austere post-war years artists like Nicolaas Wijnberg, Dick Elffers, Wally Elenbaas, Louis van Roode and Karel Appel sought a synthesis of art and architecture. This ideal was connected to the desire for a collective and unifying art for a society recovering from the effects of war.

Rise and fall

This reconstruction architecture and its monumental art are now disappearing at the same high speed of their resurrection. Buildings change ownership over the years and their artworks lose their context and significance. Many monumental artists have also since been forgotten and their monumental works painted over, lost through renovation or demolished.

Public interest

Despite the fact that the public interest in the reconstruction period and its exceptional heritage is growing, not all monumental art can be preserved. However, these particular expressions of art can be inventoried and valued. The Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE) is committed to placing the well-founded valuation, selection and preservation of the reconstruction heritage on the agenda.


Through a publication and a website the RCE aims to acquaint or perhaps reacquaint a wide audience with the Dutch monumental art of the reconstruction period.