Collège néerlandais


History

The Dutch College is considered one of the masterpieces of architecture in the Cité internationale. It is the only building in France designed by Willem Marinus DUDOK, one of the leading architects from the Dutch school of the 1920s and 30s.

A Dutch students’ house in Paris

The committee created by Dr LOUDON, the Dutch ambassador to Paris, in 1926 was the driving force behind the project to construct a Dutch house. The committee raised the necessary funds and construction began in 1928. Abraham PREYER, an American gentleman originally from the Netherlands, made a very generous donation in memory of his son Arthur who was killed in battle in France on 18 August 1918. Work was temporarily abandoned between 1933 and 1937 because of the difficult economic times. Construction was finally finished thanks to the financial contributions of both France and the Netherlands, and the building opened its doors on 2 December 1938 in a ceremony led by Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands.

An architectural jewel

The Dutch College is considered one of the masterpieces of architecture in the Cité internationale. It is the only building in France designed by Willem Marinus DUDOK, one of the leading architects from the Dutch school of the 1920s and 30s. Its persistent use of right angles, its overlapping geometric shapes and the spare use of decorative elements embody the modern architectural ideas of the 1920s. Yet some parts of the construction clearly harken back to more traditional Dutch culture. The corner turrets are inspired by the medieval belfries found in villages in the north of the Netherlands. Inside, the building is organised around an inner patio that serves as a light well. The welcoming atmosphere here contrasts with the more austere exterior. The impressive murals in the Great Hall were painted by HORDJIK and DOEVEL.

Did you know?
The Dutch College has been a listed historic monument since 2005.
Also, the Cité internationale has put out a call for sponsors in order to finance the restoration of the Dutch College.