Architecture, Art Nouveau, Ceramic Tile Panel, Dordrecht, Facade, Floral Motifs, Garland, H.W. Veth, Holland, Jugendstil, Plateel
It has taken me a while to write this post, as I couldn’t find anything interesting to tell you about this building. The building itself isn’t very spectacular, no famous architect was involved and nothing spectacular happened inside the building either. But it did somehow grow on me over the years and I was determined to share my pictures with you. So, what could I possibly tell you about the Hallincqhof? Well, I browsed through lots of websites, read many a PDF-file and actually discovered quite a lot. The available information is not about the building itself, but about the reason why the Hallincqhof was commissioned by a building corporation. The corporation was determined to advance the housing of the working class. So, here’s my background story about registered monument RM522289:
From the mid 19th century onwards, industrialisation took place in most Dutch (as well as other European) cities and mechanisation & mass production caused the economy to boom in urban areas. That same mechanisation caused unemployment rates to go up in rural areas and people began to move from the countryside to the city, looking for work. Housing was not controlled yet, and with the inner-city populations growing rapidly, literally every tiny bit of space within the city walls was used to build a place to live for the new residents. Numerous families were forced to live in dark alleys, unsafe and unsanitary slums and overcrowded attics. The situation became extremely dangerous with cholera and typhoid spreading and taking lives in the inner-cities. With the intention to improve the unhealthy situation in the cities some upper-class citizens formed the first housing corporations and built better houses, thus improving the situation of the working class.
|Nr. of Inhabitants||1795||1840||1870||1900|
In 1890 the ‘Vereeniging tot bevordering der huisvesting van de arbeidende klasse’, (Association for the advancement of housing of the working class’) commissioned the architect H.W. Veth to build two housing blocks. Each block contained 8 downstairs and 8 upstairs units. The front doors of upper and lower units were not set together as usual but on the opposite sides of the blocks. Footpaths running along the blocks gave access to the front doors. Every dwelling unit had a small garden opposite the front door, across the footpath. The long sides of the blocks remained rather simple, and consisted of repeating windows and doors. The ‘front-ends’ of the blocks, on the contrary, stood out because of the contrasting abundance of decorations, mostly in Art Nouveau style.
The most interesting feature of either block is, if you’ld ask me, the ceramic tile panel in the top of the facade. Both hand painted ceramic tile panels are produced by the pottery “Plateelbakkerij Holland” in Utrecht. They show floral motifs, a garland with pieces of fruit, and the year 1902. At a later stage, I plan to get more into detail about this pottery / tile business.
The houses were intended for the more affluent workers and the lower middle class. The first generation of residents, alongside craftsmen, also included a constable and a shopkeeper. For people with limited means, these houses, with a rent of fl. 1.30 (€ 0,65) per week were simply too expensive. The circulation of tenants was high which may have had to do with the strong social control: the residents were under strict supervision of the association, which included the monitoring of unauthorized occupation and the sales of alcoholic beverages. The houses were luxurious for the time though, as they were provided with an iron bedstead and above all, they were connected to the sewer system. On top of that, each tenant had a small pitch of land to bleach, grow vegetables, keep chickens and rabbits or maybe even a pig.
The thought of everyday life in this buzzing, yet cozy neighborhood gives me a warm feeling and a smile on my face. If only walls could talk…
De Vergeten Hof
Digitaal Museum van de Volkshuisvesting
Book: Koninkrijk vol sloppen – Auke van der Woud (2010)
Book: De Geschiedenis van Dordrecht, deel III – Gemeentearchief Dordrecht (2000)
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Nicolas G. said:
Hi, thanks for this article which i found interesting, due mostly to the explanations and péculiar story you share with us. This reminds me the situation of chinese workers coming from their far east countryside going to work in in modern cities… And ending in sleeping places like the one you talk about. History is repeating. And today, what is this building for ? Are people still living in it ? Thanks.