W.M. Dudok

Willem Marinus Dudok (1884–1974) is considered one of the greatest architects in the Netherlands. He was born in Amsterdam. His parents, both musicians, instilled in him a creative disposition. Young Willem was skilled at drawing and enjoyed playing the piano. Later, as an architect, he preferred to work with music by Bach or Debussy in the background.

Around 1900, H. P. Berlage is the talk of the town in Amsterdam with his design for the Beurs. Dudok, who recently completed his HBS (Higher Civic School) diploma, has a keen interest in this modern brick architecture. His training at the military academy in Breda prepares him for the civil engineer profession, with architectural drawing and design as additional subjects. Recognising his talent for drawing, the staff asks him to assist in designing military buildings in the style of Berlage. Prior to his honourable discharge from the army, he makes the switch to a civilian career in Leiden, where he works together with architect J. J. P. Oud. Dudok is a pragmatic architect, a straightforward, confident man who works in clearly defined frameworks. He is soon lured to Hilversum by a position with more independence.

As Director of Public Works, he adapts his architectural style to the prevailing trends. The Town Hall is starkly modernist, with influences from Frank Lloyd Wright; the urban expansion plan, with self-sufficient residential areas for workers and the middle class, is based on the garden city concept. In addition to all of this work, he also runs his own architectural practice, through which he receives countless commissions from the Netherlands and beyond, such as the Collège Néerlandais in Paris.