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Foto: Dudok Architectuur Centrum
An appealing reference to Hilversum’s flourishing industrial period is located at Oude Amersfoortseweg 121-123. This is where the German pharmaceutical company Beiersdorf started its Dutch branch in the early 1930s. After the war, the factory got the necessary extensions on the site. In the eighties, the NOS moved into the former factory buildings. After ten years of housing the Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU), the complex became vacant in 2016. A new residential-work complex in a park-like garden was built on the site in 2020, which bears the name H-park.
The Beiersdorf company, founded in Hamburg in 1882 by licensed druggist Paul C. Beiersdorf, was characterized by pharmaceutical innovations. For example, in 1910 it introduced the soon world-famous Nivea cream and in 1922 self-adhesive plasters with a gauze under the name Hansaplast, a revolution in wound care at the time. In the 1930s, Beiersdorf N.V. established a factory for the Dutch market. The modern factory was designed by the Hilversum architect Cornelis de Groot Jzn. (1876-1944). The factory site was located along the track behind the houses on the Oude Amersfoortseweg. The entrance to the site was located between house numbers 119 and 135. Extensions soon followed, a porter’s house with garage, a boiler house, a shed and a second factory.
After the Second World War, the factory complex continued to expand into the 1970s, now under the direction of architect E.G. Afternoon (1897-1985) and later the Architektenburo Afternoon. Middag built a warehouse, modified and expanded the existing factory and in 1951 built a completely new factory ‘for chemical-pharmaceutical products’ in a typical post-war industrial style. Characteristic were the long rows of windows in steel frames, rhythmically arranged between concrete columns projecting over the entire height of the facade. After Beiersdorf left Hilversum, the site with the building was acquired in 1981 by architect and project developer J. van Wilsum from Laren (Wilcor BV).
Van Wilsum made the necessary changes. Various parts of the complex were demolished and the factories were converted into offices. The tall chimney and the blue letters ‘NIVEA’ on the factory, striking at night, disappeared after almost fifty years of being a landmark along the track. The offices were leased to the NOS, which established the Nederlands Omroepmuseum here in 1993. Exhibitions were held here, but the central depot was also housed here. After the departure of the NOS and the museum to the Mediapark, the site was taken into use in 2006 by the University of the Arts.
The site was again abandoned in 2016. The old factory buildings and offices had changed considerably over time, with suspended ceilings and facades wrapped in colored sheets. ZZDP Architecten tackled the complex on behalf of new owner Ivy Group. They tore down a section and stripped the remaining H-shaped complex (which the name H-park refers to). The robust post-war characteristics of the former Beiersdorf factories became visible again. The demolition of part of the complex created space for a park layout around the new residential-work complex. The park, as well as the catering and sports facilities on the site are also available to local residents.
Oude Amersfoortseweg 121-123, Hilversum