Education Buildings


At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Compulsory Education Act (1900) and the legal equalization of public and special education (1920) caused an enormous increase in the number and diversity of schools. The enormous population growth and construction of new residential areas also played a role in Hilversum. For Dudok this was an excellent opportunity to merge his design talent and urban development ideas. “My own direction in architecture began to develop in my first schools,” said Dudok. Before Dudok came to Hilversum, he had already worked at a primary school and an HBS in Leiden. In Hilversum, the architect was to design at least 25 schools, the first in 1916 (Geranium School) and the last in 1952 (the Jac. P. Thijsseschool on Eksterstraat, which has since been demolished).

Most modern insights

Attention shifted from hygienic to educational requirements and Dudok applied the most modern pedagogical insights. The perspective from the children who attended the schools was important here. Low windows, a private playground, separate crafts and gymnastics rooms, and a colorful but harmonious use of color. “The lame, stained school desks-yellow, the closet doors-gray and the colorless stripe-sliding curtains disappeared,” as one reporter noted at the time.


The placement of his school buildings in the neighborhood also received special attention from the architect. They provided the necessary variety in the street scene, as opposed to “the powerful element of repetition” of the houses in the neighborhood. Their dominant location, often at intersections and visual axes, and a high tower or chimney made them an important landmark in the district.


Although Dudok’s schools differ in appearance, they often have the same set-up. The entrance is placed at one end or at a corner, and the corridors are on the side that receives the least light. The classrooms and playrooms had to be able to benefit from the sunlight. The gymnasiums are located in a separate building or in a separate wing of the school. The greenery formed an important aspect of the space around the school. The children had to get the feeling of being surrounded by nature.

Pride and fame

Dudok was proud of his schools and always showed them to visitors. In the contemporary press, the schools were often praised immediately after construction for their innovative design, their light and airiness. For example, the school complex on Egelantierstraat / Eikbosserweg (former Julianaschool and Catharina van Rennesschool) received a favorable response from the reporter of the Gooi- en Eemlander after opening in 1927: ‘a beautiful complex’, ‘a radiant dominant in the not too inharmonious environment ‘,’ playful joy in line and shape and color ‘. The landscaping and choice of plants were also praised, with which it was achieved “that one may not only look at the zoomers, but throughout the winter at the greenery”.

Extra information

Een overzicht en beeldmateriaal van scholen van Dudok vind je op de site in de categorie scholen.

De website is een initiatief van enkele bewonderaars van het werk van Willem Marinus Dudok. De site bevat vooral veel beeldmateriaal van alle ontwerpen van Dudok die ooit zijn gebouwd. Het Dudok Architectuur Centrum en werken op onafhankelijke basis samen door beeldmateriaal en informatie met elkaar te delen en incidenteel samen te werken aan projecten.