Divine Houses - 2001

The possibilities for Dutch people to build their own house have increased. At least that was the intention of the government at the end of the nineties. It would be a radical break with large-scale series construction for an anonymous market. In 2001, Heilige Huisjes (Divine Houses) will present a cautious but promising start to the project. The share of one-third of homes in private commissioning - a government ambition of 23,000 annually - is large. Actually, no one knows how it will go, but the examples in Divine Houses show that it can be done. Immediately after the book follows the magazine Burgerlijke Stedenbouw (Civil Urbanism) (2002). Both books are an inspiration for the development of Homeruskwartier in Almere (from 2007); the largest self-built neighbourhood in the Netherlands.

In his essay 'Het laatste taboe' H.J.A. Hofland discusses the Dutch housing culture. Living is one of the most personal aspects of life. It is precisely in this untouchable area that the Dutchman has allowed himself to be pruned down within his own, individual contribution.

A growing proportion of small households live in ever larger homes. Would people build as big as they do if they had a say?