Exhibition in the Nieuwe Instituut with contributions by Moshé Zwarts

Visions of the future from the past

Now that spatial planning for the Netherlands is back on the drawing boards of government bodies and architects, ideas from the past are often proving surprisingly relevant or still ahead of their time. The exhibition ‘Designing the Netherlands. 100 Years of Past & Present Futures’ can be seen at the Nieuwe Instituut until 2 June. Under the heading of ‘Living Together’, an excerpt from a 1987 episode of the television programme AVRO Service Salon is being shown, in which ZJA founder Moshé Zwarts shares his futuristic vision of how we will live in 2050 and the freedom that technology will bring.

Relaxed Living in 2050

Moshé Zwarts (in AVRO Service Salon, 1987): ‘In the “relaxed scenario” that we have designed, life will be radically different in 2050. You’ll be able to opt for high-density urban living, with far more comfort than you have now, or move to a spacious but rather less comfortable home in the countryside. Technology will give people a huge amount of freedom. For example, we introduce a Super Tele Transport System using telephone cables blown up to form tubes, robots will do the housework, and maglev tracks will transport you effortlessly from A to B in your own car.’

Inspiration for a new vision of spatial planning for the Netherlands

The scenario that Moshé was working on was part of the large-scale exhibition ‘The Netherlands 2050’, held in Amsterdam and Rotterdam in 1987-88. Leading Dutch designers developed plans to fit within four future scenarios drawn up by the University of Amsterdam. Nearly forty years later, the Nieuwe Instituut, in collaboration with the College of Government Advisors, presents ‘Designing the Netherlands. 100 Years of Past & Present Futures’.

Inspiration for a new vision of Dutch spatial planning

Climate change, housing, the energy transition and social justice: we are now facing major social and ecological challenges that affect us all. Not just governments but architects too are trying to find answers. With both new design proposals and countless existing examples from the architecture collection of the Nieuwe Instituut, the curators of the exhibition aim to provide inspiration for a new vision of the development of the Netherlands. Within four topical themes, the work of famous architects and town planners is on show, along with work by designers who have less often been given a platform.

‘Designing the Netherlands. 100 Years of Past & Present Futures’ runs until 2 June in the Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam.

For more information see  website of het Nieuwe Instituut.



In Memoriam Rein Jansma 1959-2023

On 17 April 2023 Rein Jansma died, at the age of sixty-three.

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In memoriam Moshé Zwarts


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