Minke Walda | Keeping up appearances. Renovation and demolition in the urban network of Holland in the long eighteenth century (1670-1830) | Individual grant, with support from the Dutch Research Council (NWO) | VU Amsterdam | supervisor: Dr. F.H. Schmidt | October 1, 2017-October 1, 2022 | m.walda[at]vu.nl
My research project focuses on the spatial transformation of the private building stock in the towns of Holland in the long eighteenth century (1670-1830), with a particular focus on the process of renovation and demolition. By the end of the seventeenth century the spectacular urban growth of the Dutch Golden Age in the province of Holland came to a halt. Between 1670 and 1850 many of the towns faced a period of economic recession and depopulation that also had severe spatial consequences. The need for urban extension and densification diminished, while renovation, maintenance and demolition became the central building activities. Redesign, re-use, ruralisation and the development of a thriving demolition economy formed an essential part of the make-over of private property within the towns. The research project will focus on this still scarcely researched transformation and demolition process of private houses, warehouses and stables, based on a comparative analysis of the seven most important shrinking towns in the urban network of Early Modern Holland: Leiden, Haarlem, Delft, Gouda, Hoorn, Enkhuizen and Alkmaar. Central to the research is the question which spatial strategies and instruments were developed by the urban and new national governments, private property owners and building contractors to instigate or regulate renovation, re-use and demolition in the long eighteenth century. It will become clear that each of these actors developed their own spatial strategies, in which shrinkage was both considered an opportunity and a defacement, stimulating measurements aimed at keeping up appearances.
- Hendriks, View of ‘De Hoop’ windmill in Haarlem, near the Raampoort, ca. 1810. Almost all of the houses on the Korte Wolstraat have been demolished, creating a view to the windmill behind (Noord-Hollands Archief)