Mariël Urbanus | The Great Renovation. Prestige and Privacy in the Houses of the Dutch Republic (c. 1710 – 1790) | University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam School of Historical Studies | Promotor(es); supervisor(s): prof. dr. Gabri van Tussenbroek, prof. dr. Lex Bosman | September 2020 – August 2025 | m.urbanus[at]uva.nl
In the 18th century a rigorous change took place in the housing culture of the Dutch Republic. In a time when cities were no longer growing, over half of all building activity concerned the renovation of existing houses instead of building new ones. The existing fabric of these houses was left intact, while façades were renewed, the layout changed and the way in which houses were inhabited altered considerably. This great renovation of the existing housing stock first became visible in the houses of the upper classes. The changes were characterised by two main features: prestige and privacy. On the one hand the houses of the upper classes played a key role in displaying the status, wealth and the identity of their inhabitants, both towards their peers as well as towards civic society as a whole. On the other hand different groups of users within the house became more separated. This project aims to investigate how the renovated houses of the upper classes in cities in the Dutch Republic transformed between c. 1710 and 1790. It will investigate what the incentives were to transform the housing landscape on such a large scale and identify the changes that occurred in the appearance, the layout and the use of the houses. The study will focus on the societal factors of prestige and privacy and how these influenced architectural choices in the renovated houses.