Een halve eeuw Monumentenwet: 1961-2011

Vincent Van Rossem
The Dutch Monuments and Historic Buildings Act dates from 1961. Naturally, the Act was primarily intended to protect old buildings. In the first place the traditional heritage: churches, town gates, town halls and the houses of aristocrats. Soon architecture from a more recent past, the period 1850-1940, was also placed on the historic buildings register. The Act as an administrative instrument for the conservation of historic buildings was a great success. Consequently, the intentions of the
more » ... intentions of the legislator were fully complied with, but the Act had social side effects which may have been even more important, for the Monuments and Historic Buildings Act caused a national change of mentality. The importance of heritage has gradually become a matter of course in the Netherlands. For a long time it was common practice, even in public administration, to indicate historic buildings as 'old junk'. The many editions of the journal Heemschut give a clear picture of the battle that had to be waged for years on end in order to preserve at least some part of the many age-old city and village cores in the Netherlands. Notably the post-war decades were a dramatic period. Modernisation and renovation were the highest priorities among the municipal authorities. The Monuments and Historic Buildings Act formed a turning-point in this battle, though not overnight. The Act initiated a process of awareness that finally resulted in a very broad social basis for preservation of heritage. These past years this development has even accelerated, whereby the still broader definition 'cultural history' is used more and more frequently. As the interest in the quality of the built environment was increasing, people were also becoming more aware of the fact that historic buildings and spatial structures highly contribute to the quality of life in town and countryside. Protection was possible by means of the instrument 'village and urban conservation area', but the Dutch citizen was also becoming more and more critical and assertive; people acq [...]
doi:10.7480/knob.111.2012.2.102 fatcat:7qd7ej23krdh7nd3lvjbneid54