This one-off injection affords a potentially decisive impulse for the preservation and restoration of the national collection and the acceleration of the current digitalisation and accessibilisation of the archive.
"A milestone for Dutch design culture and especially for architecture and town planning! And a huge impulse for Het Nieuwe Instituut and for Rotterdam. It illustrates once again how crucial this archive is as a source for the future," explains Guus Beumer, general director of Rotterdam’s Het Nieuwe Instituut."
When at its inception Het Nieuwe Instituut adopted the apparatus of the former Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi), it also inherited the problems which came with it. For example, it was already apparent in 2013 that many of the archive’s paper items were increasingly fragile. The physical condition of the tracing-paper drawings, often structural plans, was a cause for concern; the drawings urgently needed to be rolled out, flattened and packed in acid-free paper and where necessary restored. A major operation, given that the State Archive’s 4 million objects makes it the biggest architectural archive in the world. This one-off capital injection of eleven million euros from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is a tremendous contribution towards the restoration of a significant part of the collection, while also supporting the digitalisation programme while also enabling the archive to be made more accessible. Thousands of researchers visit the State Archive in Rotterdam from the Netherlands and abroad each year and consult the collection through the digital search portal.
“Following the State Archive’s registration under the Heritage Law in 2017, thereby securing funding for the archive, this grant represents a new milestone for Het Nieuwe Instituut. This financial injection is also a recognition of the global problem of restoring this type of collection. In addition to repairing the collection’s most fragile items, the new resources will also go towards research. So that the collection will continue to inspire new generations for years to come. As a public institution we look forward to sharing the knowledge we acquire over the coming years with other heritage institutions at home and abroad,” comments Behrang Mousavi, Heritage general manager.
The donation of eleven million euros to the State Archive was confirmed by letter in a vision statement drawn up by Drs I.K. van Engelshoven, minister of Education, Culture and Science on 12 March 2018.
Collection Het Nieuwe Instituut
Het Nieuwe Instituut manages around 700 archives and collections relating to Dutch architects, town planners, professional associations and courses with some four million objects. In the Netherlands, the collection is second in size only to that of Naturalis and is one of the largest collections of architectural items in the world. In addition to museum-quality drawings, the archives also contain sketches and designs, detail drawings, commercial and personal correspondence, photos, models, posters and selections of cuttings and magazine articles. Archives of leading architects and town planners enable the collection to offer an insight into 130 years of development in Dutch architecture and town planning. The uniqueness of many of these archives, their artistic quality and the added value of the overall collection, make Het Nieuwe Instituut’s collection a major cultural historical asset.