In the old Sanatorium Zonnestraal in Hilversum, nature, architecture and art work together to create the perfect summer hot spot.
In the woods near the Dutch town of Hilversum lies a beautiful complex called Zonnestraal (sun beam). Built in the 1920s by architect Jan Duiker as a sanatorium for lung patients, it’s a great example of the so-called Nieuwe bouwen (“new building”), an architectural style somewhat related to the Constructivism you may have read about in the Konstruktor-related articles.
First and foremost, it’s a lovely compound. It had been abandoned for years — after more modern cures than putting people in sanatoria became available. In recent years, the complex had been restored, and these days, there are medical facilities to be found here once again. But even when you are in perfect health, it’s a great place to walk around on a summer day.
I really like this style of architecture — all large windows and straight edges. It’s both minimal and aesthetically pleasing. Being in a sanatorium with tuberculosis must have been tough, but at least you had these lovely light, airy, buildings to live in.
Not only can you admire the lovely buildings in summers — do check out the amazing water tower integrated in one of the buildings — there is also a sculpture exhibit in the gardens surrounding the complex. You can wander trough the tall grass and sweet smelling trees and stumble upon the most fantastical works of art.
And when you have enough of all the culture, you can just lay back in the grass and enjoy the park. and flowers. It’s the perfect summer hot spot.