Paul Meurs – The Netherlands as Utopia

Holland Village in Japan
The Japanese think their own cities are very ugly. The density, the congestion, the pollution, the telephone and electricity cables dominating the cityscape, and not in the least the lack of respect for historic buildings, are a constant source of irritation to them. They look upon the Netherlands as the example of how to do things better: Huis Ten Bosch is a new city in the south of Japan, where the best of what the historic Dutch cities have to offer has been perfectly copied. The idea is that well-to-do Japanese invest a few millions in buying a second house there, so that they can live in green surroundings and their children can play in an environment where all cables are laid underground. The success of Huis ten Bosch is such, that meanwhile plans are being made to realize a Russian, a German and a Swiss village, as well as a village containing the 100 most famous buildings in the world. Huis ten Bosch is destined to become the Monaco of modern Japan, with the historic Netherlands as an idyllic and Utopian example. This should make us in the Netherlands think about how we ourselves treat our heritage. The extremely serious approach to Dutch historic architecture in Japan has triggered a critical reflection on our own monument and restoration policy.
At Omura Bay in Japan, a holiday resort was built which looks exactly like an old Dutch city. Photographic records of this project show that a credible cityscape can be created out of nothing. Or maybe the opposite applies, i.e. that Dutch cities are actually not much more than sloppily made amusement parks. The thematic city has no history. It doesn’t even have its own name. The indication Huis Ten Bosch suffices. And yet it contains all that can be expected to be found in an average historic city in the Netherlands. The project has a harbor front and a ring of canals measuring six kilometers. From the sea Dom tower should be visible, set off proudly against the mountains. A copy of Huis Ten Bosch Palace (the royal residence in The Hague) is the showpiece of the collection of monumental buildings. There are exclusive hotels (4), restaurants (35), museums (10), shops (70) and accommodation for an eventual number of 40.000 inhabitants. The principals intend to offer the Japanese recreationist something completely different from Disneyland.
The secret behind the success of Huis Ten Bosch lies in staging a cityscape which has been realized step-by-step, with carefully copied monuments and historizised new buildings. The project has by no means resulted in – and was not even purported to be – a Dutch city. Nevertheless, the Dutch advisors kept insisting on the most accurate possible implementation. The developer agreed to this and took the accompanying higher costs in his stride. The result is to be applauded. With the collage city, the Japanese offer us a mirror, in which the contours of restored cities in the Netherlands are subtly shown.

Holland in Nagasaki
For centuries, the only contacts between Japan and the west took place through a small Dutch trading post at Nagasaki (1641-1853). This provided the country with a window on the world, in spite of the isolation imposed by the Shoguns. (1) The Dutch traders lived on the artificial, tiny island of Deshima, ‘like chickens in a coop’. In exchange for the trading privilege, considerable discomfort was suffered. The German physician Engelbert Kaempfer, who worked on Deshima around 1690, spoke of a well-nigh lifelong voluntary imprisonment; and according to the English Lord Elgin (1853), the trading post ‘resembled a penal colony rather than the quarters of a community of traders’. (2) For the Japanese, the Dutch episode on Deshima is crucial as a facilitator for the internationalisation of the country after 1853. Because of rangaku (Dutch Learning), Japan rapidly managed to find its place in the world. On Deshima, according to Japanese school books, a new age began.
The historical ties with the Netherlands sparked off the copying of a Dutch windmill and a farm at Omura Bay in 1982. These ‘ducks’, as Venturi would call them, served as a drive-in restaurant. The facility attracted such a lot of interest, that in a short time the first Nagasaki Holland Village grew around it, attracting two million visitors a year. The pride of this village was the ‘Prins Willem’, a 74-meter-long replica of a seventeenth century three- master. In 1985, Willemstad followed on land: a piece of a city in which with some effort the cities of Middelburg and Harlingen can be recognized. Also, a part of Zaanse Schans is to be found, and in 1987 the village was completed with the quay of Hoorn. The fragments of cities stand apart in the Japanese landscape, and the details are easy to distinguish from the real thing. They merely evoke a Dutch atmosphere. Remarkably, each new phase looks more like the Netherlands. (3) Now that at a distance of 12 kilometers, on the other side of the bay, the city of Huis Ten Bosch has become operational, the old Nagasaki Holland Village will be converted into cheap hotel accommodations.
The driving forces behind the ‘Hollandization’ of Omura Bay are the entrepreneur Yoshikuni Kamichika and the architect Takekuni Ikeda. According to Japan expert Jan de Vries, Ikeda is the ideologist who from the outset insisted on authenticity and environmental awareness. (4) Kamichika translated Ikeda’s vision into commercial terms. Gradually, this duo developed growing admiration for the way in which the Dutch had created and maintained an ecologically balanced landscape. This quality is the central theme of the ambitious Huis Ten Bosch project. Five million visitors are expected annually. It is twice as large as Disneyland near Tokyo, both in terms of surface area (152 hectares) and capital invested (5 billion euros).
As far as Kamichika is concerned, the Mickey Mouse fantasy has become obsolete and it is more interesting now to exploit reality. The Dutch city is meant to confront the Japanese with their lack of ecological and cultural awareness. In the eyes of Kamichika and Ikeda, the Dutch route should lead them to show more respect for nature and for their own monuments (for example in ancient Kyoto). Initially, the objective to remain true to nature was a commercial handicap, but subsequently it turned out to be one of the strongest points of the project. According to economist Ed Groot, it is a way to distinguish itself from the uniformity offered by the stereotypical American type of amusement park. (5) By now, the management is deeply ashamed about the design of the mill with which Holland Village was initiated. The fact that the mill was nevertheless retained, albeit in adapted form, has to do with the resolution to treat history with respect, also in this instance.
The leasure industry is the major growth sector of the Japanese economy. On the southern island of Kyushu, tourism has by now become the most important source of income and employment. It offers an alternative for the declining shipbuilding industry. In fact, the Dutch city was built on an industrial site which had been left fallow for years. The project perfectly fits in with the magical vibe evoked by the exotic south elsewhere in Japan.
Nagasaki is associated with the unconventional lifestyle resulting from the contacts with foreign countries. Because the region was counted among the backward areas of Japan, Resort Law applied, which meant that thirty per cent of investments could be borrowed interest-free. The municipality footed the bill for the construction of access roads, while Japan Railways electrified the railways, built a replica of Boxmeer station and designed special trains.
The first phase of the project involved an amount of over two billion euros, (6) of which 75 million was spent in the Netherlands on a variety of items such as Friesian horses, wrought ironwork, copyright, ships, interiors, antiques, furniture, and 10 million bricks. Besides art and craftwork being supplied, knowledge was also imported. With regard to the building process, for example, advice was sought from Silman Herweijer (planology), Pieter Bakker (civil engineering), Ted van Keulen (landscape), Jan Heeling (urban planning) and Fred Hofman (architecture). For advice on the setting up of collections and period rooms, museum directors and the Dutch Council for the Visual Arts were called upon. Simon Levie, former director of the Rijksmuseum, also had his name associated with the city as an art consultant. Above all, the Dutch involvement is meant to guard the authenticity, and consequently the credibility, of the project.

Instant urban history
Jan Heeling got involved with the project at a time when the Japanese specialists had already made a selection of Dutch buildings. The objects were assembled in a composition made up of a number of city plans, but without any consistency in urban planning. Besides, the concept showed some unusual programmatic characteristics, such as the presence of multiple town halls and weighing-houses. In order to form one entity out of the fragments, Heeling wrote the history of an imaginary Dutch city, thus making Huis Ten Bosch, after Nara and Kyoto (copies of the Chinese Forbidden City) and Sapporo (American grid) the fourth city in Japan based on an urban development plan. (7) Moreover, with his story of creation Heeling had tried to give the city a soul.
The invented history of the city began as early as the twelfth century, with a little fishing village at the mouth of a river, and a castle (Nijenrode) some distance upstream. In the Middle Ages, this settlement developed into a city with a city wall and gates (Delft, Sneek). The river was – of course – dammed and the hinterland became impoldered. The Golden Age brought prosperity. The city walls made way for a ring of canals. Merchant houses, warehouses, markets and public buildings appeared in the city, while outside it a manorial estate arose (Huis Ten Bosch Palace). In the nineteenth century, the railway and industry were introduced. A part of the city was reorganized, during which process the fortifications disappeared and a shopping arcade (The Hague) was introduced. No prizes for guessing the rest of the story. Before unfortunate occurrences such as major traffic interventions could take place, fiction and reality coincided: the city became a protected area, and started concentrating on tourism. In the five zones (harbor, inner city, ring of canals, polder and wood) people relaxed happily ever after.
The creation scenario gave the inner city monuments their place. The only thing was that the principals had more outstanding buildings in mind than fitted into the history. On the other hand, there was a shortage of ordinary buildings to provide the ‘filling in’ of the cityscape. As in the Netherlands, complete housing blocks were put together for major developments. The low water level in the canals constituted a problem in itself. This was remedied by copying the Utrecht canal model, with yard cellars. According to Heeling, creating arbitrariness was one of the most difficult aspects of the plan. The Japanese reluctantly accepted ‘illogical’ angles and other anomalies. Because the blocks were
constructed as one entity, differentiation in building heights is lacking, while the windows are situated too much at one and the same level. Heeling is of the opinion that the ‘meat’ of the blocks misses the mark in relation to the open space, causing the city to fall apart into fragments in some places. This is in part connected with the recreational functions. In the subtropical climate of Kyushu, the focus is on open air activities, such as for example the daily recurring spectacles. Moreover, the choice of the wide Utrecht canal profile contributes to the unnatural resplendence of the cityscape, certainly for as long as the volume of the big trees is lacking. The surplus of outdoor areas is particularly accentuated on the central market square (Gouda), which usually looks desolate. In building phases to come, the ring of canals will be completed. Perhaps this will provide the cityscape with a more enclosed character.
There are no churches at Huis Ten Bosch, although this is not a sensitive issue in Japan. The country is full of them. Nagasaki has a cathedral, and Holland Village also contained a chapel (including a parson) where people could marry. According to De Vries, the reason that the new city did not get a place of worship was a purely commercial one: no useful function could be found for it. All the same it remains peculiar that in a Dutch city that is meant to be as close to reality as possible, there is no place for a church, while at the same time there is a lack of large buildings for recreational purposes. As it is, Huis Ten Bosch must make do with a seemingly out of place Dom tower. On the occasion of the official opening, the city was blessed by a Shinto priest.
In order to also maintain the historical value in the surrounding landscape, the countryside was divided into estates. Hofman conceptualized scenario’s for ‘recent’ developments, which was a simple way to make room for the functions of the holiday resort. The ‘Forest Villas’, for example, are situated around a Groningen manor, the moat of which, as the accompanying story will have it, was first transformed into a pond and subsequently into a glass covered swimming pool (greenhouses Brussel). By that time, the estate had been divided into plots with buildings in the style of the gardener’s cottages near Zuylen castle. Some distance away the ‘Guesthouse’ is to be found, a stylish mansion such as could well have existed in the Netherlands. Past Nijenrode castle a polder fragment is situated, complete with the electrically powered windmill three-course of Leidschendam.
The surrounding landscape is completed with the polder structure of ’s-Gravenland. According to the invented history, a developer filled this area with owner-occupied villas in an atmosphere resembling the villas in rich commuter towns around Amsterdam and The Hague. Bordering the ring of canals, this neighborhood assumes the allure of the mansions in the Vechtstreek (the region around the river Vecht). There, something goes wrong with the appearance of the landscape, because suddenly everything comes at once. Sand and clay landscapes, each with their characteristic buildings and vegetation, are mixed. In the future, this patchwork under a green veil will probably gain in unity. The residential neighborhood is rounded off with four-storey apartments, in early twentieth century The Hague style.
In spite of the classical style of design, Huis Ten Bosch is an ‘intelligent town’, with a sophisticated network for energy supplies and communication. Unique for Japan is the fact that all the pipes run underground. The Japanese are very proud of this. They are ashamed of the jumble of wires in their own cities. They find these very ugly and frequently airbrush them out of architecture photographs. Because of the earthquakes, it was necessary to build a system of tunnels with a diameter of three meters, so that in the event of breakdowns in the catacombs problems can quickly be tackled. Environmental management is the city’s calling card. It not only has its own desalination plant, but it also had a water purification system installed at a cost of 125 million euros. This system purifies waste water to a level well below the legal requirement. These investments have provided Ikeda and his staff with great prestige, which translated itself into increasing confidence from the banks. This is general manager Kamichika’s way of proving that reality can indeed be exploited.

The copy as an invention
The Nagasaki project comprises a large collection of copies and extracts from Dutch architecture, for which the Japanese architects felt no remorse at all. In Japan, unlike in the West, unique performance, creativity and original products are considered less important than the underlying idea. Illustrative in this connection is the Grand Shrine of Ise in Mie prefecture, one of the most important temples of Japan. The temple is made in Shinto style, of unpainted cypress wood. Every 21 years it is rebuilt on an adjacent site, after which the previous version is pulled down again. The ‘idea’ of the temple is not fixed in drawings, but is transferred from generation to generation and given it’s meaning by the act of building it. Obviously, in the course of centuries small alterations in form have taken place. (8) Calligraphy is another expression of art which is centered on skilled imitation rather than originality. Here again, the experience is transferred from generation to generation. For the apprentice, emulating his master is the highest achievement, knowing that he will never surpass him.
The level of exactitude employed by the Japanese to turn their sources of inspiration to good account is extraordinary. As Dutch writer Louis Couperus wrote at the time: ‘They are the eternal copiers and importers. For centuries and centuries, they have been importing their entire civilization from China. They themselves did not add the tiniest bit of originality.’ (9) But Europe has a rich tradition of imitation too. Particularly where English Neo-Palladianism is concerned, both implemented and non-implemented designs by Palladio were realized much later and in a different context. For a long time, order books were the decisive factor for the architecture. In the Netherlands too, foreign buildings and gardens were widely copied. Later on neo-styles followed. It is difficult to say where quoting stops and copying starts, despite the fact that the measure of appreciation for the two varies considerably.
The art of painting has a reputation with regard to plagiarism and pastiche. The memory of Goldreyer’s ‘Newman’ is still fresh. The Rembrandt Research Project showed the confusion to which the practice of copying paintings in seventeenth century studios can lead. In such instances, the value of those paintings is not as much in the object, but in the meaning it is given. Gary Schwartz: ‘A “real Rembrandt” is also a state of mind, for the specialist as well as for the average viewing public.’ (10) Or, in the words of Dutch writer and artist Jan Wolkers: ‘A beginning painter can learn quite a lot even from a false Rembrandt.’ (11) In the pictures themselves, painters often once again deceive us, because the truth is easy to touch up. The eighteenth century Venetian landscape painters – Carlevarijs, Visentini, Canaletto and Marieschi – allowed themselves many freedoms, not only in respect of the perspective. For example, on a well-known capriccio by Caneletto, which is drawn to the attention by Aldo Rossi in The architecture of the city, a number of designs by Palladio have been collected in a context which is strongly remnicent of Venice. Such capriccios were, like Huis Ten Bosch, made to order. (12) There are also true-to-life paintings of Dam Square in Amsterdam, which show the – never built – gothic tower of the New Church behind City Hall.
All means to illustrate or manipulate history through pastiche are brazenly displayed in Huis Ten Bosch. Apart from copying, use is made of analogies (designs in the style of certain regions). Such buildings evoke memories of the past, even if the past never really existed in that form. Although it may be obvious that a copy cannot aspire to physical reality, it can be a good substitute for the original article. The result may even gain in authenticity. Nijenrode in Japan looks like the castle must have looked in the late Middle Ages. And the never realized baroque garden was laid out at Huis ten Bosch Palace to the design of Daniel Marot, which had been preserved, transplanting surrounding old trees for the purpose.
Occasionally, changes of scale were applied in the reproductions. Because of the proximity of Nagasaki airport, the Dom tower was restricted to ninety per cent of its true height in Utrecht. Through the grouping of buildings, Hotel de l’Europe ended up four times bigger than the original in Amsterdam. Its enormous lobby is without comparison in the Netherlands. Another new addition is the gate, through which guests can enter the hotel per round-trip boat and moor at a jetty.
The construction technique employed at Huis Ten Bosch is not Dutch, due to the short construction time and the local circumstances (including typhoons and earth quakes). In the Netherlands, the appearance of buildings is usually derived from the construction, but in Japan the two have nothing to do with each other. The buildings are made of steel and concrete, with the façades hanging like a curtain along the front. The Dutch aspect as nothing but a brick membrane. The relationship between inside and outside is regarded irrelevant. Only rarely does the appearance of the façade correspond with the function behind it. Consequently, despite the historical straitjacket the designers enjoyed total freedom. Even the cars in the city are true to style: a variety of European vintage models, but provided with modern Japanese engines. American models – black and white, apparently the Japanese also find the Dutch approach to racial issues interesting – provide some couleur locale by displaying regional costumes, which in fact looks more German than Dutch . Policemen in Royal Dutch Military Police uniforms seem to have as their most important job the photographing of Japanese with their own cameras in front of their favorite background.
For the Japanese it was difficult to deal with Dutch history in a creative manner. Architect Fred Hofman, who was called in to assist, designed an impressive number of hotels, restaurants, houses and interiors. In line with Heeling’s history of the city, Hofman invented the construction history of the individual buildings. This made it possible to interweave specific parts of the program into the city, such as for example the Guesthouse, a very expensive hotel situated in the surrounding countryside. It looks like it originated from a fifteenth century manor, part of which has since the construction of the fortifications come to be situated in the canal. During the French period the house was renovated, and recently nine suites (measuring 140 square meters each) were realized there. Hofman provided the block on the harborfront, which contains Hotel Amsterdam, with a fictional history that changed the interior of the houses into an eighteenth century Grand Hotel. The yard was stuccoed and embellished with an Empirical style glass entrance hall. At the back, part of the gardens was preserved. The warehouses at the head of the oblong block still function as a storage facility.
Historical scenarios also determined the interiors. The original interior of Nijenrode had to be invented. Because no permission was given to copy the interior of Huis Ten Bosch Palace, in this respect new designs had to be made as well. Hofman’s choice was ‘sober baroque’. The wing containing the collection of paintings was furnished like a nineteenth century English gallery, with subdued lighting by chandeliers and halogen spotlights. The other wing was given a more exuberant character, with a blue room and a green room for receptions. The middle section of the palace houses the Orange Hall and three period rooms: copies of the ‘Sael’ from Museum Amstelkring in Amsterdam (seventeenth century) and a reception room from Schielandshuis in Rotterdam (eighteenth century), plus the Van Rede suite (nineteenth century) on loan. A remarkable fact is that the palace in The Hague has a Japanese room, furnished around 1791 by furniture maker Matthijs Horrix. The Japanese regard this as tasteless kitsch, and rejected the offer to copy this room.
Rembrandt Hall is a building for receptions and shows. Needless to say that a copy of the Nachtwacht is exhibited here. Other buildings were decorated in a variety of styles with new paintings. The ‘genre painters’ Fred and Marie-Louise Nagengast made a dozen medieval scenes for Nijenrode castle, and an allegorical image on the tympanum in the hall of Hotel Amsterdam.
In the Orange Hall of Huis Ten Bosch Palace, the media painter Rob Scholte is making a mural measuring eight hundred square metres. This giant commission is almost comparable to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel in Rome or Matisse’s chapel in Vence. The mural mixes naval battles of the Golden Age with more contemporary elements. The design is based on a complete collection of paintings stored in a paintbox computer.
Scholte is a specialist in clichés and copies. He is of the opinion that the mechanism of fraud is inherent in the artist himself and that the price tag is the only reality in art. No wonder that the team carrying out the assignment in Japan contains a number of artists who formerly worked for the art forger David Stein. Scholte: ‘The question of whether you are holding the original or a reproduction is not relevant. It is not the work of art itself that counts, but the image, the effect that the work of art creates in your head and in the heads of those watching it. (13) The Orange Hall of the Japanese Huis Ten Bosch Palace is the ideal place to give a fully original comment on this Utopian city which consists of nothing but casts, while employing a process of reproducing and copying.

Holland at its smallest
Dutch exporters take Huis Ten Bosch seriously. Annually, orders worth dozens of million euros are to be expected. The promotional value of the city is immense. The 75 million euros advertising budget directly benefits the reputation and the image of Holland. The Japanese will identify the Netherlands with a fairy tale city. This might explain the sceptisism with which the project is regarded in the Netherlands. Our imagination fails when it comes to understanding the Dutch Nagasaki. If we regard it as a fantasy park, we are making little Donald Ducks of ourselves. The miniature town of Madurodam in The Hague is literally of a different order. A comparison with an open air museum doesn’t work, because Huis Ten Bosch is not a place for storage of lost architecture, and it is not dependent on demolition plans for complementing its collection. Although the city is not authentic, it is real. It makes Dutch reality unreal.
The Japanese do not feel compelled to legitimize Huis Ten Bosch in the Netherlands. Kamichika: ‘It is a Dutch city, but to Japanese tastes and needs.’ Now that the project has been realized, a comparison with sister cities in the Netherlands is tempting. Differences are easily found. The wrong format bricks were used, the joints are not up to par and the houses look just too proper, which is the result of the Japanese habit of grooming the exterior to perfection. The most striking aspect is that Huis Ten Bosch consists of building blocks and not of separate buildings, and that these blocks are at times placed quite far apart. However, the similarities are more interesting than the differences. In the light of the commercial motives and in view of the Japanese background of the project, the results are admirable. Without beating around the bush it is demonstrated here what in the Netherlands preferably remains hidden, namely that the Dutch historic cityscape can be staged.
As opposed to the up-front copies in Japan there is the Dutch practice, which is becoming more and more non-transparent. On the one hand all kinds of monuments have been entirely or partly replaced by replicas. This tends to be done in a rather sneaky way, with the exception of the oeuvre of J.J.P. Oud, which was recently augmented with the Oud-Mathenesse managers site office which Sikkens placed along the motorway at Sassenheim. Complete cityscapes are staged. The Amsterdam cityscape, for example, looks more balanced and older now than it did in 1940. (14) No one notices this, so that now Huis Ten Bosch houses copies of Dutch fake, like the standard mills at Heusden, dating from 1971-1975. On the other hand, there is a tendency to focus on personal and contemporary artistic skills when carrying out restorations. As architectural historian Auke van der Woud remarks: ‘Most architects have the level of an orchestra musician at best, but they prefer to behave like a soloist. (..) To the ears of architects, principals and municipal administrators words like imitation, illusion and nostalgia have a nasty sound – the mere mention of them paves the way for yet another highly individual expression. (15)
According to the French historian Pierre Nora, the loss of tradition in our societies is countered by establishing places of memorial anchorage (‘lieux de mémoire’), to which patches of history are attached. ‘More and more of our living memory is wiped out by the present. Each day we swallow the ephemeral pill of current events. Our societies are doomed to forget. (16) The further our alienation advances, the more threatening initiatives like the Nagasaki Holland Village will become. Despite their superficiality, they are no longer to be distinguished from our (lost) traditions. And yet Heeling and Hofman do not see a direct relationship between their work in Japan and in the Netherlands. In Huis Ten Bosch they can make a boy’s dream come true. In the Netherlands, however, this fantasy is taboo, even though it is collectively professed. This leads to impossible situations. For example, Hofman is working on large hotels in the inner city of Amsterdam, such as The Grand, and at the same time on the hotels of Huis Ten Bosch, which means that in one case history can be applied in order to make a hotel, while in the other case both history and the hotel have to be constructed. For Hofman, success in Japan means coming close to the authenticity of his projects in Amsterdam, while at the same time it is obviously expected that the restorations in the Netherlands will rise way above the level of the pastiche in Japan.
The question is whether this Dutch pretension can be upheld, with the increasing number of monuments and the shriveling maintenance budget. (17) The investment in Huis Ten Bosch is 20 times larger than the reservoir of subsidy applications in the Netherlands; 60 times the annual amount tendered in respect of restorations and 115 times the subsidy budget of the Ministry of Culture. (18) Only churches are better off in the Netherlands, with one third of the available subsidies being spent on them.
Huis Ten Bosch in Japan is a utopian project, which was personified by the Netherlands. The holiday resort has lush green surroundings and very little ugliness; in the eyes of the Japanese this is exactly what is missing elsewhere in their country. Unintentionally, the project is ideally placed to emulate cities in the Netherlands: respect for copies, creative use of history, and bankers shifting billions. The success story of the motor cars and the cameras also applies to our own past. The perfect copy from Japan surpasses the original.

This article is part of an investigation into the role of monuments in the modern city, made possible through a job grant provided by Stichting Fonds voor de Beeldende Kunsten, Vormgeving en Bouwkunst (Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture), Amsterdam.

Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa closed off Japan in order to put an end to missionary activities by Portuguese Jesuits.
Laurens Jan Brinkhorst, ‘Nederland en Japan: verleden en toekomst’ (the Netherlands and Japan: past and future), in: In het spoor van de Liefde (In the wake of Love),Amsterdam, 1986, p. 7.
The authentic character of Nagasaki Holland Village was stimulated from the start by the embassy in Tokyo and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for the purpose of boosting exports as well as Holland-promotion. This resulted in a collaboration with a number of towns and cities (e.g. Hoorn) and a traineeship of architect Ito at the Netherlands Department for Conservation in Zeist. As a result of the lobby, there was little else the formal Japanese could do but to choose authenticity as their starting point.
As cultural attaché in Tokyo (1982-87), Jan de Vries was involved with Nagasaki Holland Village. He has continued to work on the project for the Export Promotion Council of the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
V.A. Groot, ‘Holland Village moet Japanners cultuurbesef bijbrengen’ (Holland Village should instill cultural awareness among Japanese), Het Financiele Dagblad 25 May 1991.
Two extensions are currently in the pipeline which should be completed in 1998. Kamichika is right now considering new cities on Omura Bay: Molenstad (Mill City) and Zeestad (Sea City).
Remark by Jan de Vries.
Kisho Kurokawa International Architecture, The Philosophy of Symbiosis, London, 1991.
Louis Couperus, Nippon, The Hague 1923.
Gary Schwartz, ‘De reuk van verf zou u vervelen’(The smell of paint would bore you), NRC Handelsblad 29 November 1991.
Jan Wolkers, ‘Rembrandt’, NRC-Handelsblad 24 January 1992.
Gijs Wallis de Vries, ‘Ontwerpende blikken op de stad, Gezichten op Venetië’(Designing looks at the city, Views on Venice), Archis 1991-5.
Arjen Schreuder: ‘Het netwerk van Rob Scholte’ (The network of Rob Scholte), NRC-Handelsblad 20 April 1990.
A. de Vries, ‘Bescherming en restauraties – hoe wordt er met de Amsterdamse binnenstad omgesprongen?’ (Protection and restorations – how is the Amsterdam inner city being treated?), Ons Amsterdam 33 (1981) nr. 7-8, p. 211-216.
Auke van der Woud, ‘Kwaliteit en Vitaliteit en de terugtredende overheid’(Quality and Vitality and the withdrawing government), introduction at the seminar of the Nationale Contactcommissie Monumentenzorg (National Contact Committee Monument Care), Hoorn, 27 March 1992.
Pierre Nora, in: Henri Beunders and Peter van Dijk: ‘Onze maatschappijen zijn gedoemd tot vergeten’(Our societies are doomed to forget), NRC-Handelsblad 9 May 1992.
The increasing financial burden in respect of monument care is caused mainly by the MIP (inventory young architecture) and the tasks arising from the Fourth National Policy Document on Spatial Planning. The budget for monument care threatens to be cut by 6%.
Government subsidies: 87 million guilders; total tendered (estimate): 170 million and reservoir of subsidy applications: 500 million guilders. Data: Rijksdienst voor de Monumentenzorg (Netherlands Department for Conservation), Zeist.

Published in: De Architect (The Architect) 1992-7/8, page 22-33