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BOOK

REVIEW

Architectural Guide to the Netherlands, 1900-2000 By Paul Groenendijk and Piet Vollaard. 010 Publishers, 2006. 584pp.49.50 euros (£33)

010's guides to 20th-century Dutch architecture - published both as individual books on Amsterdam and Rotterdam and as a compilation to the country as a whole - have long been a first port-of-call for anyone planning a trip to the Netherlands.

Even more so now, with the appearance of this new volume.

It incorporates material from the former Guide to Modern Architecture in the Netherlands, and retains the same elegant typefaces, but comes in a different format (portrait not landscape) and has colour photos for all its 1,000 inclusions - not the murky black-and-white of before.

Most entries occupy a halfpage, with concise descriptions in Dutch and English, but major buildings - Berlage's Exchange, the Van Nelle Factory, etc. - are treated in more depth. Maps identify locations but plans are rare. The texts tend to be polite, factual and neutral, even with such dire recent schemes as Weeber's Queens Towers in Amsterdam.

Sometimes, however, a phrase leaps out - the Maxis supermarket in Muiden has been 'renovated into oblivion' - or one can read between the lines: for instance, the 1992 town hall by Ruijssenaars which 'defies in both size and subdued monumentality the rural character of Apeldoorn'.

But if some Dutch work of the last quarter-century is problematic (and where isn't that the case? ), there are many earlier high points, and given the excellent résumés that introduce this book, it serves as a compact history as well as a practical guide.

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