Duikers’ Open Air School: Re-Use or Contin-Use?


  • Sander Nelissen
  • Mariël Polman Cultural Heritage Agency of Netherlands image/svg+xml





Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Modern housing


Even more than eighty years after its inauguration in 1930, Jan Duiker’s ‘First Open Air School for the Healthy Child’ in Amsterdam remains in use as an elementary school for the education of children between 6 and 12 years old. The building has recently undergone substantial restoration works, including some changes that were necessary to keep up with current regulations. Some 1950s interventions have been retained which posed particular challenges regarding the colors and finishes. The clear cut appearance of the building seems to ignore the complexity of the design decisions that had to be made to grant this building a second lease of life. Restoration architect Sander Nelissen (Wessel de Jonge architects, Rotterdam) and architectural paint researcher Mariël Polman (Cultural Heritage Agency) worked closely together on the restoration of the building and its interior.

How to Cite

Nelissen, S., & Polman, M. (2012). Duikers’ Open Air School: Re-Use or Contin-Use?. Docomomo Journal, (47), 34–41. https://doi.org/10.52200/47.A.4LYGANH7







Author Biographies

Sander Nelissen

Graduated from the Technical University of Delft in 1993. He is increasingly involved in the restoration and re–use of Modern Movement (and other) heritage, currently at Wessel de Jonge architects (Rotterdam, The Netherlands). Their work includes the Van Nelle Factory and Duikers’ Zonnestraal and Open Air School.

Mariël Polman, Cultural Heritage Agency of Netherlands

Graduated in 1992, having her doctorate from the Technical University of Delft with the thesis The Colours of the Modern Movement in the Netherlands during the Interbellum Period. Materialization of an Ideal, 2011. She is a specialist in Color and Painting at the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands and a freelance architectural paint researcher at POLMAN Colour & aArchitecture, Amsterdam. Her work includes the Van Nelle Factory and Duikers’ Zonnestraal and Open Air School.


Duikergroep Delft (J. Molema e.a.), Jan Duiker, Bouwkundig ingenieur. Constructeur in Stuc en staal, Rotterdam, Stichting Bouw, 1982

Netherlands Architectuur Instituut (NAi), Duiker archief, Rotterdam

Fischer, Suzanne; Polman, Mariël, Eerste Openluchtschool voor het gezonde kind. bouw–en kleurhistorisch onderzoek, not published. Oegstgeest/Amersfoort, 2009.

Megens, L.; Keijzer, M. de; Bohan J., Cultural Heritage Agency (formerly ICN), Kleuronderzoek aan de Eerste Openluchtschool aan de Cliostraat te Amsterdam. 2009–050, not published. Amsterdam. 2010


www.verbouwingopenluchtschool.blogspot.com (all the photographs of the restoration)