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For the series Surprising Finds from the Collection archivist Alfred Marks selects on the basis of a theme extraordinary drawings, photographs, objects and models from the archive of Het Nieuwe Instituut. The presentations don’t necessarily show the highlights of the Dutch architectural history, but especially the richness, diversity and narrative power of the collection. Previous editions were Monuments to Peace, The Netherlands Builds in Brick, Nightbirds and Summer Dreams.

#1 Summer Dreams

Summer Dreams is about sun, vacation and leisure. Drawings, models, photographs and other documents show how the Dutch spent their leisure time in the last century: outside in the sun, in the city, on the water, or in nature. From designs for swimming pools, summerhouses and luxury holiday resorts, to travel sketches and drawings of all that grows and blossoms.

#2 Nightbirds

Nightbirds descends into the night-time world of bohemians and night owls. How did architects over the past century manage to capture in their drawings the bustle as the audience gradually files into a theatre? What mood do their sketches conjure up of a café or club? And does any drawing depict the loneliness of the city, the emptiness after the party?

#3 The Netherlands Builds in Brick

The Netherlands Builds in Brick modifies the assumed triumph of modernism in the period between the two world wars. Drawing on two collections of photographs from the archive, it shows that brick remained a favoured construction material, even for experimentation.

#4 Monuments for Peace

In 2015, the Netherlands commemorates its occupation seventy-five years ago and celebrates its liberation seventy years ago. Monuments to Peace presents both realised and unexecuted designs for war memorials from the archives of Het Nieuwe Instituut.