Visiting the house
Address and opening hours
Jongkindstraat 12, Rotterdam
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Tuesday - Saturday: 10.00 - 17.00
Sundays and national holidays: 11.00 - 17.00
Closed on Mondays, New Year's Day, King's Day, Christmas Day
The Sonnveld House provides limited access to disabled persons. Please contact Het Nieuwe Instituut's Service Centre for more information: 010-4401200 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Adults: € 10.00
Children and under 18s: free
Friends of Het Nieuwe Instituut: free
Senior citizens / European Youth Card (CJP) / students: € 6,50
Groups of 15 or more persons: € 6.50
Rotterdam Welcome Card: € 6,50
Museumkaart, ICOM card and Rotterdampas: free
The ticket of Het Nieuwe Instituut also provides access to the Sonneveld House, and vice versa.
A free audio tour is available for all visitors to Sonneveld Museum House. During the tour you can walk through the house at your leisure and experience the modern surroundings in which the Sonneveld family lived.
In the “Lodging with Leonard” audio tour, children can discover Sonneveld Museum House in a playful manner. Leonard, the grandchild of Mr and Mrs Sonneveld, takes children on a voyage of discovery as he shares with them all the secrets of the house. Children also receive a small suitcase containing items that illustrate Leonard’s story.
Group visits are limited to 15 visitors a group and at least one mentor per 15 students. Students (to 18 years) and mentors have free admission to the house. Please announce your visit in advance to the Service Centre. Information and reservations via 010-4401200 or email@example.com
Huis Sonneveld is a house museum where museum pieces such as precious glassware and works of art form part of the interior. The Nieuwe Instituut has opted not to place these objects in showcases in order not to disrupt the atmosphere in the house and to create as authentic an interior as possible. Instead, the most precious objects are protected with sound alarms that go off when someone gets too close. We ask that you take the vulnerability of the house, interior and objects into account and respect the house rules that serve to maintain and protect them.
- Wearing slippers over your shoes is required.
- Coats and bags must be stored in the lockers or on the coat hook.
- Cabinets and doors may be opened but keep sufficient distance from the works of art and other objects.
- Please do not touch the objects. The slightest contact could result in damage.
- Eating and drinking in the house is not permitted.
- You may take photographs but not with a tripod.
- Phone calls are not permitted.
- Be considerate of other visitors.
- Follow the instructions of the staff.
Please be aware that CCTV is used throughout the house
Sonneveld House Museum
Sonneveld House Museum, situated on the edge of Museumpark in Rotterdam, is one of the best-preserved homes built in the Dutch Functionalist style. It was designed in the 1930s by architecture office Brinkman and Van der Vlugt, renowned for the Van Nelle Factory and Feyenoord Stadium. They also worked on the interior in close collaboration with W.H. Gispen. Sonneveld House shows how a prominent Rotterdam family embraced modernism, and how that choice coloured their everyday surroundings. The interior has been enriched with art and utensils acquired through donations, purchases and loans. A ‘designer-in-residence’ programme invites contemporary designers to respond to the house and interior with present-day design interventions.
Sonneveld House, which enjoys national heritage status, was opened to the public in 2001 after undergoing restoration work to recreate the original condition of the house and interior. Sonneveld House has, however, enjoyed a long history and been home to various residents. Above all else, the museum had to reconstruct the house of the Sonnevelds and offer a glimpse of how they lived there at the time. The benchmark for the restoration was therefore the condition of house when it was completed in 1933. Alterations made to the house while it was occupied by the Sonneveld family were also regarded as authentic. All alterations made after the family’s departure have been reversed.
Role of the archive
The original condition of the house can be traced almost entirely from records held in the collection of Het Nieuwe Instituut, including those of the architects Brinkman and Van der Vlugt. The records include a series of detailed interior drawings of all rooms in the house. Moreover, the personal archive of the Sonneveld family and the business archive of W.H. Gispen contain vast amounts of useful information about daily life in the house and about the interior. As a result, and owing to colour research carried out inside the house, it was possible not only to preserve the house but also to reconstruct it meticulously, including the original colour scheme, soft furnishings and furniture.
Thanks to the Sonneveld heirs, almost half of the furniture, lamps and utensils are originals dating from 1933. The heirs have loaned their family archive to Het Nieuwe Instituut, which responsible for the management of Sonneveld House. This archive contains not only objects that belonged in the house but also a wealth of information about the occupants, in the form of documents, correspondence and photographs. All this material is administered by a foundation called Stichting Beheer Interieur Huis Sonneveld (BIHS), set up by Leonard Kooy, the grandchild of Albertus and Gesine Sonneveld. This foundation is also dedicated to sourcing and acquiring original items.
During and after the restoration of Sonneveld House in 2001, the condition of the interior when it was completed in 1933 was recreated as faithfully as possible. This was largely achieved with objects owned by the Sonneveld heirs, among them items of furniture and lamps, as well as personal belongings acquired by the family when they lived in the house from 1933 to 1955. Photographs and other historical material confirm the presence of these objects in the house, enabling as complete a reconstruction as possible of the original interior. In some cases replicas have been made according to original designs. For example, the tea trolley in the dining room has been remade on the basis of drawings from the archive of architects Brinkman en Van der Vlugt.
In addition, art and design from the 1930s, in particular glasswork, have been added to enliven the interior of Sonneveld Museum House. Although not among the original contents of the house, these objects could easily have graced the interior, given the preferences of the family, or because they blend harmoniously with the style of the house or the spirit of the times. Examples include the canary yellow breakfast service by H.P. Berlage and Piet Zwart on the dining table, a tea service, and various vases on loan from the National Glass Museum.
Sonneveld Museum House is a member of the Iconic Houses Network. The Iconic Houses website offers an overview of modern museum houses and houses belonging to architects all over the world that are open to the public. The organisation also serves professionals responsible for looking after museum houses and aims to share knowledge and expertise on conservation, programming and public outreach. See the special focus on Sonneveld Museum House on the Iconic Houses website.
Sonneveld Museum House
Owner: Stichting Volkskracht Historische Monumenten, Rotterdam
Management: Het Nieuwe Instituut
Restoration 2001: Molenaar & Van Winden Architecten
Refurbishment: Het Nieuwe Instituut.
With special thanks to Stichting Behoud Interieur Huis Sonneveld (BIHS) and Leonard Kooy, and to the National Glass Museum in Leerdam for the loan of objects.
Concept development, picture and text editing: Het Nieuwe Instituut
Photography: Johannes Schwartz (unless otherwise stated)
Graphic design: Marc Hollenstein
Interaction design: Thomas Bircher
Technical aspects: Hoppinger
The management of Sonneveld House and the completion of the website were made possible through financial contributions from
Stichting Volkskracht, Rotterdam
Stichting Volkskracht Historische Monumenten
Film and photo shoots
Thanks to its exceptional colours, purity of style and authentic interior, Sonneveld House is very suitable as a setting for film and photo shoots. Sonneveld House can, in principle, be hired exclusively on Mondays only, without the presence of visitors. Exceptions can, however, be made in special circumstances.
For more information, prices and enquiries about availability, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 010-4401200.