Sanatorium Zonnestraal

Date of Submission: 17/08/2011
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iv)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Ministry of Education, Culture and Science
State, Province or Region:
Province of Noord-Holland
Coordinates: N52 12 02 E5 09 11
Ref.: 5633
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Sanatorium Zonnestraal ('Sunray' Sanatorium) was founded as an aftercare colony to prepare TB patients for their return to society. The sanatorium complex comprises a main building, two pavilions, workshops and servants' quarters. The complex was designed by the architect Jan Duiker between 1926 and 1931. It was intended to last only as long as necessary to eliminate tuberculosis, an estimated 30 years. This was also reflected in the choice of building materials.

The sanatorium was in operation from 1928 to 1950. In 1957 it was converted into a general hospital, and since then has had a number of annexes added to it.

The design's main focus was on functionality. The idea was to create a building that would give patients plenty of fresh air and light.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

With only limited resources, Jan Duiker designed an outstanding complex. Zonnestraal has been recognised as one of the icons of the functionalist architectural movement 'Nieuwe Bouwen'. Zonnestraal is included in DOCOMOMO's list of the top 100 architectural monuments of the 20th century.

Criterion i: Zonnestraal was intended as a temporary facility, and so was built along minimalist lines. With only limited means at his disposal, the architect designed a building that has international iconic status.

Criterion ii: Zonnestraal was one of the first initiatives of the Dutch Diamond Workers' Union and is a monument to social and cultural innovation.

Criterion iv: Zonnestraal transcends the ideological and aesthetic character of the 'Nieuwe Bouwen' school of architecture. The complex combines features testifying to Dutch social and political history, and to the technology and medical science of its day.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

A start was made on the restoration of the complex in 1995. The aim is to return to Duiker's original design. The restoration is being carried out in line with World Heritage criteria and where possible, use is made of original materials.

Comparison with other similar properties

Zonnestraal inspired the construction of various other sanatoria, including the Paimio sanatorium in Finland and the Roc des Fiz sanatorium in France. The temporary intentions prompting the design and the minimalist use of building materials make Zonnestraal highly unusual.