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Digital Museum of Public Housing and Aedes Archive

In honour of the centennial anniversary of the Housing Act, the IISH was commissioned to compile a digital museum of public housing in 2001. The foundation consisted of the archives and the photograph collection of Aedes, the umbrella of housing construction associations.

The web site features the chief developments in Dutch social housing construction in the twentieth century. The century of public housing began with the Housing Act of 1901. This act introduced quality standards for construction and regulated government funding for municipalities and housing construction firms. The resulting developments consisted of stereotypical townhouses, as well as suburbs, blocks of flats and working-class estates, which is most of the housing that surrounds us today.

Fifty-one projects were selected for the new web site: five housing development projects typical of each decade, representing a national cross-section wherever possible. Each project presented features background information and five images. Viewers select housing by period, as well as by project, place, street, province, year, housing construction association and architect or a combination of these criteria.

The Digital Museum is linked to the Museum Het Schip web site, which is the Information and documentation centre for public housing in Amsterdam. Guided tours and exhibitions are organized at Poste Restante, which is located at the former post office in Het Schip. The programme council Wij wonen - 100 jaar Woningwet, is a collaborative effort between the City of Amsterdam, the Stedelijke Woningdienst Amsterdam and the districts, with financial support from the Amsterdamse Federatie van Woningcorporaties.

The aim is to increase the number of projects considerably in the next stage.

Much of the photograph collection and the records of the Aedes housing corporations association have been entrusted to the IISH. These are the archives of both predecessors, the Nationale Woningraad (NWR, established in 1913) and the Nederlands Christelijk Instituut voor Volkshuisvesting (NCIV, established in 1983 and operating as a federation since 1971). At the end of 1998 they merged to form the Aedes organization. The archive of the NWR is vast (ca. 215 metres) and has been arranged provisionally in an individual filing system. One fascinating section contains an extensive series of reports, articles of association and correspondence with the affiliated housing construction associations since its establishment. The archive of the NCIV (which spans about 100 metres to date and is not finished yet) is far less well arranged and also comprises material from various Protestant and Catholic predecessors. Arrangement of these archives is scheduled to begin in 2002.