Tomas Haupt - May 30, 2011

The Dutch town of Hilversum may not be the largest or most popular of towns, however, it is an unrivalled multimedia metropolis as well as a much admired haven of modern architecture.

The town of Hilversum is located in the Gooi area in the Netherlands; it may not be grand in size, however, its reputation as the capital of media and broadcasting is well known. As a multimedia capital of the country, Hilversum is a very modern and vibrant place with an international atmosphere and energy.

What shapes the character of the city the most, is local modern architecture and open air art, which attract enthusiasts from all over the world. Many architecture experts would agree that Hilversum is the life’s work of the renowned urban architect William Marinus Dudok.

Between 1915 and 1949, the face of the city transformed completely. W. M. Dudok designed a great number of buildings, and inspired many others. His work is a distinct mix of styles, influenced by New Objectivity, and stretches from residential blocks to schools; however his much admired masterpiece is the Hilversum City Hall. Finished in 1931, it fascinates many by its bizarre shape as well as color.

Tourists get a unique chance to sneak an insider’s peek on Sundays, when a guided tour starts at 2PM here. Sadly, it is conducted in Dutch, but the guides are willing to switch into English on occasion.

Another architectural masterpiece added in 2006 is the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in the Media Park. Its extraordinary design which features half of the building underground, won the Dutch Golden Pyramid Award. A tribute to functionalism is the Sanatorium Zonnenstraal and the hotel/theater Gooiland, designed by architect Duiker.

Hilversum is the city of fascinating modern architecture as well as open-space art and those who feel like a bit of fresh air will enjoy hiking in the surrounding forests and natural zones.

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