1923: Horiguchi meets the Amsterdam School

From 15 September through 22 October 2023, Amsterdam School Museum Het Schip will present an exhibition devoted to the Japanese architect Horiguchi.

100 years ago - on September 29, 1923 - the recently graduated Japanese architect Sutemi Horiguchi visited the newly completed social housing complex Het Schip. The building immediately drew great interest among urban planners and architects from many countries, but in Horiguchi's homeland the complex and the Amsterdam School movement remained unknown.

At the time, Japan was not very attentive to the fact that architecture could be art. Horiguchi, however, was in fact very interested in the cohesion between these two concepts was developing in Europe. Back in Japan, he learned about the Wiener Secession (1898) and the Beurs van Berlage (1903). During his studies, he had founded the Bunriha movement with a group of fellow students in 1920 centered around the question, "Can architecture be art?

A memorable acquaintance

His father paid for a trip through Europe after his graduation. He left by steamship and once he reached land, he continued to travel by train. On one trip to Amsterdam, he met a man who could tell him all about cutting-edge architecture. This is how he first came into contact with the Amsterdam School in the expansion districts of the time.

During his trip he visited many countries, but of all that he had seen, the Amsterdam School had touched him most deeply. Once back in Japan, he therefore published a book about the movement in 1924. This book, documented with beautiful photographs by Bernard Eilers, made a deep impression in Japanese professional circles. He wrote: "Here all the workers live in beautiful buildings like palaces or museums. Homage to the municipal government!". Former residents of the Ship recall that Japanese tourists came to see the Ship in its early years.

Remarkably, Horiguchi also took photos himself in 1923, including the only interior photos from that time - so far - found of the post office of The Ship.

His special visit will be celebrated 100 years after the fact with an exhibition about Horiguchi. Focusing on his enthusiasm for the Amsterdam School as an architectural and art movement, which he saw reflected especially in the construction of workers' housing. In addition, the exhibition shows how the inspiration found its way into his own architecture.


Workshop | Museum Het Schip X Ikuya Sagara: building a thatched artwork

 Workshop rietdekken Ikuya Sagara

Have you always wanted to work on a life-sized work of art? This is your chance! During this workshop, you will build an impressive dome made of thatch with guidance from Japanese thatching artist Ikuya Sagara and Yuko Taage. This unique workshop takes place exclusively this weekend and spots are limited, so be quick!

 Lezing Curator Vertelt Horiguchi

The curator speaks | 1923: Horiguchi meets the Amsterdamse School

Accompanying the exhibition '1923: Horiguchi meets the Amsterdam School', a weekly lecture will be held exploring the unique visit the Japanese architect paid to the Netherlands, and how he ended up falling head over heels for the Amsterdam School.

Note: this lecture is given in Dutch by default. There is an English spoken edition on 3 October. You can request a private lecture in English or Japanese by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Coming soon: publication 100 years after Horiguchi's visit 

 Boek Horiguchi Bunriha Amsterdam School

Sutemi Horiguchi, Bunriha and the Amsterdam School

In 1923, Japanese architect Sutemi Horiguchi toured Europe and visited the Netherlands. He was the main founder of the Bunriha movement that wanted to change Japanese architecture. Horiguchi was very impressed with modern Dutch architecture, and the Amsterdam School in particular.
This book will be published in English.

The exhibition 1923: Horiguchi meets the Amsterdamse School was supported by:



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