The Netherlands and Kuzbass: Mutual Heritage

The collaboration between Kuzbass and Dutch experts began in 1996. Architects and urban planners of the Foundation for Architectural Analysis (STAG) and Delft University of Technology came to Kemerovo to study the architectural heritage of Johannes Van Loghem. The Dutch architects offered their assistance in the restoration of Van Loghem’s buildings. What started as a restoration project became a large-scale long-term development strategy for the whole Krasnaya Gorka neighborhood. The project was to be included in the general plan of urban development and involved restoration of historical monuments and revival of the local communal, economic and cultural life.

Together, museum specialists, historians, architects, and students of Russian and Dutch universities did a great job.

In 1996 we held the first Kuzbass-Netherlands Cultural Festival. It involved an exhibition dedicated to Van Loghem and a seminar on architecture for 30 Dutch students from Delft University and students from Kemerovo universities.

In 1996 – 1997, Russian specialists and the Dutch researchers Jan Molema, Marijke Kuijpers, and Rudolfina Eggink studied the houses designed by Van Loghem.  

In 1997, Kemerovo TV organized a week of Dutch documentaries about Russia.  

In 1998, Kemerovo TV broadcasted a 39-part historical show called The Amsterdam Channel. It was about the history of Dutch – Russian relations from Peter the Great to present days.

In 2000, the STAG Foundation modernized the concept of the annual almanac of local history called The Krasnaya Gorka.

In 2001, Ambassador of the Netherlands paid an official visit to Kemerovo. During his stay, Tiddo P. Hofstee signeda Protocol of Intent in the sphere of cultural cooperation between the Embassy of the Netherlands and the Administration of the Kemerovo Region. As a sign of consolidation, a symbolic monument was installed on the territory of the museum at the site of the future monument of the Autonomous Industrial Colony Kuzbass.

The project was supervised by Peter Van der Toorn, the head of the STAG Fund, Jan Molema from the University of Delft, and Marijke Kuijpers from the Dutch Public Heritage Service.

They organized 4 seminars for architects and cultural heritage conservation specialists. Dutch students came to Kemerovo to study Van Loghem’s houses while Kuzbass architects went to the Netherlands to share experiences. Dutch specialists gave lectures for Russian students and academicians. In 2001, Dutch and Russian students conducted a full architectural survey of the “sausage” houses, and in 2005 – of the school.

In 2005, Kemerovo journalists made a documentary called For a New World. The project was financed by STAG and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The museum owes the Dutch Embassy and the Advisor on Education, Science and Culture Thimen Cauvenaar for a number of cultural events.

In 2008, they funded an exhibition of modern Dutch art called The Dutch Landscape.

In 2009 – 2010, museum specialists and local architects went to the Netherlands to study new trends in restoration and re-use of architectural monuments.  

In 2009, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Culture, Education and Science of the Kingdom of the Netherlands signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on the preservation of mutual cultural heritage.

In 2010, STAG financed the summer school Landscape Architecture and Design of the Urban Environment-2010, which was held on the museum premises. Specialists from architectural and design studios of the city attended lectures and workshops under the guidance of Prof. Peter van der Toorn Vrijthoff (AvB BNA, STAG chairman) and the graphic designer Jelle van der Toorn Vrijthoff (Director of Total Design, President of the International Academy of Graphic Design in 2006-2007).

As a result, Van Loghem’s buildings obtained the status of cultural heritage objects, as the Siberian Institute of Restoration designed the protection zones for the territory of Krasnaya Gorka (2008). The school was included in the list of Dutch cultural heritage abroad.

In 2010, the Krasnaya Gorka Museum obtained a grant from the Dutch Ministry of Science, Education and Culture within the frameworks of the program of Joint Cultural Heritage of Russia and the Netherlands. The goal was to create a restoration project for the school building and provide it with comprehensive documentation. Ultimately, the school was to re-join the local urban infrastructure. The project was developed by the Siberian Institute of Restoration (Sibspetsproektrestavratsiya, OJSC).

In 2011, the city of Kemerovo celebrated the 90th anniversary of the Autonomous Industrial Colony Kuzbass. The event was visited by grandchildren of the colonists: Jan Dirk Rutgers and Ilze Rutgers, grandchildren of the AIC director Sebald Rudgers; sons and grandchildren of AIC vice-chairman Begemann; the daughter of Koos and Nell Vis, Marcella, with her grandson Elko. They met descendants of the colonists who chose to stay in Kemerovo. The celebration resulted in multiple historical publications, TV and radio projects, public events for adults and children.

In 2012, the local theatre for young spectators staged Comrade One Crutch – a play based on a book of adventures published by Ruth Kennell, who had worked as a secretary for the Colony.  

The year of 2013 was declared the Year of the Netherlands in Russia and the Year of Russia in the Netherlands. The Krasnaya Gorka hosted the exhibition Life in Built Ideals dedicated to the Amsterdam School of Architecture. A picturesque bilingual catalog was published to commemorate the event. The opening ceremony was attended by Alice Roegholt, the director of the Het Schip Museum (Amsterdam), and designers Krista Jongsma, Alfonsina Reudeker and Anna-Rosa Stichter.

In 2013 – 2014, filmmaker Peter Aud spent several weeks in Kuzbass to shoot a documentary about Van Loghem and his architecture. The film is to be released in 2020.

2015 saw another visit from the Dutch Ambassador to discuss the matter of further collaboration to preserve the mutual architectural heritage.

In 2017, the museum was visited by a delegation of Dutch specialists headed by the current Dutch Ambassador, Mevr.Rene Johns-Bos. The delegation included Alice Roegholt from the Het Schip Museum and Ida de Kat van Meurs, the cultural adviser of the Embassy.  

In the summer of 2018, the museum was visited by one of the grandchildren of Tini Schoorl-Straub, the author of Een Beetje Vrijheid.

In 2018, the museum hosted the premiere of the documentary Bouwen te Midden van Eenzaamheid directed by Pim Zwier. The film told the story of Johannes Van Loghem and his wife. It was designed to promote the archives of the International Institute of Social History. One of the filmmakers, Gijs Kessler, gave several lectures about the story behind the film.

The story of our cooperation with the Netherlands is 20 years old. Together we strive to preserve our mutual cultural heritage. Official visits, conferences, restoration projects, films and exhibitions help to attract public attention to the main objective of our work: to preserve the remains of Russian-Dutch heritage located 5,000 km from Amsterdam in the Siberian city of Kemerovo.