Willem F. van Bodegraven

1903 (Rotterdam) - 1992 (Amsterdam)


"Progress means experimenting, and experimenting, even when done by the most skilful hands, means doing a certain amount of non-productive work and experiencing quite a bit of failure."

Willem Franciscus van Bodegraven was born in Rotterdam on 23 November 1903. He studied architecture under the architect and town planner Cornelis van Eesteren. Beginning in 1929, he produced designs for rattan furniture at the Hochschule für Handwerk und Baukunst Weimar. After Wilhelm Frick of the Nazi Party took power as the Minister of Public Education for Thuringia, van Bodegraven returned to the Netherlands in April 1931. In 1933, he became the spokesperson for the Dutch architectural group at the Congrès Internationaux d´Architecture Moderne (CIAM) in Athens, which was about the "functional city". In May 1940, his studio was destroyed during a German bomb attack on Rotterdam.

During the German occupation, van Bodegraven supported the distribution of the illegal newspaper De Waarheid ("The Truth"). In February 1942, he was arrested by the security service and, following detention in the Amersfoort camp and the Oberhausen police prison, he was taken to Buchenwald Concentration Camp, where he was freed on 11 April 1945.

After returning to Amsterdam, van Bodegraven participated in further CIAM conferences, remained a member of the avant-garde architectural group De 8, and designed buildings for housing estates, social housing, hospitals and industry.

Willem van Bodegraven died in Amsterdam on 28 September 1992.