Dutch Architecture in Britain

British architecture has for centuries been influenced by the Dutch. Many buildings up and down the country but most notably in London and the Eastern Counties display instantly recognisable Dutch design features. Due to East Anglia's long historic links with the Netherlands from its weaving and fishing industries, architectural styles occasionally transferred to this side of the North Sea. For example, many houses in Norfolk were designed with traditional Dutch gables.

Dutch Architecture & Historic Sites
There are also fine examples of Dutch architecture on much larger scale in the UK. The Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and the Banqueting House. There is a strong connection to the Netherlands as a result of the joint monarchy of William III and Mary II. In particular Hampton Court Palace was transformed into a baroque palace during this period to sit alongside the Tudor one. There are also connections at the Banqueting House which saw the offering of the Crown to the Prince and Princess of Orange (the future King William III and Queen Mary II) which took place on 13th February 1689. William was an asthmatic and when in London he preferred then cleaner air of his new palace at Kensington. Kew Palace was built in 1631 by Samuel Fortrey, a merchant of Dutch origin, and this is clear to see with its many Dutch design features, including of course its red brick Dutch gables and large, tall windows. Elsewhere in London, Kensington Palace was the main residence of joint monarchs King William III and Mary II. William was a Dutchman and missed his home country greatly, so converted it into as close to a Dutch palace and gardens as possible. William III was himself a Prince of Orange and remained a Dutchman his whole life despite reigning over England and Ireland. A statue of him still stands there and the palace is an immaculate example of grand Dutch architecture in Britain. In these palaces there are many opportunities to explore the links between the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. For more information please visit the Historic Royal Palaces website.

Dutch architecture is not only predominant in the South East of England. Ellys Manor House in Lincolnshire is an example of an early 16th century Low countries renaissance building, built by merchants trading wool between England and the Low Countries, and remains a beautifully preserved example of the Low Countries renaissance style in Britain.

Examples of Dutch architecture are still being built in the UK today. Many significant building projects have been undertaken by Dutch architects. Many social housing schemes are informed by Dutch organisations, where intelligent social housing schemes are highly developed and the Netherlands is a world-leader.
In addition, major public buildings in Britain have been built by Dutch architects. For example, the Bluecoat Arts Centre is a key monument in Liverpool city centre and was recently refurbished and largely extended by a Dutch architectural firm.