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Modern Communal Living in the Netherlands

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Craving not just a home but a proper piece of architecture, a handful of design- and business-savvy Dutch families banded together, hired an architect, and set about forming the community that would net them the houses of their dreams.

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  Seen here from the south, Villa van Vijven’s orange facade is meant to mimic the tiled rooftops of Holland’s country buildings, while the building’s horizontal pull echoes the flat landscape. The second-floor living rooms look out on the 4,200-square-foot communal garden, one of only two shared spaces in the whole community. Bob Krone, Koos Sweringa, and Marianne Schram stroll the grounds.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Seen here from the south, Villa van Vijven’s orange facade is meant to mimic the tiled rooftops of Holland’s country buildings, while the building’s horizontal pull echoes the flat landscape. The second-floor living rooms look out on the 4,200-square-foot communal garden, one of only two shared spaces in the whole community. Bob Krone, Koos Sweringa, and Marianne Schram stroll the grounds.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  Marianne Schram reads in her bedroom while her husband, Koos Sweringa, looks in from the stairs below.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Marianne Schram reads in her bedroom while her husband, Koos Sweringa, looks in from the stairs below.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  Nineteen-year-old Yvette Sweringa arrives at the villa by bike.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Nineteen-year-old Yvette Sweringa arrives at the villa by bike.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  Paula van Dijk (left) poses with her sister, Vera.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Paula van Dijk (left) poses with her sister, Vera.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  Thijske Noordhoek relaxes in her study-cum-bedroom.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Thijske Noordhoek relaxes in her study-cum-bedroom.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  Five-year-old Thomas Dochter plays outside the houses.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Five-year-old Thomas Dochter plays outside the houses.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  Bob Krone and Paula van Dijk go for a walk while Lucas and Jillis Noordhoek lounge on the grass. Their parents, Jacquelien and Cees Noordhoek, chat farther to the right.  Photo by: Dean KaufmanCourtesy of: Dean Kaufman
    Bob Krone and Paula van Dijk go for a walk while Lucas and Jillis Noordhoek lounge on the grass. Their parents, Jacquelien and Cees Noordhoek, chat farther to the right.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

    Courtesy of: Dean Kaufman

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  Johan Bouwmeester built a library out of oak.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Johan Bouwmeester built a library out of oak.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  The communal entrance beneath the building is known as the “public square”; sisters Tessa and Anne Bouwmeester and a friend set off on their bikes.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    The communal entrance beneath the building is known as the “public square”; sisters Tessa and Anne Bouwmeester and a friend set off on their bikes.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  Van Dijk's framed pictures stacked on the floor form an impromptu point of visual interest.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Van Dijk's framed pictures stacked on the floor form an impromptu point of visual interest.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  Koos Sweringa and Marianne Schram putter in the kitchen.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Koos Sweringa and Marianne Schram putter in the kitchen.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  Yvette studies in her bedroom. The use of different colors for the various walls was inspired by the orange exterior.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Yvette studies in her bedroom. The use of different colors for the various walls was inspired by the orange exterior.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  In addition to the public garden, each unit has its own private plot.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    In addition to the public garden, each unit has its own private plot.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  Cees, Jacquelien, Jillis, Lucas, and Thijske Noordhoek gather on the lawn; Andy Dochter looks out of the window while his wife Miriam stands on the terrace with sons Thomas and Vincent.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Cees, Jacquelien, Jillis, Lucas, and Thijske Noordhoek gather on the lawn; Andy Dochter looks out of the window while his wife Miriam stands on the terrace with sons Thomas and Vincent.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  Despite the communal nature of their living arrangement, the residents of Villa Van Vijven, like Miriam Dochter, maintain that they still lead very independent, private lives.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Despite the communal nature of their living arrangement, the residents of Villa Van Vijven, like Miriam Dochter, maintain that they still lead very independent, private lives.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  The communal entry has a large house number, 28 in the case of the Bouwmeester/Blokius family, to distinguish it from its neighbors.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    The communal entry has a large house number, 28 in the case of the Bouwmeester/Blokius family, to distinguish it from its neighbors.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  Villa Van Vijven cuts a truly remarkable figure, a striking orange figure on the otherwise flat green landscape.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Villa Van Vijven cuts a truly remarkable figure, a striking orange figure on the otherwise flat green landscape.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  The Noordhoek family is the biggest at Villa Van Vijven and they make use of the ample green space outside.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    The Noordhoek family is the biggest at Villa Van Vijven and they make use of the ample green space outside.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  Thomas and Vincent Dochter lounge in the living room of the blue apartment.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Thomas and Vincent Dochter lounge in the living room of the blue apartment.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  Bob Krone and Paula Van Dijk pose in front of their built-in bookcase. They live in the red unit.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Bob Krone and Paula Van Dijk pose in front of their built-in bookcase. They live in the red unit.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  The nearby lake makes for a pretty setting, especially when framed by Villa Van Vijven's orange facade.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    The nearby lake makes for a pretty setting, especially when framed by Villa Van Vijven's orange facade.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  Outdoor chores like gardening and landscaping fall to the residents. The entryway's orange glow is magnificent when lit by the sun.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Outdoor chores like gardening and landscaping fall to the residents. The entryway's orange glow is magnificent when lit by the sun.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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