New prospects for sustainable construction with ­ceramics in the Netherlands

Successful “Building Ceramics ­Conference” in Amsterdam

The “Building Ceramics Conference” organized on 19 April by the Dutch Ceramic Association VKO (Stichting Verenigde Keramische Organisaties) and SBR (Stichting Bouwresearch) comprised an extensive programme of papers. In the Roders Wijnterminal, a historical warehouse, around 170 architects, project developers, employees of construction firms and engineering offices, students and industry representatives attended the event to find out the latest news from the ceramics industry. The papers were accompanied by an exhibition of ceramic producers and service companies so that attendees could obtain information direct from the manufacturers.

Dr. Dick Tommel, ­Chairman of VKO, welcomed the guests, expressing the hope that the attendees would leave the conference with many new insights. He ­emphasized that it is very ­important for VKO to champion everything that supports the future of the ­ceramics industry.

With reference to a number of architecture examples, Jos van Eldonk, Soeters van ­Eldonk Architecten, discussed the dialogue between people and buildings. Brick architecture in particular can delight people with a variety of design possibilities, be it with reliefs, joint or lintel design, with different brick bonds, prefabricated brick elements, etc. It was important, he said, to make a town vibrant so that people like living in it. With impressive before- and after-examples, e.g. Gouda Town Hall or “Kessler Stichting” in Den Haag, he underpinned his theories.

A very interesting talk on building in the Netherlands was given by Dr. Nico Rietdijk, Secretary of the Netherlands umbrella association for project developers and building contractors (NVB). You can read the paper, which discusses the influences on property construction at

The well-known architect Marlies Rohmer (Architectenbureau Marlies Rohmer) hit the nail on the head: as an architect, you have to build for the next generation! Particularly important to her is the anchoring of the structures in the social context. A beautiful example were, she said, the ­Amsterdam ­canal side houses, where people enjoy sitting together in front of their front doors. In most cases these are patchwork models of old and new buildings that fit in and harmonize with each other. With the Amsterdam multicultural centre, Rohmer presented a successful example of how a wide range of requirements had been skilfully met under one roof.

In the afternoon, the topics of “sustainability” and “innovation” were discussed in two sessions. Prof. dr. ir. Anke Hal, TU Delft/Nyenrode, emphasized, for example, that not only the context of the construction sector was changing, with new standards and business models. The pursuit of “sustainability” and the demand to create “quality” influenced construction. The most important question was, she said, always: “What do people want?”

Martin Jansen, Architecten Alliantie, reported on the building of passive houses and presented the principles of these as well as the requirements that these must meet.

Successful projects with new building ceramic products were presented by Jurgen van Staaden, Santman Van Staaden Architecten. Examples of this are the Click-Brick system from Daas Backsteen or vertically laid facing bricks.

The use of recycled tiles was the topic addressed by Erik Slangen, Koppert + Koenis Architecten, and José Maase, Koninklijke MOSA. They presented the cycle from raw material back to the raw material and enlarged on the topic of “CO2-free building”.

Prof. dr. Jacqueline Cramer, RUU/UCAD, appealed to the attendees to be cons­ciously sparing in their use of energy and raw materials. One of the most important challenges of the 21st century was, she explained, ecological and effective production. Even in countries like China, India, Brazil, etc. a trend towards sustainability could be registered. It was necessary to switch from defensive to innovative behaviour, this included aspects such as cost reduction, increasing the market share and innovation, reducing risks and distribu-ting products or services. All this were the basis for innovations in building ceramics, which can look back on a long tradition.

To conclude the conference, Dr. Johann van de Gronden, director WWF The Netherlands, presented the “symbiosis of building and nature”.

During the concluding buffet reception, attendees had the opportunity to talk in greater depth about the different papers.

Dipl.-Ing. Anett Fischer


Related articles:

Issue 8/2015

Construction materials manufacturers in the Netherlands demand fair competitive conditions

A level playing field Both at home and in Europe, KNB has stressed the importance of a fair competitive position time and time again. The lack of a tax exemption for gas usage in the mineralogical...


23.03.2011 News: ‘’Dag van de Bouwkeramiek; van duurzaamheid tot tactiliteit’’

Op dinsdag 19 april a.s. organiseert VKO samen met Stichting Bouwresearch (SBR) in Amsterdam eenmalig een spectaculair congres: ‘’Dag van de Bouwkeramiek; van duurzaamheid tot tactiliteit’’....

Issue 5/2016 Royal Dutch Association for Building Ceramics (KNB)

Dutch ceramic industry optimistic about 2016

The Royal Dutch Association for Building Ceramics (KNB) is the association for the entire Dutch ceramic industry. Nationally and internationally, the KNB represents the shared interests of this...

Issue 5/2020

Ceramic industry in the Netherlands facing challenging times

Challenges The national Climate Agreement and the European Green Deal, both introduced in 2019, place the Dutch industry for facing bricks and clay pavers, roofing tiles and ceramic wall and floor...

Issue 12/2009

Town houses in Lelystad, Netherlands

The town houses stand in a new build development directly behind the Ijsselmeer-Markermeer dyke. Prominent in the design of these semi-detached houses is their two-colour masonry and plain roofing...