For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!

All over the world, people are building their own homes. Sometimes this stems from a strong personal desire, at other times it follows from necessity. The Right to Build presents a snapshot of iconic, diverse types of self-build which have manifested themselves in Amsterdam and Almere in the past ten years. These initiatives are mirrored with international examples from the same period. The exhibition focuses on the tension between personal initiatives and regulations.

Detail Summary
Start date 28 June 2019
End date 8 December 2019
Slow tourism


In the past ten years, there has been a great deal of experimentation in the field of self-build in Amsterdam and Almere. This has not only resulted in unique single-family houses, but also in terrace houses from catalogues, collectively realised housing complexes, and complete area developments.

After decades of social individualisation, self-build now also offers the consumer space for personal expression in the field of living. But is there still space for self-build now that the city is growing and densifying under high pressure? Do we have the right to realise our own living area, and to what extent can or must a government stimulate or regulate this type of city development?

The Amsterdam Architecture Centre will be temporarily transformed into a real self-build area and will illustrate this discussion by examining twelve projects, among which are the floating neighbourhood Schoonschip, the ADM terrain, Palais Récup and Almere Oosterwold.

To add inspiration to the discussion about the upcoming ten years of self-build, architecture firms KRFT, LOA and SLA have been invited to develop a vision for the future of the phenomenon. What kind of contribution can self-build offer to the 250,000 extra houses which are needed in the Amsterdam metropolis region? Who is allowed to build what, and what kind of city should result from this?

Side programme

During the exhibition The Right to Build, there will be an extensive side programme with lectures, research meetings and discussion evenings. Speakers include Adri Duijvesteijn and many others.

25 September - The Right to Build Politics (Dutch)

The right to build requires political will power. Residents, renter or owner, should have the right and opportunity to shape their own choices regarding housing. During this evening at Arcam, Carel Weeber addresses the importance of free choice in today's and the future's housing situation. In this day and age of individualisation, the need for self build and collective housing initiatives is growing. Adri Duivesteijn will use his political experience to discuss the opportunities and limitis to self build and stresses the growing importance of housing corporations. Gerrit Kramer and Federico Savini will introduce the debate. 

For more information (Dutch) and tickets click here.


Partners and financers

‘The Right to Build: self-build between dreams and reality’ was developed following from an initiative by the University of Amsterdam, and was arranged with the help of René Boer and Mark Minkjan (Failed Architecture).

The exhibition was realised in collaboration with the University of Amsterdam, Hogeschool van Amsterdam, Centre for Urban Studies, University of Sao Paolo, Mark Minkjan and René Boer (Failed Architecture), Architecture Atelier Tomas Dirrix and Team Thursday.

It was made possible financially in part by Van Eesteren-Fluck & Van Lohuizen Foundation and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.


The exhibition will be showcased at the Architectuur Centrum Amsterdam

Prins Hendrikkade 600
1011 VX Amsterdam