Modern castles and country houses: the use of history in ‘gated communities’ in The Netherlands

Dewi van Veldhuizen, Sabine Meier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleProfessional


This article deals with the question of why the architecture of new gated communities includes references to built heritage. The emergence of ‘gated communities’ in the Netherlands is especially interesting because its diffusion is not primarily driven by distinct urban segregation and the gap between rich and poor. ‘Gated communities’ in the sense of exclusive communities with rigid boundaries are basically seen as ‘un-Dutch’ by the planning community and the public media. This paper examines, firstly, the local sensibilities to these residential places in the context of a strong institutional spatial planning practice and, secondly, the reasons why ‘gated communities’ were nevertheless embraced by middle-income households. These groups identify with the reference to built heritage-like walled towns and castles and use them for purposes of social distinction. Moreover, they perceive historical as a symbolic marker for like-minded fellow residents
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)818-833
JournalInternational Journal of Heritage Studies
Issue number7/8
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • built heritage
  • gated communities
  • historical references
  • residential architecture
  • netherlands


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