Bureau Venhuizen is a project management and research bureau in the field of culture-based planning. It focuses on settlement and planning processes in spatial planning, taking culture as its point of departure. In this context, culture is broadly understood as cultural history, heritage, architecture and art, but also as the ensemble of contemporary culture among a region’s residents. Bureau Venhuizen investigates the possibilities for culture to play a role in the design of space. The bureau’s methodology is based on the re-use of existing landscape-related and cultural qualities and translating these into the contemporary context to achieve a marriage of past, present and future. In this manner, new (cultural) landscapes and urban areas in our constantly changing environment can develop an identity that is not contrived all of a sudden, but drawn from a more natural continuum.

Bureau Venhuizen calls this methodology concept management, because besides the design and supervision of spatial processes, ‘giving rise’ to content during the process plays an important role. The bureau develops concepts from which innovative solutions for spatial tasks arise which can differentiate the (future) planning process. The procedure begins with the exploration of the ambitions of the commissioner and the investigation of the context within which the task is to be accomplished. What are the opportunities, possibilities, problems and demands? To this end, an inventory of spatial, political, economic, cultural and social developments is drawn up. Essential data, such as cultural-historical qualities or contemporary phenomena, are then coupled with spatial developments so that cultural concepts can be developed for future planning. These concepts form the basis for (design) projects in which solutions for a spatial ‘settling’ of cultural qualities are elaborated further. Finally, promising design proposals are guided through an implementation path towards an optimum integration in the planning process. Depending on the task, Bureau Venhuizen develops projects in the form of a competition, as with the culture-based planning projects Geest en Grond (Soul and Soil) and Amfibisch Wonen (Amphibious Living), the research project Wo ist der Bahnhof?, a small-scale spatial design assignment Dudok voor beginners (Dudok for beginners), the supervision of design processes such as Wapla, or as a game-based method like The making of, which serves as an impulse to think up innovative plans for spatial issues.

Bureau Venhuizen involves specialists from a whole range of disciplines in its projects, for example (landscape) architects, urban planners, artists, designers, researchers and policy-makers. The concept manager, who is responsible for the process with regard to content, draws on the advice of the commissioner, informants, designers, jury members and other assessors. Bureau Venhuizen operates nationwide, and its clients include provincial and municipal government bodies as well as organizations involved in spatial planning, art and culture. The bureau was established in 1999 by Hans Venhuizen, who acts as concept manager in the planning processes.

The vision of Bureau Venhuizen for culture-based planning and for the role of concept management in spatial processes is illustrated using a number of texts. For example, ideas about an overt application of culture in spatial planning are articulated in Voorheen culturele planologie (Formerly culture-based planning). On the importance of a well managed process when searching for continuity in cultural history, there is Een authentiek ontstaansproces (An authentic genesis). Hans Venhuizen describes the outcome of this methodology within the Geest en Grond (‘Soul and Soil’) project in Streek zoekt zandhagedis (Region seeks sand lizard). These texts are included in the Geest en Grond publication.

In the Bureau Venhuizen brochure, the methodology is described on the basis of the projects Amfibisch Wonen / Amphibious Living (2000), The making of Mheenpark (2003), and Geest en Grond / Soul and Soil (2003-2004). This brochure can be downloaded (
Bureau Venhuizen, PDF 450 kB) or requested by e-mail: