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Different kinds of people, unity in architecture

‘De Klokkenbelt’ is one of the first retirement homes of this scale built after the Second World War. Architect Auke Komter designed the building to accommodate approximately 230 pensioners from various backgrounds. Willem Drees, the then Prime Minister, opened the facility in 1952. Drees was an important figure in the construction of the Dutch welfare state and in particular the fight against poverty among the elderly through the introduction of the Noodwet Ouderdomsvoorziening in 1947 (forerunner of the Algemene Ouderdomswet, 1956), which provided state benefits for all persons over sixty-five, regardless of their social class. This striving for social equality is visible in De Klokkenbelt, which housed people from very different walks of life. Social differences are rendered invisible by the architecture.