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City of Light

In 1921, Frederik van Eeden unveiled his plans for founding a utopian state in the book Het Godshuis in de Lichtstad (The House of God in the City of Light). The architect J. London (1872-1953), a friend of Van Eeden, designed the architecture for this scheme. Like Berlage's Pantheon of Mankind and De Bazel's World Capital City, it constituted a plea for the unity and brotherhood of peoples and was simultaneously a memorial to the horrors of the First World War.

The design is a grandiose, symmetrically planned city with a "Middle Temple" at its center, built in an Oriental style. The City of Light was to be built on an island surrounded by water on all sides and so protected from perdition. It would be a sovereign city state in which all worldly powers would be represented.

Van Eeden wrote, "What Delphi was for Hellas and Mecca is for Islam, the great Temple of Brotherhood and the City of Light built around it will be for all mankind. [...] Thus the City of Light, which actively seeks equilibrium, will be the first harmonious, happy human city. Taking this as my starting point, I must conclude that the City of Light will not be a Utopia, nor an unreachable ideal, but is demanded by humanity: to build it in this wonderful twentieth century, unmatched in its brilliance, just as the war has been unmatched in its horror."


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