Berend Reinders (1825-1890), stadsarchitect van Zwolle van 1855 tot 1875
The office of town architect developed through the centuries. From the late Middle Ages the town architect, who was addressed as ‘stadsbouwmeester’ until 1777, occupied himself with designing buildings and supervising the town workmen. At the end of the eighteenth century the office went through an important change. The stress of the office no longer lay on designing buildings. Instead the town architect occupied himself with all sorts of building activities and advisory tasks.
From the early twentieth century new changes took place. The town council changed the name of the town architect regularly, which nearly always had to do with a change in the public works service. In the middle of the twentieth century the office of town architect had changed to such an extent that he no longer acted as town architect employed by the town, but as town and country planner and civil technologist.
Reinders's tasks were different from those of the twentieth-century functionaries. Reinders occupied himself with civil architecture, hydraulic engineering, the purchase of materials, town planning as well as being responsible for the town workmen. What all the town activities amounted to was that the town architect went in discussion with people of all walks of life in order to come to a conclusive solution for all parties.
In the first instance the main issue was that a proper settlement of affairs was most profitable for the town, especially in the sphere of finance. The town council of Zwolle was not only advisor by giving the town architect commissions and seeking publicity on the recommendation of the town architect (mostly in technical questions), but the council also operated as inspector by inspecting the entire town works, on the basis of the accounts of the town architect, through written as well as verbal clarification.