Dutch Design – what is it?

Dutch Design Week at Eindhoven
Dutch Design Week at Eindhoven

Experimental, innovative, quirky, humorous

The phrase “Dutch Design” refers to an informal artistic school of design in the Netherlands, particularly in product design. More specifically, the word refers to the design aesthetic used by Dutch designers. In 1993, the phrase “Dutch Design” was coined in Milan. At the international furniture fair, the Dutch platform Droog made a significant impression, and journalists talked about a new wave of Dutch design. There was the birth of a new movement. Minimalist, experimental, innovative, unusual, and humorous are all hallmarks of Dutch Design. The role of design is reinterpreted in futuristic designs.

Recent History

Until the 1980s, when the phrase “Dutch Design” became widespread, the Netherlands was mostly known for graphic design.

From the 1990s forwards, the phrase became strongly associated with Dutch product designers who have acquired an international reputation. Maarten Baas, Jurgen Bey, Richard Hutten, Hella Jongerius, Wieki Somers, Hester van Eeghen, and Marcel Wanders are among them, as are internationally recognised design firms and collectives such as Droog and Moooi, which have helped promote Dutch designers at significant design events such as Milan’s Salone del Mobile.

The word could be applied to fashion designers like Viktor & Rolf and architects like Rem Koolhaas and Francine Houben.

A solid educational system for designers has spurred the growth of a globally recognised Dutch design sector.

Many well-known designers have come from the Design Academy Eindhoven. Murray Moss, the owner of Moss, a Manhattan design store, described it as “without a doubt, currently the top design academy in the world” in a 2003 story in The New York Times. Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam is another well-known school.

The government’s encouragement for emerging designers is a second aspect in the development of Dutch design. The Fonds BKVB (the Fund for Visual Arts, Design, and Architecture), established in 1988, has enabled design students to start their businesses straight after graduation.


Holland.com, E. (2021, May 28). What is Dutch Design. Holland.com. https://www.holland.com/global/tourism/destinations/more-destinations/eindhoven/what-is-dutch-design.htm.

Wikipedia contributors. (2021, June 3). Dutch Design. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:45, June 23, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Dutch_Design&oldid=1026672387

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