Creative industries

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The Dutch creative industry is currently gaining considerable international acclaim and has a particularly strong reputation in interior design, gaming, fashion, and architecture. Creative companies develop exiting new ideas, products, services, systems, strategies and work methods. Creative companies are able to look at complex issues and social issues in new and refreshing ways. This allows creative businesses to develop high-quality innovations of controversial and popular products and services.

Embracing risks that leads to unpredictable outcomes

There is an idiosyncratic mentality particular to the Creative Industry in the Netherlands whereby, rather than seeking safety, risks are embraced, in creative processes that lead to unpredictable outcomes. This relates strongly to the out-of-the-box thinking that was necessary to imagine, design, and construct workable solutions on a grand scale, necessary for living in a vulnerable delta region. Designers, architects and engineers are all very skilled, for example, in coming up with solutions to urbanization and water security. The Creative Industry thinks in terms of flexibility. It thinks outside the conventional lines and is accustomed to cooperation and collaboration across different domains and makes valuable contributions to solutions for societal issues such as healthcare, safety, and energy. It also acts as a catalyst for innovation in all other industry sectors. This creative innovation process is prized for the added value it can bring to many different types of products or projects, across the board. This provides Dutch industries with a competitive advantage worldwide.

5 ways the Dutch creative industry astonishes many

1. Combining creativity and business

For centuries, Dutch creativity has inspired and informed. Geniuses such as Dutch masters Rembrandt and Van Gogh transformed the world around them. Today’s masters include iconic figures such as fashion designers Viktor & Rolf, architect Rem Koolhaas, illustrator Dick Bruna and DJ/producers  Armin van Buuren, Tiësto, Hardwell & AfroJack. They exemplify the strengths of Dutch design: pragmatic, open-minded, conceptual, out-of-the-box, and adhering to the principle ‘less is more’.  Dutch design also embodies innovation, creativity and business acumen. Dutch creative thinking demonstrates that creativity can make businesses more innovative, attractive, competitive and prosperous.

Read more about the Dutch world of fashion

2. Pioneering in different areas all around the country and beyond

Today, Dutch creativity is producing pioneering architecture, design, music, TV, gaming and fashion.

  • Rotterdam is the city of architecture and urban design.
  • Eindhoven, the technological heart of the nation, is home to the Design Academy, declared the 'School of Cool' by Time Magazine.
  • Delft hosts the largest and oldest academic program in industrial design.
  • Utrecht is home to the Gaming Institute.
  • Amsterdam is a creative melting pot of communication, interactive design and fashion.
  • Arnhem’s ArtEZ Institute of the Arts is known for its Fashion Biennale and internationally successful fashion designers.
Creative hubs in The Netherlands
Label NaamgevingLabel Data
AmsterdamAmsterdam is a creative melting pot of communication, interactive design and fashion.
ArnhemArnhem’s ArtEZ Institute of the Arts is known for its Fashion Biennale and internationally successful fashion designers.
DelftDelft hosts the largest and oldest academic program in industrial design.
EindhovenEindhoven, the technological heart of the nation, is home to the Design Academy, declared the 'School of Cool' by Time Magazine.
RotterdamRotterdam is the city of architecture and urban design.
UtrechtUtrecht is home to the Gaming Institute.
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3. A long tradition in design

There is a long tradition of interior design in the Netherlands, exemplified by Gerrit Rietveld's designs for living. Dutch designers are strong in visual communication, particularly in typography, packaging design and signposting at major airports like Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and New York’s JFK.

Read more about Dutch design

4. Prestigious Dutch architecture all around the globe

Dutch architects have been awarded prestigious contracts such the design of the Guggenheim Museum in Las Vegas, the Gazprom headquarters in Russia, Governors Island in New York, the Dalian Football Stadium in China and the Seattle Public Library. The Netherlands is known for its integrated approach to urban development and building projects. In addition to architectonic design, the spatial design, aspects of sustainability and social context are taken into account.

Read more about Dutch architecture

5. Original and well-known TV formats & an active Online Gaming industry

Dutch TV producers have claimed prominent positions in the world's channels with original formats, including Deal or No Deal, So You Wannabe a Popstar, The voice, Idols  and Big Brother. A crucial strength of the Dutch gaming sector is the wide-spread adoption of broadband (2nd-highest penetration level worldwide) and mobile technologies. The Netherlands also has one of the most active online game markets in Europe, accounting for 35 percent of total spending. The Netherlands also has a leading position in serious gaming for applications in many businesses, industries and in education. The Netherlands is also a pioneer in the area of dance music and large dance events.

Read more about the Dutch online gaming industry

A strategic programme for the Dutch creative sector

The Dutch Design Fashion Architecture (DutchDFA) was a four-year strategic programme (2009-2012) aimed at strengthening the international position of Dutch design, fashion, and architecture, by building long-lasting international partnerships and focusing on topical issues and local demand. As a follow-up to DutchDFA, the Creative Industries Fund NL administers a four-year internationalisation programme for the Dutch creative sector (2013–2016).  This happens in close collaboration with the main DutchDFA partners, united in The New Institute and the Dutch Federation of Creative Industries.

Get to know the variety of Dutch art through this video:

In Going Dutch, Mark van Eeuwen shows the wide variety of artists in The Netherlands. Many Dutch artists enjoy international succes in both Fashion, Design as well as Architecture.