Dutch Design merges high-distinctive forms with functionality

Dutch design enjoys worldwide renown thanks to its originality and functionality, blending creativity with innovative technology. Dutch designers are making a mark with everything from furniture and fashion to automobiles and appliances.

Creative Industries Fund

'Dutch Design' is gaining widespread popularity all over the world and has become synonymous with quirky, out-of-the-box thinking, application of new technologies, highly-distinctive forms and far-reaching involvement with the (experience of) end users.

The design sector in the Netherlands maintains a highly-respected status within Dutch culture and falls under the umbrella of the greater creative industry.  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.

The central goal of the fund and the partners is to strengthen the sustainable position of the three Dutch design disciplines (design, fashion and architecture) abroad, both economically and culturally, and to promote cross-sectoral cooperation.

Key aspects and strengths

The Netherlands is particularly strong in product design, where an individual designer’s vision is often the key focus, such as Marcel Wanders, or via the work of collaborative initiatives such as Droog Design, and is also strong in the field of high-quality design services (BNO). Design management is also highly developed in the Netherlands. Concrete examples of these products and services include:

  •     Interior products, such as furniture and lighting
  •     Graphic design, brand design, typography and illustration
  •     Signposting/Wayfinding (Airports, Railway Stations)
  •     Designs for public spaces, incl. street furniture
  •     Design of medical equipment
  •     Mobility design, incl. bicycles and recreational yachts
  •     Design for museums and exhibitions
  •     Interactive design: incl. gaming, serious gaming, web design, viral movies, and animation
  •     Communications design, such as for government public information campaigns (i.e. Tax Administration)
  •     Complex visual identities for public organisations such as ministries and municipal governments.

Facts & Figures

  • In 2013, the Dutch creative sector comprised 130,550 companies. This accounts for 10% of the total number of companies.
  • More than 285,000 people are employed in the creative sector the majority in the creative services branch.
  • In 2013, the added value was estimated at € 16 billion. This is about 2,8% of GDP.
  • The focus export country for design is Germany in 2015. The export of products and services to Germany contains € 530 million a year.