DDW 2022 Centre Kazerne MagneticMoment
© Boudewijn Bollmann via DDW

New Dutch

A different perspective of the Netherlands

Country of innovation

It’s in our DNA

The core of our existence

The Netherlands is a country of innovation. Of course, our beautiful old cities, remarkably rich history, and unique waterworks are at the core of our existence, and without windmills, canals or tulips, the Netherlands wouldn’t be the country it is today. But the funny thing is that those old cities, picturesque canals, and extraordinary waterworks were created thanks to our innovative spirit.

Canal in Leiden

Our canals were created after we learned how to be proper traders. Tulips turned out to be a very popular export product. And the windmills? Well, they’ve ensured our existence in many ways.

Aqueduct Veluwemeer, aerial view from the drone. A sailboat sails through the aqueduct on the lake above the highway Harderwijk

A cradle of creativity

These Dutch icons, many of which are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, are admired at home and abroad, but at the same time our contemporary, innovative culture is gaining popularity and acclaim. Shaped by our DNA of innovation, a new generation of Dutch people is setting new standards in the fields of design, art, and architecture.

Woudagemaal Lemmer

This new Netherlands is not limited to the Randstad metropolitan area. Cities such as Eindhoven, Arnhem, and Groningen are hotbeds of creativity and innovation, with issues such as sustainability and functionality as core values. The Dutch always look to the future and ask how we can make things a little better. We do this for ourselves and for the world. It’s all about innovation that benefits everyone.

Dutch Design in perspective

Inside of train station Arnhem

Come and experience New Dutch yourself

Dutch Design: groundbreaking Netherlands

The question behind the question


WATERLICHT on Slot Loevestein

Dutch Design is characterized by its sleek, minimalist, and unconventional aesthetics. It is innovative and often sustainable, for example by recycling and upcycling items or materials and giving them a new lease on life. Sometimes it has a humorous slant, but more often it is useful and groundbreaking.

The Dutch try to give design a purpose. Dutch designer Thijs Biersteker combines art with science to create awareness for our climate problems. The Drift and Roosegaarde studios convey a similar message through the use of light and the movements of nature. Micro-organisms and fungi are central to the futuristic work of bio-designers Emma van der Leest and Teresa van Dongen.

96,000 artists in the Netherlands

New talent

Here’s what Martijn Paulen, director of the Dutch Design Foundation, says about design with a purpose: “In the past, someone would design something and then show it. Today it's: 'How can I use my creative abilities to help the world?' In short, the starting point is no longer someone's own urge, but rather the issue at hand.”

Good examples of this can often be found at the Dutch Design Week, an annual event in Eindhoven that focuses on progressive works mostly by young talents.

Giant orange shuffle board Dutch Design Week 2022

For example, Brekr, a young Doetinchem start-up in electric mobility, was one of the standouts of the event in 2019. Their 'Brekr Model B', the first electric moped in the world, won the prize for Good Industrial Design. What made the electric Model B stand out is its design, with its batteries hidden where the gas tank would normally be.

And of course electric vehicles do not have noisy motors, meaning they’re practically silent when whizzing through the streets at high speed. Because that can be dangerous, Brekr developed sound effects when accelerating and braking.

First electric motorbike Brekr Model B

Fashion: a major role in the new Netherlands

Arnhem is the new Paris

The Netherlands: Fashion country

Fashion by Iris van Herpen

When we talk about fashion, we think of Milan, Paris, New York and… Arnhem. You might not be aware that fashion plays a very important role in the Netherlands today, and Arnhem, the capital of the Gelderland province, is at the heart of it. Not only did Arnhem host the Mode Biënnale for many years, it’s also home to ArtEz, a highly renowned University of the Arts with a particularly extensive fashion department. World famous fashion designer Iris van Herpen started her career in fashion here.

Innovation is one of the most important spearheads of the Dutch fashion industry: from Anouk Wipprecht's tech-enhanced dresses to Pauline van Dongen's 'Zonnestof' (solar fabric), a brand new fabric with thin-film solar cells woven into it. On the world stage, Iris van Herpen's exquisite creations are worn by superstars such as Beyoncé and Lady Gaga.

Did you know?

That for most Dutch people clothes need to be practical because of their bicycles?

Sustainable design

As with many other Dutch designs, sustainability is a topic of conversation, as evidenced by the fully circular Mud Jeans and the Fashion for Good-platform, which aims to reduce waste and transform the industry.

Fashion for Good by Myrka Studios

Many of these types of designs are usually featured at Amsterdam Fashion Week, an internationally-oriented event where all kinds of new forms of fashion are on display.
Visit Arnhem

Example of Fashion for Good Platform, the Good Fashion Fund x Pratinha Syntex Limited

Traditional Netherlands proves our innovative power

  • Our tip for 'The Delta Works'

    Aerial photo of delta works Oosterscheldekering Zeeland
    Category: Read

    Delta Works

    The world’s largest storm surge barrier is in Zeeland. The Delta Works is a series of unique structures designed to prevent a flood disaster such as the one the Netherlands experienced in 1953.

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  • Our tip for 'Amsterdam’s Canals'

    Keizersgracht in Amsterdam
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    The Canals of Amsterdam

    A trip to the Netherlands wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Amsterdam and its picturesque canals. But they are not just there for their looks. There is real history behind them. Those canals are there for a reason…

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  • Our tip for 'Flevoland'

    Lady takes photo of Land Art Flevoland Antony Gormley's Exposure (also called: the squatting man)

    This province, located near Amsterdam, is regarded as the largest land reclamation project ever. The Netherlands was in dire need of space, so a beautiful new piece of land was created over a period of decades.

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Architect of the future

Sustainable buildings

Modern and exciting

Forget about the famous canal houses and windmills for a moment. Contemporary Dutch architecture is modern, exciting, and increasingly sustainable. As an innovative country, we successfully insert a great deal of creativity into our constructions (except for a period in the 1970s when we developed apartment buildings to cope with the growing population).

For example, architectural firms OMA and MVRDV have shaped the skyline of Rotterdam with special sustainable buildings such as the Markthal and the mirror-clad Depot Boijmans van Beuningen. They are internationally renowned firms that are involved in projects as far away as Ecuador and the United States.

Cyclist at rainbow square for Boijmans van Beuningen

Rejuvenating old buildings

But they are not alone. On the contrary, modern buildings can be found all over the Netherlands. Consider, for example, the floating farm in Rotterdam, the first floating farm in the world. In Groningen, science and culture come together in the contemporary Forum building, while in Eindhoven the vertical forest of the Trudo Tower reaches for the sky.

Forum Groningen

Funnily enough, old factory buildings are also a sign of innovation these days. Instead of tearing it all down, creative architects and entrepreneurs are refurbishing these buildings in a sustainable way, so that the new generation can also benefit from them. Examples include the Werkspoor cathedral in Utrecht, the Werkwarenhuis in Den Bosch, and the Hembrug area in Zaanstad.

Werkwarenhuis in Den Bosch

Three extraordinary buildings

  • Our tip for 'Floating farm'

    Floating Farm Rotterdam
    Category: Read

    Something unique: a floating farm

    Dozens of cows live and graze on a unique, floating farm in Rotterdam equipped with a milking robot, spacious stalls, and an automatic feeding belt. Want to know the best part? The Floating Farm is as self-sufficient and circular as possible.

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  • Our tip for 'Depot Boijmans van Beuningen'

    Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen is an art depot of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. It is the world's first publicly accessible art depot, with more than 151,000 collected works of art stored, arranged, and structured in 14 depot spaces with five different climates.

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  • Our tip for 'Trudo Tower'

    Green building in the Strijp-S, the creative city in Eindhoven

    The Trudo Tower in Eindhoven is one of the finest examples of green high-rise buildings. Because each loft has a balcony with greenery trays, the Trudo Tower has room for no fewer than 125 mature trees. More than 5,200 shrubs and plants, including climbers and hanging plants, grow and bloom in and around the tower. This creates a green oasis of up to 70 meters high. It’s a unique location in the bustling Strijp-S, the innovative district of Eindhoven.

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