As with all generalizations it is hard to put your finger on what characterizes Dutch Design. Normally, the design is described by words such as minimalism, innovative, experimental and quirky.
Some like Chris Kabel, Professor at the world famous Design Academy Eindhoven, argue that Dutch Design is 'down to earth and practical'. Explained by the country and its environment.
The Netherlands is a country that is functional because of necesity. The country is a small delta state. The Dutch have battled the rising sea and waters of Europe's great rivers for centuries. Functional, practical yet small. Early nationhood in the 17th century inspired an independence and individualism that can be seen in the clarity and simplicity of Dutch Design.
At the turn and start of the 20th century artists such as Mondrian, Rietveld and Berlage were influential. In the 1990s functionality no longer was primary and conceptual, artistic design was prominent. Designers such as Macel Wanders, Hella Jongerius and Jurgen Bey came to fame.
The education system has greatly contributed to the rise of the Dutch Design School. The Design Academy was rated the best in the world by the New York Times in 2003. Amsterdam's Rietveld Academy is prominent pillar of the Netherlands system. These institutions encourage cross disciplinary work fussing design influence.
Today you can see all of this influence. Some say the Dutch Design characteristics have changed as they must. The new generation strive to differentiate themselves and bring their personality and face to the design world. Exciting times lie ahead.
If you are in Amsterdam and wish to explore Dutch Design come on a specialty sightseeing tour conducted by an expert design guide, Amsterdam Design Tour: What makes it Dutch?
When in Amsterdam...enjoy!
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