Art / Design /

The Netherlands, for Creative Types

The Dutch are known for an experimental and minimalist approach to design, and have long been champions of the pared-down look.

1. Legendary Design Movement

De Stijl (The Style) is a century-old Dutch artistic movement that embraces the simple aesthetics found in geometric forms, perpendicular lines, and primary colours–essentially a departure from Art Deco’s extravagance. Spearheaded by painters Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian, De Stijl searches “for the universal, as the individual was losing its significance” and is depicted in the realms of art and design.


2. Must-visit

In addition to exhibitions, many large museums in Amsterdam are noteworthy architectural works themselves. The new extension of the Stedelijk Museum is an outlandish but refreshing addition to the original 1895 building by architect A.W. Weismann. The glossy white structure by Benthem Crouwel Architects resembles a spaceship approaching landing, hovering above the street.


3. Kool but not Collected

Rem Koolhaas was born into a world recovering from the Second World War. Koolhaas’s parents relocated to Indonesia after its independence, when the country was finding a new identity post colonization and post war. Here, Koolhaas was exposed to urban planning and redesigns. He is now one of the most established architects of the 21st century, shaking the world with his postmodernist works like De Rotterdam and CCTV headquarters in Beijing.


4. What You Should Attend

Each October, Eindhoven welcomes 300,000 visitors to its annual Dutch Design Week, the biggest design event in Northern Europe. This year will centre on Designs of the Future.


5. Everyone’s Talking About

National King’s Day Celebration on April 27. King Willem-Alexander turns 50 this year and festivities are expected to attract tens of thousands with costs ranging in the millions. A great time to visit Amsterdam.


6. Product Designer to Watch

Dutch textile designer Mae Engelgeer’s work is minimalist with a playful spin and colourful geometric shapes and linear elements. She designed STILL, a collection for Forbo Flooring System and their Flotex product, a high-tech flooring solution that pairs the gentleness of textile with the durability of concrete.


7. Instagrammable Spot

What’s a trip to Holland without a touristy picture by a windmill? Visit Kinderdijk, a village in Southern Holland and a UNESCO World Heritage Site with 19 windmills dating back to the 18th century.

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