Each October, the Dutch Design Week takes place in Eindhoven—a city in the north Brabant region of the Netherlands. One of Europe’s biggest design events, the festival includes over 2,500 designers and welcomes international and regional visitors for a series of exhibitions, debates, lectures and other special events.

At the Dutch Design Week, you’ll find thousands of experimental and futuristic designs. Stumbling through the main exhibition areas, there are presentations on robotics, on futuristic cities, on furniture, food, art and everything in between. (And more than a few things that you can’t even imagine because they’re so out-of-this-world.)

With over 400 events planned at this year’s Dutch Design Week, the whole thing can be overwhelming. Each year, the DDW takes on a particular theme (2017: “Stretch”) which encourages both participants at the event and the public to break out of their comfort zone. A lot of the designs and exhibitions I saw didn’t necessarily reflect the theme, but I’d say after spending three full days exploring the festival, my mind was stretched. (Sorry for the cheesy pun.)

An Introduction to Dutch Design Week - Travels of Adam - https://travelsofadam.com/2017/10/dutch-design-week

What is Dutch design?

Thanks to a rich history of graphic artists and creative thinkers—from the period of the Dutch Golden Age to the modern day, the Netherlands has always had a solution-oriented approach to the world’s problems. There’s a bit of unconventionality to Dutch design, while remaining rooted to the core functionality of a product or goal.

Dutch Design Week is a showcase of contemporary designs reflecting the core beliefs of Dutch design.

Dutch Design Week Highlights

With thousands of events at Dutch Design Week, even spending the full week exploring the city makes it nearly impossible to see it all. There are a few important highlights, however—exhibitions and spaces that are easy to enjoy no matter your level of interest in design. A few tips, to start though: use the program guide. It’s a map of Eindhoven and an outline of all the spaces you need to know about. Use a marker to map out where you want to go and plan accordingly. Below were some of my favorite highlights from this year’s Dutch Design Week:

• • •
The People’s Pavilion

An Introduction to Dutch Design Week - Travels of Adam - https://travelsofadam.com/2017/10/dutch-design-week

In the heart of the Strijp-S area, the People’s Pavilion is a free spot to enjoy Dutch Design Week. Seminars, roundtable discussions and other presentations take place there, but equally interesting is the building’s architecture. The temporary structure was built on Ketelhuisplein using all recycled materials—many of which were collected locally in Eindhoven. There’s a shimmering effect to the plastic shingles that makes the building slightly mesmerizing to look at.

More information: ddw.nl

• • •
Piet Hein Eek

An Introduction to Dutch Design Week - Travels of Adam - https://travelsofadam.com/2017/10/dutch-design-week

One of the Netherland’s most prominent designers, the Piet Hein Eek concept store, gallery, shop, and restaurant has an expanded exhibition space during the Dutch Design Week, though year-round it’s a great place to explore contemporary Dutch design.

More information: pietheineek.nl

• • •
Kazerne

An Introduction to Dutch Design Week - Travels of Adam - https://travelsofadam.com/2017/10/dutch-design-week

The gallery and restaurant features contemporary work of international top talents. An exhibition on now, “May I Have Your Attention Please?” by Maarten Baas takes center stage. (But don’t forget to enjoy a meal or a drink at Kazerne, too — the food is delicious, all local/organic and you can’t find a better environment, one surrounded by art and design!)

More information: kazerne.com

• • •
Van Abbe Museum

An Introduction to Dutch Design Week - Travels of Adam - https://travelsofadam.com/2017/10/dutch-design-week

One of Europe’s most interesting contemporary art museums, the Van Abbe features an exhibition by the Design Academy Eindhoven during Dutch Design Week. Several of the artists have their studios or work shown elsewhere in the city, but the curated exhibition in the Van Abbe is a nice overview of Dutch design. And the permanent collection of modern and contemporary art is impressive

More information: vanabbemuseum.nl

• • •
AtelierNL

An Introduction to Dutch Design Week - Travels of Adam - https://travelsofadam.com/2017/10/dutch-design-week

One of the DDW ambassadors, designers Lonny van Ryswyck and Nadine Sterk run the small design studio AtelierNL out of a former church. Their collaborative art project, “To See A World in a Grain of Sand” is an effort to map the world using collected sand sent by people from around the world.

More information: ateliernl.com

• • •
Yksi Expo

Twenty-five innovative projects, presentations and projects are shown as part of the Yksi Expo, just next to the Dutch Design Foundation headquarters in Strijp-S. The expo and shop offers a preview of approachable designs from the STRETCH theme.

More information: yksiexpo.nl

• • •
Design Academy Eindhoven – Graduate Show

An Introduction to Dutch Design Week - Travels of Adam - https://travelsofadam.com/2017/10/dutch-design-week

Over two floors of large open space, 2017 graduates from the Design Academy Eindhoven present their final projects. Hundreds of young designers and its own unique theme (2017: “Mining”) make for a whole lot of inspiration. The graduates are often standing there next to their work, offering explanations, answering questions.

More information: designacademy.nl

• • •
VPRO Media Lab

An Introduction to Dutch Design Week - Travels of Adam - https://travelsofadam.com/2017/10/dutch-design-week

Located in a former warehouse, the VPRO Media Lab features several innovative exhibitions. Most instagrammable is the “We Know How You Feel” exhibition which uses lasers and biosensors to create colorful representations of your feelings. Next door is the exhibition space part of Dutch Invertuals — also worth seeing for a peek inside a designer’s studio.

More information: vpro.nl/medialab

• • •
Modebelofte

An Introduction to Dutch Design Week - Travels of Adam - https://travelsofadam.com/2017/10/dutch-design-week

Located in a the former V&D department store, the Modebelofte area focuses on fashion in design and technology. Colorful fashion designs mix with robotics and digital technology exhibitions to create a space that’s equally inspiring, spooky, and oddly beautiful.

More information: modebelofte.com

• • •
Sectie-C

An Introduction to Dutch Design Week - Travels of Adam - https://travelsofadam.com/2017/10/dutch-design-week

In the east of Eindhoven (but accessible by bus or taxi), Sectie-C is an artist studio complex. Year-round, artists and designers work in this space to create, but during DDW, Sectie-C opens its doors and the studios put their works on showcase. Notable is the Precious Plastic exhibition by Dave Hakkens which is an open source, DIY process to help fight plastic pollution from the bottom up.

More information: sectie-c.nl

Dutch Design Week takes place annually each October in Eindhoven. Tickets for all DDW events start at 19€ per person (book online). It’s the largest design festival in northern Europe and an important showcase for Dutch and international designers. The event coincides with the World Design Event, also taking place in Eindhoven each year.

More information: ddw.nl

My visit to Dutch Design Week was supported and sponsored by VisitBrabant. Learn more about the Brabant region, and explore other activities, festivals, and things to do in Brabant here.

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Travels of Adam - It's a blogLooking for a place to stay? I use HotelsCombined.com where you can easily compare hotel room rates and prices. Please note some posts do make me some money but I never sacrifice my integrity in exchange for a favorable review. Read the full disclosure policy.

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  1. Great tips, thank you for sharing it!

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