The Dutch creative industry is currently gaining considerable international acclaim and has particularly strong profiles in interior design, gaming, fashion, and architecture.

Strong in linking creativity with business

2005_kubuswoningen2_jpFor centuries, Dutch creativity has inspired and informed. Geniuses, such as Dutch Masters Rembrandt and Van Gogh transformed the world around them. Today’s masters include iconic figures such as fashion designers Viktor & Rolf, architect RemKoolhaas, illustrator Dick Bruna and DJ/producers Armin van Buuren and Tiësto. They exemplify the strengths of Dutch design: pragmatic, open-minded, conceptual, out-of-the-box, and adhering to the principle ‘less is more’.

Today, Dutch creativity is producing pioneering architecture, design, music, TV, gaming and fashion. Rotterdam is the city of architecture and urban design. Eindhoven, the technological heart of the nation, is home to the Design Academy, declared the ‘School of Cool’ by Time Magazine. Delft hosts the largest and oldest academic programme in industrial design. Utrecht is home to the Gaming Institute and Amsterdam is a creative melting pot of communication, interactive design and fashion. The ArtEZ Institute of the Arts in Arnhem is known for its Fashion Biennale and internationally successful fashion designers.

Key aspects and strengths

  • Dutch architects have been awarded prestigious contracts such the design of the Guggenheim Museum in Las Vegas, the Gazprom headquarters in Russia, Governors Island in New York, the Dalian Football Stadium in China and the Seattle Public Library;
  • There is a long tradition of interior design in the Netherlands, epitomized by GerritRietveld’s designs for living;
  • The Netherlands is known for its integrated approach to urban development and building projects. In addition to architectonic design, the spatial design, aspects of sustainability and social context are taken into account;
  • Dutch TV producers have claimed prominent positions in the world’s channels with original formats, including Deal or No Deal, So You Wannabe a Pop star and Big Brother;
  • Dutch designers are strong in visual communication, particularly in typography, packaging design and signposting at major airports like Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and New York’s JFK;
  • A crucial strength of the Dutch gaming sector is the wide-spread adoption of broadband (2nd-highest penetration level worldwide) and mobile technologies. The Netherlands also has one of the most active online game markets in Europe, accounting for 35 percent of total spending. The Netherlands also has a leading position in serious gaming for applications in many businesses, industries and in education;
  • The Netherlands is a pioneer in the area of dance music and large dance events.

Facts and figures

  • The Netherlands is home to some 57,600 designers, of which, almost three-quarters work in the commercial services industry;
  • There are some 1,300 fashion designers in the Netherlands;
  • The Netherlands is the 2nd-largest exporter of television formats in the world;
  • In 2011, the value of Dutch music exports was more than 100 million euros.


*Sources: HollandTrade, UNCTAD, CBS, BumaCultuur

Useful links: – Trade association of Dutch designer; – Dutch Platform for Design and Fashion;  – Royal Institute of Dutch Architects; – Association of Dutch Interior Architects (Dutch language only); –  Trade association for fashion, interior design, carpets and textiles; – Dutch Fashion Foundation; – Dutch Design Fashion Architecture programme; – Foundation for the promotion and support of Dutch music copyright; – Dutch Games Association (Dutch language only).

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