Nieuwe Instituut and Netherlands’ Board of Government Advisors present 'Designing the Netherlands: 100 Years of Past & Present Futures'
Exhibition marking the 100th anniversary of the National Collection of Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning places the legacies of design and planning in dialogue with the needs of the present and future.
23 November 2023
From December 9, the exhibition Designing the Netherlands: 100 Years of Past and Present Futures can be seen at Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam.
The exhibition is curated in collaboration with the Board of Government Advisors - the independent advisory board on spatial quality for the Dutch central government - and celebrates the rich history and potential futures of architecture, spatial planning and design in shaping the Netherlands.
At a time when housing, ecological and social challenges are at the forefront of national debate, the exhibition marks the 100th anniversary of the National Collection of Dutch architecture and urban planning, which is held by the Nieuwe Instituut, presenting important historical precedents alongside new design proposals.
Together, they offer much-needed inspiration for how architecture and planning can provide new visions for the country.
In response to societal challenges such as climate change, housing, energy transition, and social justice, the spatial planning of the Netherlands is once again in the spotlight for governments, architects and the public. With Designing the Netherlands, Nieuwe Instituut and the Dutch Board of Government Advisors celebrate the long and influential tradition of architecture, spatial planning and design in the country, searching for answers to the current urgencies.
How did designers of the past deal with the challenges of their time? What solutions did they envision, and what world views lay behind them? By linking the present, past, and future, Designing the Netherlands demonstrates how we can draw inspiration from the past to tackle the issues that confront us today.
The exhibition comprises numerous examples of work drawn from the Nieuwe Instituut’s National Collection of Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning, serving as a tribute to the 100th anniversary of this collection in 2023. Nieuwe Instituut manages the approximately seven hundred archives in this collection, totaling around 4 million items, including sketches, preliminary designs, working drawings, business and personal correspondence, photos, models, posters, and collected clippings and magazine articles, making it one of the largest architecture collections in the world.
Designing the Netherlands includes work by well-known architects and urban planners such as Gerrit Rietveld, Piet Blom, Rem Koolhaas and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), and Herman Hertzberger, but also that of less well-known practitioners. They unfold their ideas for a future society through inspiring and sometimes provocative proposals.
Collaboration with the Board of Government Advisors
The exhibition is a collaboration with the Board of Government Advisors, a multidisciplinary advisory board that, from an independent position, advises ministers on current social tasks and environmental quality through the use of design power. For the exhibition, the Board has drawn from recent work; from design competitions for bio-based homes and refugee housing, as well as participants of its ‘Young Innovators’ program, in which young, talented (landscape) architects and urban planners focus on significant spatial challenges such as repurposing, energy transition, new cultural landscapes, and water management.
Note for editors, not for publication
Opening and press preview
The opening of Designing the Netherlands will take place on Friday, December 8, 2023 between 4:00 PM and 7:00 PM at the Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam, simultaneously with the launch of Maison d'Artiste and our collaboration with think tank and publisher Archis for Volume magazine. The press is cordially invited to attend.
To schedule an exclusive preview of the exhibition and/or an interview with the curators, please send an email to Robin van Essel
Research and curation
Nieuwe Instituut: Dirk van den Heuvel, Suzanne Mulder, Setareh Noorani, Stefanie Korrel Board of Government Advisors: Saskia Naafs, Jafeth Hagoort Graphic design: Bart de Baets Spatial design: Ben Shamier
For questions and requests, please contact Press Officer Robin van Essel via email or +31 (0)6 3803 9218
About Nieuwe Instituut
Nieuwe Instituut is the Netherlands’ national museum and institute for architecture, design and digital culture. Based in Rotterdam, a global centre for design innovation, the institute’s mission is to embrace the power and potential of new thinking, exploring past, present and future ideas in order to imagine, test and enact a better tomorrow. Encouraging visitors of all ages to question, rethink and contribute, the institute’s exhibitions, public programmes, research, and wide-reaching national and international initiatives provide a testing ground for collaboration with leading designers, thinkers and diverse audiences, critically addressing the urgent questions of our times. In addition to housing the National Collection for Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning, the institute manages the 1933 Sonneveld House, a leading example of Dutch Functionalist architecture, as part of its campus in Rotterdam’s Museumpark. Nieuwe Instituut is world’s first Zoöp, a groundbreaking model through which all areas of the museum’s operations and programming are informed by its impact and benefit to other forms of life. The institute also serves as commissioner of the Dutch pavilion at the biannual Venice Architecture Biennale. From December 2023, think tank and publisher Archis and the Nieuwe Instituut will be taking Volume magazine forward as a team effort.
About the Board of Government Advisors
The Board of Government Advisors is a multidisciplinary advisory body that, from an independent position, provides ministers with both solicited and unsolicited advice on urgent current themes: from transformation, infrastructure, and 'the ideal city' to new cultural landscapes and the energy transition.