Nieuwe Instituut
Nieuwe Instituut
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Sonneveld House

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Archives at Risk


The exhibition Archives at Risk takes a closer look at designer archives. We learn how personal they can be, and how vulnerable such design heritage is in the Netherlands. When the designer is no longer there to take care of their archive, what becomes of it?

10 May 2023 - 26 August 2023

In Archives at Risk, six leading designers present their archives and share personal stories on how they themselves have created, acquired or used archives. They also open up about the painful prospect that, if no one takes care of the archives, they will be lost. For some of these archives this is a harsh reality.

In the presentation we are introduced to the stories of six designers and heirs. Including industrial designer Emile Truijen (whose archive is being kept by his heirs pending an official home), graphic designer Lies Ros (who lives in her own design archive and collection), and industrial designer Hella Jongerius (who admits that parts of her well-kept archive will go abroad as there is no Dutch option). Also featured are textile artists Jason Page and Karen Huang, who work and live with the archive of textile artist Elma Beks, and textile designer Borre Akkersdijk (who in his practice treats a digital archive as a shared resource) and Luna Maurer & Roel Wouters (Moniker), whose main challenge is the constant maintenance that is needed to keep their work and archive accessible.

Annemartine van Kesteren (Curator of Design, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen) has curated the exhibition.

Archives at Risk can be visited from 11 May to 27 August 2023.

An invisible life

Currently, there is no central policy and budget in the Netherlands for the maintenance and conservation of design and digital culture archives. As a result, many of these archives remain invisible, or their existence is being threatened. Archives at Risk demonstrates that these archives are valuable sources of knowledge worthy of being preserved as Dutch heritage.


The initiator of this presentation is the Network Archives Design and Digital Culture (NADD). This network, consisting of more than 40 partners, ranges from large and small heritage institutions, designers, professional organizations, educational institutions and experts in the field of design. Central mission is to share knowledge about archiving and making design and digital culture archives visible and accessible.

Archive Hella Jongerius. Photo: Johannes Schwartz

Archive Emile Truijen. Photo: Johannes Schwartz