1. Red and Blue Chair
Dutch designer and architect Gerrit Thomas Rietveld created this masterpiece of simplicity in 1918. At a time when furniture was handcrafted, Rietveld wanted to make a chair that could be mass produced. In fact, he chose to use wood that came standard sizes, so it would be easy to find.
We Dutch call her Nijntje, but Americans probably know her as Miffy. Whatever name you use for Dick Bruna’s creation, there’s no doubt that children around the world love her. In fact, since the first Miffy book hit the shelves in 1955, nearly 30 others have followed and sold more than 85 million copies. There has also been two separate TV shows, clothing, merchandise, and the Centraal Museum in Utrecht even shows a whole house designed around her. Not bad for a little bunny.
3. Gispen Chair
Dutch industrial designer Willem Hendrik Gispen is perhaps best known for his functional steel-tube furniture, particularly chairs. Now, you may wonder what makes these chairs so special given that you see them in offices everywhere. Well, when Gispen created the design in the 1920s, they weren’t everywhere. The fact they are everywhere today is a testament to the quality of the design.
4. Chest of Drawers
Who said a clothes dresser has to be rectangular? Either tall and narrow or short and wide? Pffff. That’s far too limited for the Dutch. No, we Dutch like our furniture to be somewhat unusual yet functional, as evidenced by this Chest of Drawers that Tejo Remy designed for Studio Droog in Amsterdam.
What’s a list of about the Netherlands without clogs? Or our famous Delft Blue? No list at all in our minds. That’s why we included them. But because we also like to be modern, we added a dash of modern fashion with this beauty from avant-garde fashion designers Viktor & Rolf. It is even hand painted by the Royal Porceleyne Fles in Delft.
7. Milk-bottle Chandeliers
If you know anything about the Dutch, you know we love dairy almost as much as we love conserving our resources, reusing and re-purposing as much as possible. So what do we do with all the empty milk bottles? That’s easy. Make a chandelier, like the one Tejo Remy created.
8. Knotted Chair
We know what you’re thinking. “This is the fourth chair on this list. How much do the Dutch sit down?” No more than anyone else, really. We just like to sit in artful style when we do, and designer Marcel Wanders shows us how with the Knotted Chair he created in 1996 to international acclaim.
9. Senz original storm umbrella
The Dutch know a thing or two about wind and rain, so it only make sense that we would think of a way to keeps ourselves dry in the driving rain. And the Senz original storm umbrella does just that, even when the wind kicks up 70 mph. Think it looks silly? Well, arriving at work soaking wet because the driving wind and rain flipped your umbrella inside out looks a whole lot sillier.
10. Vanmoof Commuter Bike
Of course, we can’t forget bicycles. After all, the Netherlands has more bikes than people. And Vanmoof has taken bicycle design to another level with its “intelligent commuter bike.” This bike comes with an onboard computer, GPS tracking, and an electric-assistant capable of boosting the power you put into the pedals by 80 percent. Yeah, welcome to the two-wheeled 21st century.
You thought we were done with chairs, didn’t you? Well, we couldn’t exclude Chairgenics designed by Jan Habraken at FormNation. Jan has taken the best elements of other chairs, much like breeding animals or plants, and created a new class of ultimate chairs. His work is on display at the exhibition: Out of Hand: Materializing the Post-Digital at the Museum of Arts and Design. Now we’re done with chairs.
Now, don’t give us that look. This isn’t a chair. It’s a sofa. Yeah, people sit on it, but that doesn’t make it a chair. Besides, this isn’t just any old sofa. It’s a Poldersofa designed by Hella Jongerius. The word polder refers to reclaimed land from the sea. What could be more Dutch than that?
14. 3D printed dresses
With 3D printers all the rage and Shapeways a leader in the industry, it’s only a matter of time before we hit ctrl+p instead of opening our closets in the morning. In fact, Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen has already made a splash on international runways with her 3D printed dresses. Beyoncé even wore one in her video for “Mine.” Hey, if it’s good enough for Beyoncé, who are we to argue?
15. Interactive LED crystals
The Dutch have been innovators and masters of art and light for centuries, the perfect environment to nurture Daan Roosegaarde. Roosegaarde, who is involved in New Dutch Digital Design, works with LED crystals that interact with people and the environment. Now that’s cool, no?
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