Is Dutch The New Scandinavian Design?

5 min read

When it comes to interior design, Scandinavian style has long been hailed as the epitome of minimalist elegance and functionality. The clean lines, natural materials, and neutral color palettes have captivated homeowners and design enthusiasts around the world. However, in recent years, there has been a growing buzz about Dutch design and its potential to rival the Scandinavian aesthetic. With its unique blend of innovation, craftsmanship, and sustainability, many are wondering: is Dutch the new Scandinavian design?

The Rise of Scandinavian Design

Scandinavian design emerged in the early 20th century as a response to the ornate and heavily embellished styles of the time. Influenced by the principles of modernism and the simplicity of Nordic nature, Scandinavian designers sought to create functional yet beautiful objects for everyday use.

The popularity of Scandinavian design skyrocketed in the mid-20th century, thanks to iconic designers such as Arne Jacobsen, Alvar Aalto, and Hans Wegner. Their furniture designs, characterized by clean lines, organic forms, and high-quality craftsmanship, became synonymous with the Scandinavian style.

Scandinavian design’s success can be attributed to its timeless appeal and versatility. Its minimalist aesthetic and emphasis on functionality make it suitable for a wide range of interiors, from modern apartments to traditional homes. Moreover, the use of natural materials like wood and leather creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

The Dutch Design Renaissance

While Scandinavian design has been dominating the global design scene for decades, Dutch design has quietly been making its mark. The Netherlands has a rich history of design, with influential movements like De Stijl and the Dutch Bauhaus contributing to its creative legacy.

In recent years, Dutch designers have been redefining what it means to create innovative and sustainable designs. One of the key characteristics of Dutch design is its experimental nature. Dutch designers are not afraid to push boundaries, challenge conventions, and explore new materials and techniques.

An excellent example of Dutch design innovation is the work of Studio Roosegaarde. Led by artist and designer Daan Roosegaarde, the studio combines art, technology, and sustainability to create awe-inspiring installations. Projects like the Smog Free Tower, which cleans the air by capturing and purifying pollution particles, demonstrate the commitment of Dutch designers to creating a better future.

The Dutch Approach to Sustainability

One area where Dutch design truly shines is sustainability. The Netherlands is renowned for its progressive environmental policies and commitment to renewable energy. This ethos extends to the design field, where designers are incorporating sustainable practices into their work.

For instance, Dutch design duo Scholten & Baijings have been praised for their sustainable approach to product design. They prioritize the use of natural and recyclable materials and collaborate with local artisans to ensure ethical production methods. Their commitment to sustainability is evident in their collaboration with Hay, a Danish design brand known for its minimalist aesthetic.

The Dutch design collective Envisions is another example of the country’s dedication to sustainability. The collective brings together designers, craftsmen, and material experts to explore innovative ways of using waste materials and creating circular design solutions. By reimagining discarded materials, they demonstrate the potential for sustainable design to transform industries.

The Dutch and Scandinavian Aesthetic Similarities

While Dutch design certainly has its unique characteristics, it also shares some similarities with Scandinavian design. Both styles prioritize functionality and simplicity, favoring clean lines and uncluttered spaces. They also share a love for natural materials, with wood being a prominent feature in both Dutch and Scandinavian interiors.

Moreover, both Dutch and Scandinavian design value craftsmanship and quality. Whether it’s a handcrafted chair or a meticulously designed light fixture, attention to detail is a hallmark of both styles. This focus on craftsmanship ensures that each piece is not only visually appealing but also built to last.

Another shared aspect of Dutch and Scandinavian design is their emphasis on light. Given the long, dark winters in both regions, designers from both countries have become masters at maximizing natural light. Large windows, light-colored walls, and reflective surfaces are common elements in both Dutch and Scandinavian interiors.

Dutch Design’s Unique Flair

While Dutch design may share some similarities with Scandinavian design, it also has its distinct flair. Dutch designers are known for their experimental and playful approach, often incorporating unexpected elements into their creations.

For example, the Droog Design collective, founded in the Netherlands in 1993, gained international recognition for its unconventional and ironic designs. From a chandelier made of test tubes to a table made of stacked drawers, Droog Design challenges traditional notions of form and function.

In addition to its experimental nature, Dutch design also embraces bold colors and patterns. While Scandinavian design tends to favor a more muted color palette, Dutch interiors often feature vibrant hues and graphic prints. This infusion of color adds a sense of energy and playfulness to Dutch design.

The Global Influence of Dutch Design

While Scandinavian design has undeniably had a significant impact on the global design scene, Dutch design is increasingly making its mark. The innovative and sustainable approach of Dutch designers has resonated with consumers and design professionals alike.

Dutch design has gained recognition through international exhibitions and collaborations with renowned brands. For instance, the Dutch design company Moooi, founded by Marcel Wanders, has become a global sensation with its eclectic and imaginative furniture and lighting designs. Moooi’s collaborations with international designers have helped bring Dutch design to a broader audience.

Furthermore, Dutch designers have been recognized with prestigious awards, further cementing their influence. The Dutch designer Hella Jongerius, known for her textile designs and innovative use of color, has received accolades such as the Red Dot Design Award and the Dutch Design Award.

The Future of Dutch Design

As Dutch design continues to gain momentum, it is poised to become a significant player in the global design landscape. The combination of innovation, sustainability, and craftsmanship has proven to be a winning formula for Dutch designers.

Moreover, the Dutch government’s commitment to fostering creativity and design excellence through initiatives like the Dutch Design Week and the Creative Industries Fund NL ensures that the design community will continue to thrive. These initiatives provide a platform for emerging designers to showcase their work and connect with industry professionals.

Furthermore, the Netherlands’ strategic location in Europe positions Dutch designers to collaborate with international partners and tap into global trends. This cross-pollination of ideas and influences will undoubtedly contribute to the evolution of Dutch design.


While Scandinavian design has long been celebrated for its minimalist elegance, Dutch design is emerging as a force to be reckoned with. With its commitment to innovation, sustainability, and craftsmanship, Dutch design offers a fresh and exciting alternative to the Scandinavian aesthetic.

While both styles share a love for simplicity and natural materials, Dutch design brings its unique experimental nature and bold use of color to the table. The Dutch emphasis on sustainability and their playful approach to design sets them apart.

As Dutch design gains recognition globally, it is clear that it is not merely a passing trend but a significant movement in its own right. Whether Dutch design will surpass Scandinavian design remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: the Dutch have carved out their place in the design world.

FAQs After The Conclusion

1. What are the key characteristics of Dutch design?

Key characteristics of Dutch design include innovation, sustainability, and a playful approach. Dutch designers often push boundaries and experiment with new materials and techniques.

2. How does Dutch design differ from Scandinavian design?

Dutch design differs from Scandinavian design in its experimental nature, bold use of color, and emphasis on sustainability. While both styles prioritize functionality and simplicity, Dutch design brings its unique flair to the table.

3. What is the significance of Dutch design on the global design scene?

Dutch design has gained recognition globally for its innovative and sustainable approach. Dutch designers have collaborated with renowned brands and received prestigious awards, solidifying their influence on the global design scene.

4. How does the Dutch government support the design community?

The Dutch government supports the design community through initiatives like the Dutch Design Week and the Creative Industries Fund NL. These initiatives provide platforms for emerging designers to showcase their work and connect with industry professionals.

5. Will Dutch design surpass Scandinavian design in popularity?

While it is impossible to predict the future, Dutch design is undoubtedly gaining momentum globally. Its unique blend of innovation, sustainability, and craftsmanship has resonated with consumers and design professionals, positioning Dutch design as a significant player in the global design landscape.


In summary, Dutch design is making waves in the global design scene, challenging the long-standing dominance of Scandinavian design. With its innovative and sustainable approach, Dutch design offers a fresh alternative to the minimalist elegance of Scandinavian style. While both styles share some similarities, such as a focus on functionality and the use of natural materials, Dutch design brings its own experimental nature and bold use of color. The global recognition and influence of Dutch design, as well as the Dutch government’s support for the design community, indicate that it is here to stay. Whether Dutch design will surpass Scandinavian design in popularity remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: Dutch design has carved out its place in the design world.

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