Internationally, the Netherlands is recognized as a country willing to experiment at a large scale, to devise state-wide systems to protect its land and improve the quality of life for its citizens. Provocative proposals from architects and urban planners such as Gerrit Rietveld, Piet Blom, Rem Koolhaas, and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), have had an international impact, as they often challenge traditional ways of practice.
Still, the country faces expected and unexpected challenges, from an acute housing shortage to raising concerns regarding climate change and shifting ideas of ecology. In the words of curator Suzanne Mulder, the country is “once again on the drawing board,” as architects, urban planners, and designers are reopening conversations about the future by looking at past lessons. To come to their help, Rotterdam’s Nieuwe Instituut is organizing the exhibition ‘Designing the Netherlands: 100 Years of Past & Present Futures.’