The Netherlands. Holland. Where the Dutch live. Whatever you choose to call it, it’s an amazing place full of artistic inspiration. On my recent trip, I was once again reminded of our differences, not only in culture but in design. During my yearly pilgrimage to visit family and friends, I was able to spend some time in several different cities. I realized, as I always do, how different the level of understanding and appreciation for design and architecture is in Holland than here in the U.S.
I think there are several contributing factors: The government spends a considerable amount more money on art/culture/music per person compared to the U.S.. The Netherlands’ rich history lends itself to become deeply rooted in Dutch culture. There is a certain unspoken pride that exists with everyone – not to mention they all seem to be fairly educated about the arts. They seem to be more concerned about the aesthetic of their homes (interior design/furniture design). Many of their hobbies center around literature and fine art. They spend more time educating themselves about current affairs, and in turn what is happening with cultural events in their country. There wasn’t a house I visited that didn’t receive the newspaper daily. That is rarely the case here in the states.
Don’t get me wrong- There are still farmers, people are watching T.V. and kids outside playing, but as an outsider, I really saw cultural differences and tried to make sense of why the library I explored looked as cool as the Getty Musuem in LA! The architecture of average buildings in tiny towns in Holland would turn heads in San Diego.
The education, cultural heritage and money contributed by the government makes the average person and business acutely more aware of design, which in turn makes the level of design so much higher than here in the U.S.
Check out the photos I took over the course of a couple hours in the library with my iphone. It’s work like this that inspires us to keep creating and pushing design boundaries every day.