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In other respects – for example, the quality of our research programme, our leading role in dealing with physical and digital heritage, our successful mediation on behalf of foreign visitors, and the expansion of our education programme – it became clear that the institute is excelling in executing its mission. Het Nieuwe Instituut has proven to be a unique place where all design disciplines are approached from an integral perspective, and where the innovative capacities of architecture, design and digital culture are not only explored and discussed, but also made tangible. The chosen method, which often revolves around research and introduces new ways of opening up and sharing knowledge, is aimed at a broad audience ranging from the culturally curious to international specialists, from scientific researchers, museum curators and schoolchildren to professional architects and designers.

In 2016 Het Nieuwe Instituut initiated two umbrella programmes. In the Netherlands alone 38 exhibitions were staged, and were supplemented with four presentations abroad including the Dutch contribution to the Venice Biennale of Architecture and other international events. Furthermore, 55 symposia and conferences were organised, including 45 successful Thursday Night events. In several foreign countries, the institute organised three seminars, four dialogues, two workshops and a conference, and co-published a book. Through an Open Call four new research fellows were selected from 243 applicants. The International Visitors Programme hosted 167 visitors.

The unique cultural-social assignment and the accompanying broad set of instruments were also fully utilised in 2016 to fulfil the mission of Het Nieuwe Instituut, to elevate public appreciation for the significance of architecture, design and digital culture, as well as to enhance interaction between these disciplines on the basis of current developments.

Overview 2016

Umbrella Programmes

Het Nieuwe Instituut broadened its scope of activities in 2016 by further developing the two umbrella programmes, namely The State of Eindhoven and Atelier Rotterdam. Both programmes have a strong local/regional orientation, and serve to demonstrate how in other cities and regions design can also be used when preparing for the society of the future in an increasingly decentralised country.

Exhibitions in the Netherlands

As far as the exhibitions in Het Nieuwe Instituut’s home base are concerned there were two phases in 2016. Until summer, the entire public space of the institute functioned as the Temporary Fashion Museum, a project that was launched in 2015, and reflected on the role of a museum around this design discipline. The programme was constantly renewed throughout the course of the various presentations with exhibitions on the most diverse perspectives on fashion.

In June, a series of exhibitions focused on the theme ‘The New Body’, inspired by the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games that started around that time. The growing role of technology (and thus of designed products) on the human body was addressed in The Life Fair, while the subject of the Control Syntax Rio installation was the collective body of the city: a body that was constantly and continuously secured during the Olympic Games using all available resources. The last ‘innocent’ Games was the focus of the exhibition Munich 1972, when architecture and design played an extremely important role in the desire to organise a friendly, peaceful and open event: an ambition that was undermined by its own premise when the hostage-taking shattered the dream.

The institute also organised exhibitions and contributed to third-party exhibitions in other locations in the Netherlands through loans. During Dutch Design Week, an overview of the New Material Award 2016 was exhibited in De Kazerne (Eindhoven), with Olivier van Herpt winning the Award, and Diana Scherer the New Material Fellowship.

International Presentations

The Netherlands’ participation in the Venice Biennale of Architecture (under the auspices of Het Nieuwe Instituut) was the entry BLUE: Architecture of UN Peacekeeping Missions, a project initiated by architect Malkit Shoshan and realised in collaboration with graphic designer Irma Boom. Shoshan's ongoing research into architecture in conflict zones was directly linked to the overarching theme of the 2016 Architecture Biennale: ‘Reporting from the Front’. Other international presentations were made for the Biennales in Shenzhen, London and Istanbul.

International Visitor’s Programme

Through the Agency for Architecture, Design and Digital Culture, Het Nieuwe Instituut is responsible for implementing the International Visitor’s Programme. This highly effective programme brings professionals (journalists, curators, professional designers, researchers, teachers, etc.) from abroad to the Netherlands, for example, to the IABR, the Fashion Week, or the Dutch Design Week. By 2016, 167 new international contacts were added to this network for dialogue and knowledge exchange.

Symposia and Conferences in the Netherlands

The weekly Thursday Night programme uses a broad palette of formats to stimulate discourse on architecture, design and digital culture. These evenings connect our regular and first-time visitors. By 2016 it was clear that the low threshold of the Thursday Nights satisfies an explicit requirement. The 45 events were very well attended and underscored the identity of Het Nieuwe Instituut’s agenda, combining knowledge sharing (research), networking, talent development, partnerships and current affairs.

Seminars, Dialogues and Workshops outside the Netherlands

In relation to the World Exhibition in Milan, Het Nieuwe Instituut organised three seminars on the connections between design and current food issues as part of The Mansholt Letter project. In the context of the exhibition Maatwerk/Massarbeit in the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (Frankfurt am Main), the institute co-organised some of the dialogues on the current practice of architectural agencies from the Netherlands and Flanders. And as part of the Round 'n Around project, it worked together with the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and the University of Sao Paulo on two workshops, a conference and a publication (in Sao Paulo).


In early 2016 Het Nieuwe Instituut launched an Open Call for Fellows for the period June to December 2016. From the 243 submitted proposals, an international jury selected four research fellows: Andrea Bagnato, Noam Toran, Simone Niquille and Füsun Türetken.

State Archive for Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning

In 2016, in the context of the acquisition of the MVRDV archive, the National Archives added the agency's scale models and paper archives to the previously acquired digital material. In 2016, a project was initiated for the management and maintenance of so-called Digital Born archives and collections.

Search Portal

By 2016, all of the inventoried archives had been added to the database. For this, approximately 650 archive inventories (with 72,000 records in total) are now available through the Search Portal. 170,000 digitised images can be accessed within the Search Portal. 71,500 users visited the Search Portal in 2016.

Policy Plan 2017–2020

In May 2016, the Dutch Council of Culture expressed a negative opinion on the Policy Plan 2017–2020. Although the Council endorsed the vision of Het Nieuwe Instituut, there were concerns about the implementation. During the summer the institute wrote a revised and more streamlined plan, which met with a positive response from the Council of Culture in the autumn (and is currently being implemented).

Without the input of many designers, makers, thinkers, partners, employees, friends and others with whom Het Nieuwe Instituut collaborated in 2016, these results would have been unthinkable. Het Nieuwe Instituut therefore thanks all those people who helped with this achievement.