For a more detailed explanation of the EVJ project, you can visit the special website that Van Joolen has set up for this purpose: The site includes an extensive background text about the entire project, a series of sources of inspiration from the designer and a list of FAQs. The website also functions as a living archive of user and care experiences; there will be more and more EVJ stories and photos from borrowers documenting how they look after ‘their’ bag for a while. Perhaps most importantly, it is also the place where you can find an up-to-date overview of the available EVJ bags and bags that are currently on loan.


Het Nieuwe Instituut
Museumpark 25
3015 CB Rotterdam


Elisa van Joolen

Elisa van Joolen is a designer based in Amsterdam. Her approach to clothing design is characterised by intervention and reconfiguration strategies. Van Joolen’s projects often express specific social contexts and emphasise collaboration and participation. They expose the relational aspects of clothing and undermine the underlying value production processes. Elisa van Joolen studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and at Parsons in New York, obtaining her BA and MFA respectively. She was an artist in residence at IASPIS in Stockholm and the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht. She teaches at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy. She runs her own studio and, together with Hanka van der Voet and Femke de Vries, founded Warehouse, a place for contextualised clothing in Amsterdam.

TNL! Design Dialogues: Value and Care in Design

In this second edition of Design Dialogues on May 6, 2021, Elisa van Joolen is joined by archaeologist Maikel Kuipers, philosopher Patricia de Vries, designer Karim Adduchi, designer Baby Reni, journalist Lynn Berger and experienced ‘bag caretakers’. They discuss what it means to take care of things that are not ours, assign value to disposable items, and look after everyday objects.

An ecological institute of many voices 

The decision to collaborate with Van Joolen for the first museum bag is in line with Het Nieuwe Instituut's policy choice to make multivocality – space for different voices – a guiding principle, from a social as well as ecological perspective. For example, we are making our own building more sustainable by, for example, publishing and complying with a sustainability vision for the institute. We also recycle materials from exhibitions at the end of their run as far as possible, or donate them to someone who can use them elsewhere.

Het Nieuwe Instituut as client

The institute sees it as one of its assignments to act as a client for the design field. This provision of assignments is reflected, for example, in the innovative graphic and spatial design of exhibitions and (international) presentations, printed matter and digital means for institutional and project-specific communication and the design and decoration of its own building. An (as yet incomplete) overview can be found on the Design Platform of designers who, since 2013, have fulfilled one or more design assignments on behalf of Het Nieuwe Instituut.