For several years, there has been an ongoing discussion around Dutch design heritage. In particular, this has addressed the absence of a national archive to house the source material of Dutch design - from product to graphic, and from social to digital. Scattered throughout the country are museums, institutions, companies and individuals who all manage their own pieces of the puzzle. But in the meantime much is being lost: sketches, colour studies, prototypes - in short, valuable knowledge.

Following a number of earlier initiatives, the time has come for a new, powerful impulse. Witness the recent vision statement from the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, which emphasizes the importance of heritage. With A Speculative Archive for Dutch Design, Het Nieuwe Instituut evokes the image of a possible design archive, and thus creates a means to stimulate the involvement of various parties in the process, from the national government to the general public.

By selecting and presenting the archive, some basic questions are articulated. Which archives should be a part of a national design archive, and who gets to decide this? What are the stories behind the documents? Who is interested in this information, and what is its value?

A Speculative Archive for Dutch Design, encompasses a programme that includes an exhibition, an auction, and a series of lectures and debates (as part of Thursday Night Live!). It runs from 14 October 2018 - 10 March 2019.

The programme has been created together with the artists' collective Dead Darlings, which organizes annual anonymous art auctions as a platform for investigating the complex triangular relationship between artist, artwork and collector. At the invitation of Het Nieuwe Instituut, the collective will apply its approach to the design field. The archive is being selected in consultation with design historian Job Meihuizen and the team of Het Nieuwe Instituut.