If things get complicated, bring in the Dutch!

Continuous experimentation, trial and error, a hands-on attitude and critical thinking were some of the elements that instigated us to visit the Eindhoven Maker Faire during the first weekend of September. Although the event was open to all ages and targeted to people passionate about building and designing things, it was clear that the new generations were the protagonists of a ‘maker culture’ that is constantly being nurtured and improved in the low lands.

Important themes such as circular economy and sustainability were shaping young mindsets and empowering participants to collaboratively build a fairer society. We saw toys powered by renewable energy, a waste-based structure used to build floating houses, all sorts of robotics, electronic kits as well as many traditional craft experiments, offering a good balance between digital and non-digital. There were also recycling workshops, art apps, music, science, industrial design and other exciting projects inviting to create the “internet of your things” (www.mysensors.org) and the skills of the future (skillsdojo.nl).

A 3D sewing technique integrated in garments acting as a shield was a very special design project focusing on empowering vulnerable women in intimidating situations. The idea is being developed in collaboration with MLY Stella Verdult and Sage & Ivy, all fashion brands based in Eindhoven.

We also experienced the creations of Team Rembrandts – a robotics group located in Eindhoven with students from Fontys University of Applied Science, Zwijsen College and Heerbeeck College. They were one the many exhibitors engaging the audience, and the title of this article is currently their slogan: “If things get complicated, bring in the Dutch!”

Exactly a hundred years ago, artists such as Piet Mondrian, Gerrit Rietveld, and others who created and joined the De Stijl art movement catalyzed the Dutch design culture. Nowadays other initiatives such as public and private investments in the creative industries and events like the Eindhoven Maker Faire do contribute to make the Netherlands an unequivocal place where impact and progress go hand-in-hand to frame a positive future.

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