All Posts By

Raquel Sztejnberg

Dutch Design Week Eindhoven 2018 featured image

If not us, then who? Dutch Design Week is back!

By | Event, Netherlands

We’re excited that October is back because the next Design Week is approaching. For those new to the Dutch creative scene, Dutch Design Week Eindhoven is the largest design event in Northern Europe and presents work and concepts from more than 2,600 designers to more than 335,000 visitors from home and abroad.

It’s been three years since we first visited it and every time we left amazed. There are of course very conceptual creations such as the Algae Bar, located in 2017 inside the Embassy of Food. But there are other very concrete products and projects addressing global challenges. One that immediately caught our attention was the IV-Walk, developed by the talented young health and social designer Alissa Rees. A few months after the event, I met Alissa in different occasions to discuss the opportunity to internationalize her creations. Hopefully, early next year we will be finally able to expand and share her knowledge. We will keep you posted.

The idea of having Embassies with themes was great and helped us to better navigate through the many spots inside and outside the main DDW area – the old Philips headquarters. Particularly interesting was the suggested approach to explore the Embassy of Food: from the perspective of the producer or of the consumer, and both with a reverse vision, looking back from the future. Thinking about food, our favourite (future) food designer is another amazing your Dutch talent, Chloe Rutzerveld. She will be soon launching her first book and we’re enthusiastic to hold our copy soon. Check more on Congrats, Chloé!

Beyond food, we expect to follow up on some of the cases we studied and later presented as a trend pack for partners and clients in the creative world: urban mobility, new materials and circular economy are on our top list.

For 2018, DDW announced a theme that really inspired us: “If not us, then who?”

Almost everything in the world has been or is being designed. This offers opportunities, but with this come enormous responsibilities; for designers, but also for policy makers, clients, users and governments. The world belongs to us all. Director Martijn Paulen explains about the role of designers: ‘Designers think up solutions, create innovations, are pioneers, make things tangible and functional. They look at their surroundings and the world in a unique way. “How could it be different, better?” And to these questions designers continually supply authentic and surprising answers. It is up to us all to embrace and stimulate these creative solutions, and that includes you. If not you, then who? Together we decide how the world will look. Now it’s our turn; If not us, then who?’

To learn more, you can download the press release here and explore the following link:

We Make The City featured image

Making Amsterdam a living lab

By | Event, Netherlands
We Make The City logo

WeMakeThe.City is an initiative of Amsterdam Municipality, Amsterdam Economic Board, Pakhuis de Zwijger, Waag Society, Amsterdam Smart City and AMS Institute.

Inspiration, interaction, and innovation for urban challenges are the goals of a festival in the capital of the Netherlands. Between 20th and 24th, June 2018 takes place the largest city festival in Europe, named We Make The City. Urban living and new dynamics are the key concepts discussed during the four days to address city challenges in the metropolitan region of Amsterdam. The festival elects a future-focused approach asking what kind of city do we want to live in, in five, ten or fifteen years time. Collaborative meetings, events, and workshops are expected to bring new and fresh answers to possible and collective solutions, as well as a way to share experiences and knowledge.

The event nourishes a sense of identity and belonging, and intends to trigger action by all city owners described on the website: individuals who are pioneering, persevering, playing, designing, teaching, creating policies, enforcing, developing, trying, breaking, building and rebuilding, dreaming, working, intervening, talking, parenting, and enjoying urban spaces. In other words, making the city.

During the festival, there will be 600 local, national and international speakers, 150 locations, 25 theme conferences, 30 urban talks, 50 workshops, 30 city expeditions, 15 special events, 10 exhibitions, and 30.000 participants.

WeMakeThe.City is an initiative of Amsterdam Municipality, Amsterdam Economic Board, Pakhuis de Zwijger, Waag Society, Amsterdam Smart City and AMS Institute. The main partners are Rabobank Amsterdam, Nuon and ABN AMRO.

Playful Amsterdam

Urban growth can be seen both as an issue or an opportunity to explore new solutions for urgent themes like safety, housing, health, community, and climate. The festival creates the time and space for discussing urban challenges with all audiences and engaging them in being an active part of its progress. Amsterdam is often considered one of the best cities in the world in terms of quality of life; nevertheless, it keeps reinventing itself with critical thinking and fostering positive impact for as more publics as possible.

Positively changing behaviours and relations between different stakeholders, public and private. The friendly approach, attractive visuals and tone of voice frame the festival as more a place to be and have fun while talking about serious themes than a formal and structured meeting. The themes of the event: The Healthy City; The Smart City; The Sustainable City; The Lively City; The Constructed City; The Creative City; and The Social City.

Possible impact

  • Bringing together different people (also of different ages), organizations, and institutions for healthy and relevant exchanges;
  • Enhancing the sense of identity, regardless of origin and neighbourhood, as well as the sense of pride, belonging and community;
  • Defining clear metrics to follow up on the co-created initiatives;
  • Projecting together the city in different future time-spans;
  • Encouraging crossovers and potential partnerships;
  • Identifying new urban spaces for place-making activities;
  • Building a digital platform for continuous project and idea developments, beyond the festival;
  • Inspiring other Dutch and European cities with similar challenges and benchmarking from each other with “twin” festivals.


Alissa Rees photo

Meet Alissa Rees, a Dutch healthcare designer

By | Interview

Interview with Alissa Rees

Alissa Rees photo

Dutch design is gaining a lot of space in the field of societal challenges, having several initiatives and investments implemented in the past years. And there is much more to come. One example is the remarkable work of the designer Alissa Rees. Recently graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2017, she came up with twenty concepts to humanise hospitals, some of them presented at the Dutch Design Week, which later resulted in the book “Humanising the White Building”.

You just came back from the Milan Design Week. What could you share about this experience?

Milan Design week 2018 was a beautiful experience. Sponsored by the kingdom of the Netherlands, I was able, together with 6 other designers, to exhibit my work on a small stand but in a valuable space. I received a lot of positive feedback, it was something different than the visitors normally see at Milan Design Week. There were also visitors a bit confused when entering the room since they were not immediately surprised by shiny or beautiful products. They had to dive into the story and take the time to digest. After sharing my story, my book and my thoughts about how I want to humanise hospitals, the visitors were very enthusiastic. I made good connections and hopefully valuable collaborations for the future. A valuable experience!

On your website ( you mention that “Simple thoughts and ignored emotions are my biggest inspiration”. What else inspires you in your daily life to keep creating beautiful design solutions?

What fascinates me as well are the routines human beings like to play part in. Even though they actually would prefer to get out of this specific routine. Deeply inside we know what makes us happy, but still emotions, such as fears stop us from doing the action leading to our joy. This inspires me to create concepts or products to make people aware of their habits and actions.

Your work implies a lot of observation of human behaviour, right? Any tips on how to become a better observer?

To become a better observer of human behaviour? It starts with interest. Why do people behave like they do? Why are they stuck, happy, annoyed? I love to analyze everything. But I also think that life experience will help to understand people. You maybe think you know what the emotion ‘fear’ feels like, but one emotion has multiple levels. Maybe you only experienced the first level (the softest version of it). This is how I would describe it. If you experience more in life, living on the edge, you more and more understand why people do what they do.

Now imagine we are in the future. How do you see your design legacy in 20 years?

I can imagine I am still a concept designer running an even bigger company. I hope I get the possibility to humanise hospitals in different areas all over the world. That I see improvement on different levels and that I can inspire others to do the same. I hope I can humanise different aspects in more areas as education in elementary schools and contact with nature in our daily lives. And most of all I hope I am healthy, satisfied and still open for great adventure!

Thanks, Alissa!

Innovate image

Innovate Arnhem

By | Event, Netherlands
Welkom bij Innovate image

Today we had the pleasure to explore for the second year the event Innovate Arnhem, similar to the one visited in Eindhoven last September ( Arnhem has been our home city since more than two years, and interestingly the capital of Gelderland, as well as the region itself, is not very known abroad for its potential and vocations. Beyond ArtEZ, the prestigious University of Arts, other relevant players should be included on the decision map of many more visitors, tourists, start-ups and young creative people willing to experience a movement that is gaining momentum.

This year, the festival took place at HAN Campus – the Hogeschool from Arnhem and Nijmegen – and had the support of private and public institutions such as the Municipality of Arnhem, the Province of Gelderland, the Arnhem Entrepreneurship Fund, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, to mention a few. The main goal of the festival was to bring together students, residents, entrepreneurs, original thinking companies, educators, and individuals in the vicinity of Arnhem. Amongst these publics, we saw many parents with their enthusiastic kids experiencing the maker culture, building solar panels, learning from robots, recycling, experiencing water management, playing in a very natural way with all kinds of technology like virtual reality, drones and 3D tools, and also regaining the joy of building very simple objects, such as boxes made of wood.

From ideas to reframe plastic waste until start-up accelerating projects, the development of a maker mindset set the tone of the event, where solutions, demos, prototypes and presentations were all displayed as an ecosystem of concrete proposals for a more innovative presence and a better future demanding a critical, explorative and hands-on attitude.

To know more, please check the following links:

Global challenges, start-up solutions

By | Event, Netherlands, Uncategorized
Amsterdam Capital Week logo
StartupFest Europe logo

“It is time to show the world that the Netherlands is hot”
(Robert Jan Galema, Managing Director INKEF Capital)

Over 3.000 startups, more than 10 innovation hubs, a proud 3rd position on the Global Innovation Index, and a competitive 19th place in the Startup Genome World ranking. This is, in few but powerful numbers, a brief overview of the Dutch startup ecosystem, which is being fully experienced during this week.

Amsterdam hosts in September 2017 a key event to discuss the future of entrepreneurship and boost businesses: the Capital Week and the StartupFest Europe, considered a “one-stop-shop for startups and scale-ups that want to do business by changing the world”.

The festival is initiated by StartupDelta and organized in close collaboration with the Dutch startup scene and many international players. It is a unique opportunity to meet and share ideas aiming to create impact, access more than 500 venture investors, involve corporations and meet peers and potential partners from the globe.

During the event local and international speakers will present innovations in health, cyber security, new materials, energy, mobility and many other solutions across different sectors. The common denominator: to change the world.

Details about the program of the week between 25 and 28 September, as well as great videos can be found on the official website:

Other useful links can be found bellow:

Eindhoven Maker Faire

By | Dutch Design, Event, Netherlands

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” ( and the skills of the future (

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.

To explore more, check the following links:

Dutch Design Week 2016

Understanding Dutch Design

By | Dutch Design

This interview is part of the project NAVE in partnership with BORDA, a series of actions connecting innovation between Brazil and the Netherlands.

Raquel Sztejnberg has been living in the Netherlands since 2015, is a Branding expert, and co-founder of Borda, a knowledge platform developed to expand creative boundaries and Dutch soft power. Borda and Orbe – a Recife-based design and innovation laboratory – have teamed up to create bridges between the two countries and to connect design and business before, during and after the Dutch Design Week 2017. Learn more about the project.

“To boldly go where no one has gone before”

My first trip to Dutch Design Week was in 2016. More than just a fair or a one-off event, DDW is indeed a destination, a unique experience. It is hard to say what struck me the most: whether the democratic character of the event – not for specialists but for people of all ages, backgrounds, professions and types – or bold, free ideas and solutions, ready to positively embrace failure in search of new ideas and solutions. Experimentation, renewal and ‘crossovers’ are distinctive characteristics of this event in relation to other world design meetings.

Dutch Design is an attitude, a mindset

Design in the Netherlands is a part of life and not just a luxurious instrument used by a few companies. Thought and applied seriously to create a better society, with more intelligence and inventiveness. Minimalist, experimental, innovative, functional, unconventional and with a sense of humor – this is how Dutch design is usually described.

Here the involvement of different audiences in the creative process is also one of the characteristics of the discipline. And without a doubt, the enviable synergy between schools, universities, private companies and the government represents a valuable stimulus for the entire economy of the country. About € 84 million were invested in public-private alliances in the period 2016-2017*. Architecture, fashion, and urbanism mix with energy, health, education, infrastructure and security, generating strategic partnerships for success. All part of Dutch DNA.

DDW 2017 Stretch

Stretch: beyond the comfort zone

The next edition of Dutch Design Week takes place again in October and always in the city of Eindhoven. It will be celebrated 19 years since the birth of the fair, which has become the most important in Northern Europe, a local event of global impact with the participation of more than 2,500 designers and public of almost 300 thousand national and international visitors.

The theme of 2017 is Stretch, set by the Dutch Design Foundation to stimulate new perspectives beyond the comfort zone. Made to inspire and provoke, the design is, in the words of the Foundation director, Martijn Paulen, brain-yoga: “Exercise for those who, in a complex and challenging world, do not want to rust.” Bio design, Sustainable design, Circular design, Spatial design, Food design, Service design, Social design and various other disciplines will be presented, discussed and experienced during the DDW2017. There is also an internationalization program made to extend the Dutch design ecosystem and make it number 1 in the discussion of the future of design and the design of the future.

“To boldly go where no one has gone before”, adopted in official reports, is the perfect motto for a country with a powerful and pulsating creative wealth that is inversely proportional to its dimensions. It is worth to find out more about this unique scene. Follow us!

If you are interested about DDW2017 we are organizing an immersion with all curatorship and personalized consulting for companies in Recife.

Infos about the program: