Design: New Twists on Dutch Tradition

Design: New Twists on Dutch Tradition

Courtesy of Zuiderzee Museum Courtesy of Zuiderzee Museum
Courtesy of Zuiderzee Museum
Courtesy of Zuiderzee Museum

“It’s part of the philosophy of Dutch design to take an object and give it a new meaning, a new life,” says Erik Schilp, director since 2006 of the Zuiderzee Museum, a suddenly hip monument to a vanished Dutch past about 45 minutes north of Amsterdam (12-22 Wierdijk, Enkhuizen, Netherlands; 31-228/351-111; zuiderzeemuseum.nl). Created in 1948 on the edge of what was once the Zuider Zee, or South Sea, and spread across 37 acres and some 200 buildings in Enkhuizen, this picture-perfect re-creation of a centuries-old fishing village, complete with ruddy-faced actresses strolling by in lace caps and clog-shod men smoking herring outdoors, is undergoing a radical transformation in Schilp’s hands.

Stroll into a 19th-century farmhouse and you’ll now find an art installation by Studio Job, whose principals, Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel, have recast everyday rural implements—a bucket, a pitchfork—in gleaming bronze. Or wander through the museum proper (in buildings once belonging to the Dutch East India Company) and you might see looks by Viktor & Rolf inspired by traditional Dutch costumes, or Alexander van Slobbe’s reinterpretations of seafaring men’s wear, or 17th-century porcelain tulip pyramids reimagined by the likes of Jurgen Bey and Hella Jongerius.

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