Stimulating creativity by supporting cooperation

Inclusivity, cross-fertilization, integration and looking at the bigger picture. These were the themes for the Netherlands during the Beijing Design Week (BJDW) in September. However, they also link to the Dutch Design Week (DDW) topics which ‘stretched the world’. Since collaboration is one of the core aspects to the Dutch creative industries, it is no wonder that a Chinese creative industries delegation visited the Netherlands last week.

Sino-Dutch creative collaborations

China and the Netherlands are no strangers to cooperating in the creative industries field. Sino-Dutch collaborations have led to some iconic works and partnerships in business, research and education in various regions in China. Ms. Femke Blok, Coordinator of the top team Creative Industries mentions: “Several institutes from the Netherlands are highly valued in China, such as architecture and planning faculties of the technical universities, and the globally recognized Design Academy Eindhoven. Over the past few years, events such as the Amsterdam Dance Event and Dutch Design Week attracted more Chinese delegates, showcases and media attention, and there is more awareness.”

Quite a few Dutch designers have been active in China for some time. Architects from the Netherlands have won many smaller and larger scale building design contracts in China, making Dutch design a staple in many Chinese skylines. Ms. Blok adds: “Whether it is the Tianxi Twin Towers in Chengdu or the re-design of the world’s tallest residential twin towers by MLA+. Dutch creative companies and their entrepreneurial mindset bring innovation, joy and added value to China. Additionally, there are large cross-over projects for which creative capital is put into place, such as the Sponge City Pilot Program that consultancy firm Arcadis offers to Wuhan. All together, these collaborations create a wide variety of industry exchange with China.”

Ms. Blok believes that the Dutch creative industries can play a role in putting innovation topics on the Chinese agenda. “Especially in first and second tier Chinese cities, opportunities arise from taking the initiative to introduce cross-over thinking, relevant cases and solutions to new era challenges. The aging society, transportation issues in highly populated urban areas, and food security are all topics with which the Netherlands learned to deal. Valuable experiences that can be shared with fast developing areas which are now forced to develop an approach to these new conditions. Collaboration between Chinese and Dutch researchers, companies and institutes on these topics will ultimately lead to being better prepared in tackling challenges of our future cities.”

Creating mutual benefits

Both mr. Kamphuis and ms. Brockhoff believe that missions are important to bring both countries together. Ms. Brockhoff notes that “business opportunities are not always visible. The network of embassies, consulates and NBSO offices worldwide are of great value to show businesses what opportunities there are and make them known to entrepreneurs.”