Showcase Of Web Design In The Netherlands


The Netherlands, also known as the “Low Countries,” is a small, crowded, muddy piece of land through which a few big important rivers fortunately run. In this country, you can find coffee shops, wooden shoes, tulips, windmills and a lot of water.

And everything is rather small! Well, at least most of the architecture is. How cute is that? But it’s also the land that brought the world many great painters, famous architects, and excellent graphic, fashion and interior designers. We all know Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Mondriaan, Rietveld, Koolhaas, Escher, Droog Design and Viktor & Rolf, don’t we?

Dutch Web Design: Spin Awards112

State Of Affairs

Can the Dutch be proud of its Web design community? Is it capable of producing great websites? Has the community earned a place in Web design land, or is Dutch Web design still in its infancy?

A Virtual Discussion About Dutch Web Design

I invited a diverse group of Dutch Web agencies and freelancers to discuss the state of Dutch web design.

  • Harald Dunnink, creative director at Momkai
  • Wimer “Monokai” Hazenberg, art director at Booreiland
  • Rogier Strobbe, Frish Design Studio
  • Erik Leutscher, Eldesign
  • Maarten Kleyne, creative designer
  • Woud Hobbelink, Designphunk
  • Rose Calis, Toko Rose
  • Christian Annyas, freelance Web and graphic designer
  • Mattijs Bliek, Helium Workx
  • Michel Branco Bio, Branco Creative Studio
  • Ewout van Lambalgen, illustrator and Web designer
  • Erik van Nieuwburg, Rumbling Skies
  • Rolf Coppens, Grrr
  • Jens Kanis, designer and developer
  • Jonno Riekwel, Jonnotie
  • Nelleke van der Maas, Designed By Nelleke
  • Caspar Hardholt, MediaCT
  • Marten de Jongh, graphic designer at e-sites

Can Certain Web Design Characteristics Be Called Typically Dutch?

Erik van Nieuwburg: “There is a very typical Dutch school of architecture, photography and graphic design. But in the field of Web design, I do not see a typical Dutch identity. Perhaps this has to do with the international nature of the Web.”

Maarten Kleyne: “I do not think you can pin this down as, ‘This is pure Dutch Web design so let’s hang it on our wall next to the wooden shoes, tulips, cheese and other things.’”

Harald Dunnink: “A certain clarity and simplicity characterizes Dutch design. For myself, I try to bring the traditional conception of creativity, aesthetics and clarity of Dutch design into the digital domain.” Christian Annyas has a similar opinion. Also, Woud Hobbelink agrees and feels that sometimes, Dutch Web designers seem reluctant to experiment. The products are usually somewhat stiff.

Rolf Coppens adds: “Simplicity and conceptual working are characteristics you often find in our Web design.” Caspar Hardholt has a similar opinion: “I think Dutch Web design is less complicated and very natural. As the Dutch saying goes, ‘Just act normal — that’s crazy enough.’ And I guess we don’t like stock photography. We make it more personal.”


Erik van Nieuwburg: “Dutch Flash projects are more about being functional than about having rich animations, at least when compared to many English-language projects.”

Rogier Strobbe: “If I may pick out one element that the Dutch have been known for, it is surely typography. We have some of the best typographers in the world. Think of Gerard Unger4, Martin Majoor5 and Jos Buivenga6. Of course, the Web has never been known for its rich typography, but let’s hope that @font-face and initiatives such as Typekit will change that and take typography to the next level in the coming years.”

Rose Calis adds: “The big Dutch Web design agencies still control both the market and the appearance of most designs on the Web. Freelancers spend a lot of time on the latest trends, as their designs often show. But I think the Netherlands is running a bit behind.”

Dutch Web Design: VPRO8

Christian Annyas nods approvingly: “It is hardly innovative. With the exception of a few.”

Jens Kanis: “You’ll see that we communicate more formally to our customers, while many US companies go for the informal approach. Look at Google and Apple. They talk to their customers differently than we do to ours.”

Marten de Jongh: “Best of all worlds!? The Netherlands is a multicultural society, and that’s what you see in its designs. Brazil is known for its illustrative qualities, the North Americans own the drop-shadow and use a lot of glass effects, and the French are more artistic. I think the Dutch have a little of everything.”

Michel Branco reflects: “Dutch designers characterize themselves as ‘unconventional’ and not mainstream. Perhaps an appropriate term for Dutch web design would be ‘unconventional Web design.'”

Is There A Dutch Web Community?

Wimer Hazenberg: “There is a Dutch design world, I think. Whether or not we can identify with it is another question — not with the establishment in any case, like Lost Boys9.”

Jens Kanis: “It differs according to the person. I do operate in a Dutch Web design community, but I am mainly focused on the international scene.”

Mattijs Bliek: “Yes, there is one, but you have to search for it. My experience is that it is found mainly in the Amsterdam area, which certainly appears to be a creative hot spot in the Netherlands. I find that being around other designers who challenge and inspire you is really good.”

Erik Leutscher: “Web design is an Internet profession, which means that all you need to become a successful Web designer today can be found on the Web. I don’t think a ‘Dutch’ Web community exists.”


Nelleke van der Maas: “I’m not sure. I don’t meet up regularly with other Web designers, apart from the new year’s drinks organized by creative recruitment agencies like Aquent. But because I freelance for advertising agencies in Amsterdam, I often see the same people at events, conferences and the Spin Awards112.”

Ewout van Lambalgen: “I’ve never noticed anything. I work as a freelancer, and I mainly follow international websites.”

Jonno Riekwel: “There isn’t a huge Web community in the Netherlands. Not that I know of anyway. I regret not having a community or organization that allows Web designers to come together more often, as Fronteers12 does for front-end developers.”

Harald Dunnink: “I prefer to be around people who love their profession, who are ambitious and creative. This could be a creative developer, illustrator, artist or designer, but also a baker.”

Erik van Nieuwburg: “The Flash community is a true ‘community,’ with much cohesion, because the group of people who make a living off Flash isn’t a very big one. I think it’s a great community, where you can often get immediate help with complex issues. At conferences, like Flash on the Beach13 and Flash in the Can14, you can meet up with Flash celebs like Keith Peters and Mario Klingeman, drink a beer or two and jabber away with them!”

What Does A Web Designer Or Agency Need To Be Eye-Catching?

Jonno Riekwel: “Plenty of design companies are in the Netherlands, but you really stand out when you’re transparent and do good things. Like Mangrove, which organized an evening to watch Objectified15. Agencies should do stuff like that more often.”

Jens Kanis: “It can be difficult to earn your spot in the Dutch design industry, but it is certainly possible. Invest descent time in good and clear communication with your customers, which will eventually pay off. Be honest with your clients, even if the message isn’t positive or pleasing.”

Erik van Nieuwburg: “If you are building a blog, for instance, you could see how WordPress16 does it, but you could also think about how the user would want it exactly. A great example is Nalden1817, where the established concept of a ‘blog’ was completely flushed down the drain.”


Wimer Hazenberg: “Do not accept the Web 2.0 style blindly. Go back to the basics, and from there you can create something that serves someone’s needs. We all know the basic styling tricks. It is more about finding a fitting solution to the issue at hand.” Ewout van Lambalgen agrees: “Don’t look too much to what other designers do, because it will only affect your own designs. (Un)consciously, you would always be copying from others, and then you wouldn’t stand out from the crowd.”

Caspar Hardholt: “You will be successful if you make your customers more successful.”

Matthijs Bliek: “To be completely honest, I do not like the term Web designer, because it limits you. Mike Kus puts it well in his article19 on 24 Ways: ‘A key factor in creating something original and fresh for the Web is to stop thinking in terms of Web design. Don’t design for the Web, just design.’ Do something crazy!”

Christian Annyas: “90% of all designers in the Netherlands are typical mediocre designers. The world of Web design primarily consists of rehashes of old recipes.”

Rose Calis, who has just started freelancing: “First, put everything you do on a list before you officially start as a freelancer. A beautiful and technically well-built website is not enough. A customer might give up on a poorly drafted briefing that is full of technical jargon. Be unique and refreshing, and above all keep investigating. You’re never too old to learn.”


Nelleke van der Maas: “A portfolio that not only looks beautiful but shows that the designer has thought about usability. Attention to detail makes me notice someone. Have they put effort into designing their own icons, for instance? Or have they used nice typography, unusual navigation or any new technologies?”

Woud Hobbelink: “Experimenting. Freaking out with your Photoshop/Illustrator document!” Erik Leutscher agrees: “Dare to violate the rules. You might screw up a project once, but learn from your mistakes and become a better designer.” And Harrald Dunnink puts it succinctly: “Talent, the will to work hard, a healthy kind of dissatisfaction and a computer.”

Maarten Kleyne: “Sometimes innovation can be found under the hood of a design and can be more innovative than the design itself.”

Matthijs Bliek has these words of wisdom: “Take up new technology such as HTML521 and CSS322.”


The Dutch are individualists. Despite having created a big pile of outdated websites, this small community is getting its creative act together. Web designers from the Low Countries generally love clear design, incline towards minimalism and prefer to work conceptually.

Given the rich graphic history of the Netherlands, there is still much honor to gain on the Web. Hopefully, @font-face will accelerate this development.


There is no distinct Dutch Web community, considering the Dutch are individualists and internationally oriented. The industry is fragmented, unprotected and not well represented. The only Web design blog that tries to give the Dutch community a face and contribute to a sense of high-quality design for the country is Heeftstijl24. Perhaps it is worthy of the term “Dutch Web design.”

Certainly, inspiration can come from many different sources. Erwin Olaf25 is highly valued, as is poet Wim T. Schippers26. Dutch designers refer to Bas Ording27 (Apple OS X), Momkai, Delta28 (Boris Tellegen), the late Kioken Inc.29, Jos Buivenga and Mediamonks as sources of inspiration.

And Now You Decide, With a Showcase

Adobe User Group30


Jens Kanis14732






G-Star Next Raw Reporter38






Grafisch Lyceum Rotterdam44






Mode Arnhem50




Jochem Myjer54




Sapph Lingerie58


Creative Connection60










Matias Jansen70








Unga Toys78


Joods Monument80


Dutch Design Agencies Showcase





















De Internetjongens102


Creative Monkeys104






Designer Showcase

Designed By Nelleke110


Jeroen Homan112


Jeroen van Eerden114


Sjoerd Dijkstra116








Helium Workx141124






Toko Rose139130


Wij Zijn Rood132


Special thanks to Maarten Kleyne134, Momkai13582, Frish136120, Eldesign137100, Designphunk138, Toko Rose139130, Christian Annyas140, Helium Workx141124, Branco Creative142, Iwit14334, Booreiland14490, Rumbling Skies145, Grrr14694, Jens Kanis14732, Nelleke148, MediaCT149, Marten de Jongh150 and Jonno Riekwel151.

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  1. 1

    you forgot ;-)

    To me, a big part of the best designers in the world are from Netherland ;)

    No no, I’m not from Netherland, but from France.


  2. 205

    Finally, viva Hollandia ! ;)

  3. 256

    Didnt you guys missed out on Voutloos/Frank Burghout?

  4. 358

    Nice post, but I think there are more designers that fit more in line with “Dutch Web Design” Also some of these sites have not been designed by Dutch Designers.

    Although it is a good showcase. It does not represent Web Design in The Netherlands.

    BTW What do you guys think of

  5. 409

    .Execellent post!

  6. 460

    Great Post!

  7. 511

    Excellent Post!

  8. 562

    I like this..It’s very excellent

  9. 613

    It’s nice.

  10. 664

    Love how they took random creative dutch agencies for this article, it really reflects the diversity in styles and clients. Especially MediaMonks and GRRR, I think they’ve come a long way, and their work clearly shows that.

  11. 715

    Unfortunately I believe this article is not the best representation of Dutch web design. The showcase presented is not according the “less is more” principles. As a Dutch designer myself who has worked in other countries as well, I do believe Dutch designers tend more to start from an idea, rather then execution.

    • 766

      I agree on your last sentence and as I mentioned before: “…I believe that the Dutch are very strong in conceptual thinking and less intuitive in their designing processes…”

      Even if you try to be objective, a blog post showcase will have some subjectivity in it…
      Design is also a matter of taste, good or bad… :)

      • 817

        I think so as well. Despite that, I do believe their are some good examples in this showcase as well. I think Dutch design can be compared to Swiss design. Designers like “Wim Crouwel” or “Gerard Unger” worked together with several Swiss designers. Total Design played a huge role in Dutch design history. I think they shared the same ideas about aesthetics and design only the dutch also manage marketing very well.

  12. 868

    bravo for this post. We need more of this and i what to know which country will be next?

  13. 919

    Another one for the list: and featuring

    What makes the region good at design?


  14. 970

    wow I love this post. I’m proud to be Dutch!!!

  15. 1021

    Really nice to see that there are so many Dutch designers out here. Introduction text though is a bit sad, doesn’t seem to be all that positive. (P.s. no worries, we’ll make it up to you with soccer ;-) ).

    Erik Bruinsma

  16. 1072

    That website of Jens Kanis looks like a total ripoff. That concept of a ‘pixel world’ which you can scroll from the air to below the ground has been done many times before, and even by way beter graphic designers. I can’t understand why it’s in this Dutch Design listing.

    • 1123

      My website is around for a long time now, I think I was one of the first to do this kind of thing. Besides, there are more than 300,000,000 websites. Almost everything is done already, it’s hard to be original these days.

      I can guarantee it’s not a rip-off, I know how pissed people can be if you rip-off their websites. In 2007 I did a similar layout for my company: It’s based on this idea, not based on other people ideas.

      • 1174

        A bit of a late response, but I hope you’ll read this.

        My comment was way too harsh and I’ve realised that you can be inspired by others ideas but that it’s important to give it your own toughts and touch. And that’s what you did.

        Altough I still want to give you some constructive criticism on your design, I hope you appreciate it.
        You see, you are a bit off on the field of depth and perspective and some details are wrong. The green plain has no field of depth whatsoever, you could’ve achieved by giving it a gradient, lighter green at the horizon. And you’re name/site header “Jens Kanis” has a 1px dropshadow below, but your tagline ‘Ik tover met pixels,echt..” has a 1px dropshadow going upwards, as if the sun is below the water ;)
        And, but maybe that’s personal I would’ve used the light variant of Helvetica Neue, it fits your design better. But back then you didn’t have much options for using custom fontfaces so I let you go on that one ;)

        So, again, thanks for the eyeopener and the way too polite response on my harsh comment. You sir, are a gentleman on the internet and made an example for me.

  17. 1225

    Nice article, interesting showcase (but i see any themeforest template, here!)

    Now i’m waiting for “Showcase of web design in Italy” :)

  18. 1276

    none of the website seems good

  19. 1327

    Hi…..Collections look good….


  20. 1378

    I did expect to see some work of Marius Roosendaal. His work is fenomenal.

  21. 1480

    Nice article.

    Too bad you only looked for companies in the Amsterdam area. Currently I’m a trainee at LUKKIEN in Ede (in the middle of The Netherlands). They work for clients like Tommy Hilfiger and Mitsubishi, but also typical Dutch brands like De Ruijter.

    I agree that there isn’t a big Dutch webdesign community because we join the international community instead.

  22. 1531

    I also like the Dutch design website Fontanel:

    Could be on the list I think!

  23. 1582

    Inspiring designs.

  24. 1633

    Injected Valley

    April 26, 2010 2:27 am

    Amazing, and yea inspiring designs!

  25. 1684

    Well, I’m great fan of this regional design series on Smashing Mag where you look into what’s happening in different parts of the world within Digital Media, especially how cultures affect the design and it’s perception.

  26. 1735

    maybe i go this piece totally wrong or maybe i focus on the wrong quotes, but besides the showcase (that has no descriptions/ qualifications what so ever) this piece is a kick in the teeth off dutch web-design(ers)…

    i quote:

    “Freelancers spend a lot of time on the latest trends, as their designs often show. But I think the Netherlands is running a bit behind.”
    “It is hardly innovative. With the exception of a few.”
    “I think the Dutch have a little of everything.”
    “don’t think a ‘Dutch’ Web community exists.”
    ” I’ve never noticed anything. I work as a freelancer, and I mainly follow international websites.”
    “There isn’t a huge Web community in the Netherlands. Not that I know of anyway”
    “90% of all designers in the Netherlands are typical mediocre designers.”
    “Despite having created a big pile of outdated websites, this small community is getting its creative act together”

    States on this quotes, if i were an international commissioner… i look elsewhere for a good designer/ or agency, certainly not in the netherlands…

    • 1786

      I think it’s just a fair opinion. Of all Web Agencies in Brazil (or any given country), maybe 10% is worth mentioning, the rest is mediocre, not creative or just bad…

      The Dutch will never say they do great stuff and create brilliant other stuff, even if they do! I think Dutch folks have a “healthy” dose of self-criticism. It’s a cultural thing I guess…

    • 1837

      It’s an opinion. I don’t agree we run behind, nor do I believe we’re not innovative. These are some opinions from a bunch of guys that hardly now were to look for designers in The Netherlands.

  27. 1888

    Hello ,
    Just saw beautiful Dutch Web Designs.I am very happy if you post a article called “Showcase Of Web Design In India”.

    Love & Regards

  28. 1939

    Thanks it’s very beautiful collection

  29. 1990

    Barend Emmerzaal

    April 27, 2010 1:45 am

    Finally some design from my country! And some of them are great. But if you have you should also put in the list.

  30. 2041

    This is really huge and wonderfull collection of designs and very inspiring… i really liked the designs of “G-Star Next Raw Reporter” and others too ….

  31. 2092

    Nice to read about webdesign in my own country! The collection here is very nice, but the real functional websites like,, and many others are missing. Maybe nice to mention the site: for nice examples of well designed websites (the site itself is a bit of a shame, but the nominees are great!) Maybe not the most flashy and earthshocking designs, but very practical

  32. 2143

    Great collection! I love the showcase posts.

  33. 2194

    Sebastiaan Stok

    April 30, 2010 6:24 am

    Don’t forged
    Its a very accessible website thats conforms (if I’m correct) to (There is an English version )

    • 2245

      Michiel Ebberink

      May 2, 2010 3:34 am

      In the early 2000 dutch design had its own identity. With the coming of “web 2.0″ it all started to look the same.

      Becoming famous as individual dutch web designer is hard. I think the problem is that many web designers also work for corporate clients and assignments from advertisement agencies. It leaves them little to no autonomous freedom in their work and less space to develop a style or identity. Time and money also plays a role.

  34. 2296

    @John and @Barend Both “Bijenkorf” and “Tribal DDB” are worth mentioning… That’s why we have “Comments” on blogs ;)

  35. 2347

    They totally overlooked, world’s leading pixelart artist (pixelartist?).

  36. 2398

    I love this article ! Thanks for the great work

  37. 2449

    A little late to discover this post, but still a great read!

    We also made a list with Dutch design three years ago:

    Last year we made one for Belgium as well:

    Keep it up!

  38. 2500

    Nice article Edgar!
    I recently found
    Could be on this list i think!

  39. 2551

    This is a great dutch flash website and my personal favorite.
    atleast before you guys linked
    wooow am realy amazed.


  40. 2602

    Nicolas van Spronsen

    June 14, 2010 12:39 am

    How about ;)

  41. 2653

    how about

  42. 2704

    ok, if i can add one aswell, ;-)

  43. 2755

    I recommand Dutch Girl Design, she designed my new site and handled the whole project very well:

  44. 2806

    Tom van Hoogstraten

    May 27, 2011 2:07 am

    Very nice collection of Dutch Webdesign, but not as distinctive as design for print

  45. 2857

    Very nice work guys! Al best things come from Holland!!

  46. 2908

    I am really inspired with your writing abilities as neatly as with the format for your weblog. Is that this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice high quality writing, it is uncommon to see a nice weblog like this one these days..

  47. 2959

    A dutch designer I like with its name suiting this subject very well lol

  48. 3010


    Can you guys recommend a dutch site where I can post a vacancy for a senior designer?
    Also any idea how much designers get paid in Netherlands?


  49. 3061

    Great article indeed!! I welcome you all to check out Pluralis and our unique crowdsourcing approach to Conversion Rate Optimization. Graphic/Web Designers, Copywriters, Marketers and everyone in between. We were just featured on this Dutch Blog:

    Check it out and put your optimization skills to the test for great rewards!




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