Graphic design museum opens in the Netherlands

What is being hailed as the world’s first dedicated graphic design museum opens its doors to the public in the Netherlands today.

The Foundation National Museum for Graphic Design, based in Beyerd Breda and yesterday inaugurated by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, will function as an exhibition centre and education resource for both the public and design professionals.

The intention of the museum, says its director Peter Rijntjes, is to provide an international platform for established graphic designers, as well as a showcase for new world-class talent.

Rijntjes explains that the idea for a graphic design museum was sparked by wanting to grow what was originally an art gallery with a fine art, photography and graphic design remit, from a regional to a national centre.

‘After research [with the art and design community, the public and politicians] we saw that there was most enthusiasm to focus on graphic design,’ says Rijntjes.

The museum sought funding from a number of sources including national government and private donors to extend and revamp the site, with the help of Dutch architect Hans van Heeswijk.

The museum kicks off its programme with four exhibitions – one retrospective, one aimed at children, another at young adults, and the fourth at professional designers.

‘Our programme aims to explore the history of graphic design, as well as [of] actual teams working in the field. It’s divided into three target groups – children, young adults and the profession itself,’ explains Rijntjes.

‘There is a shift of focus from the arts to design. Design is becoming more powerful and meaningful,’ he adds.

The museum’s first retrospective is 100 Years of Dutch Graphic Design, curated by Esther Cleven.

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