Much has been and continues to be written about streamlining, the design style as well as the scientific phenomenon. A selection of historical books by curator Tomas van den Heuvel.

Flow visualisations of four sports in which fluid mechanics is crucial: cycling, speed skating, skeleton and swimming.

On display until — 31 December 2023

Sigrid Calon – Everyday Tools

In the ceramics closet on the second floor of the museum, we present the recent acquisition of ‘Everyday Tools’ by Sigrid Calon.

In an age where our lives are inextricably tied up with new techniques and technologies, it’s important to pause from time to time to reflect on how these things are influencing both us and our society.

Sex toys are immensely popular. Yet their use was not always so obvious.

The location symbol is a genuine cultural phenomenon, but since the rise of social media, it’s also been part of who we are (or would like to be) as a person. Which is why we’re often oblivious to the dangers that it embodies.

Living or staying in a bubble? That idea has fascinated people for centuries.

To some people, a bike is just a simple form of transport. To others, cycling is a way of life.

For many people, the ring has a symbolic meaning. To them it’s much more than ‘portable wealth’.

Modern military helmets bear little resemblance to the old, gleaming models with their crests swaying in the breeze. How did they develop? And what specifications does the Dutch Ministry of Defence impose for combat helmets today?

Nowadays a knife and a fork are laid out neatly on either side of your plate. Go back a few centuries, though, and there was no fork to be seen. Knives and forks originated in their own ways, a development illustrated by archaeological finds.

I have over a hundred houseplants in my house. So I couldn’t do without a watering can – it’s part of my standard equipment as a plant lover and gardener.

Someone in sneakers is a familiar scene, but still somewhat remarkable. Less than half a century ago, it would have been unthinkable to walk around in the street like that wearing sports shoes.

Sebas van Aert is a journalist and podcaster. He studied philosophy and played in NAC Breda’s youth football team. For the Third Floor, he wrote the article below. As soon as the whistle blows and the ball starts to move, the noise of the outside world fades away. Thoughts sink into the background, your head… View Article

Hair removal, whether partial or full, goes back to time immemorial. But what impact has it had on us as human beings?

One moment a broad waist is fashionable, the next moment everyone wants a narrow waist. Sometimes underwear can help achieve that ideal shape.

‘As long as your hair is right’ sang the Dutch band Vulcano in 1983. A history of hairstyle.

Modern advertising presents us with ideas about gender and shaving that are mostly western and binary.

Today’s sports shoes are designed to keep improving your performance, which goes hand in hand with technical innovations and science.

Although your skull provides natural protection for your brain, the cranium cannot withstand a hard impact caused by an accident or a bullet.

As we travel, we are cut off from the world around us and often move so fast that we cannot even see who is driving next to us.

A dot, an arrow or a pin on a map on your smartphone: these are what you use nowadays to indicate where your body is located. But does anyone still remember the phone box?

Design crosses the threshold of our bodies more often than you might think.

In other countries, the bike tended to be associated after the turn of the century with the working class. Queen Wilhelmina’s penchant for cycling meant that in the Netherlands, by contrast, bikes continued to be used by all levels of society. They have been seen as ‘typically Dutch’ ever since.

Rings are worn directly on the skin, but they are also visible to everyone. They make it easy to display your affinity with another person or a particular group.

For many of us, eating with a knife, fork and spoon is entirely natural.

We dig, plant, rake and water the garden, and then leave it to grow. The watering can has become a typical and familiar design in this regard.

The rules determine not only the game in general, but also how the player is permitted to move the ball around the pitch.

Curvy bottom and hips, wasp waist or gym-honed figure: the image of the ideal body has changed a lot over the centuries. Underwear helps people get as close as possible to that perfect image.

One of the most personal designs can be found right there on your head.

How does the wing of an aircraft work?

Solar cars need to be as efficient as possible and are therefore completely streamlined. In this video, Luc Evertzen of Solar Team Twente tells you more about the importance of streamlining solar cars.

How do young designers find their inspiration online? How has their favourite meme inspired their latest work? To what image can they always return when they are stuck in a creative rut? In short: What can their ‘Saved’ folder tell us about them as a creative?

On display until — 13 August 2023


The most popular tattoo in the nineties was the tribal tattoo. The solid shapes, placed in large sections and thick lines, decorated many upper arms, backs and lower legs. The unsubtle tattoos were inspired by the traditions of the Maori, Hawaiians and Aztecs, among others, but had little to do with them in practice. We… View Article

Cyclist Ellen van Dijk is a seven-time world champion and set the world hour record in 2022. In this video, she elaborates on why streamlining is important to her.

In search of the ideal streamline, people often look to nature. But what are we actually talking about when we talk about streamlined animals?

What is a streamline? And what is aerodynamic resistance or ‘drag’?

On display until — 3 September 2023

Faster, better, more beautiful – the design of progress

Design, art, nature and technology blend into a single whirlwind experience in this grandly conceived family exhibition. Discover the fascination with speed, follow the hunt for the millisecond and experience the heyday of streamlined design.

In our present age of climate upheaval and fuel shortages, reducing air resistance is right back at the top of the design agenda.

Aerodynamics or hydrodynamics are crucial to speed sports like swimming, cycling, skating, bobsledding and skiing.

At its height, the streamlined design was accompanied by certain modern ideals.

It was no coincidence that the streamlined look became so popular in the 1930s.

New, streamlined vehicles were frequently held out in advertisements as the future of transport. In this way, streamlined trains, cars, aeroplanes and boats assumed an iconic status.

The streamline heralded in a new kind of modernity.

Many early experiments set out to compare forms in order to identify the perfect one.

For hundreds of years, a galloping horse was viewed as the epitome of speed. But this would change in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. New inventions like the train, the car and the aeroplane meant that speeds that once seemed fantastical were becoming increasingly possible. This new potential for progress had a huge… View Article

Learning from nature can still be very useful when it comes to creating aerodynamic designs.

The term “streamline” originates from science and engineering, but what is it?

Heera Shin researched the development of metaverses and avatars and asked herself: how do we care for this growing number of avatars, our digital identities?

How is digital clothing actually made? What possibilities are there in a digital environment that you don’t have in the physical world when it comes to clothing design? During this program you will get answers to these questions and more by designing digital clothing yourself in the Digital Atelier of Huis73.

This is an English-speaking event. How do young designers find their inspiration online? How has their favourite meme inspired their latest work? To what image can they always return when they are stuck in a creative rut? In short: What can their ‘Saved’ folder tell us about them as a creative?

The world of digital fashion is growing explosively. Where are we right now? And which up-and-coming designers are worth watching?

As not to get left behind as digitalisation rapidly develops, FashionUnited has compiled a selection of terms and words that are imperative to understanding this vast new realm.

The short history of digital fashion.

In order to join a guild, a craftsman needed to submit a masterpiece. That was a specially made specimen of his skill, detailed in advance, that was judged to ascertain his qualifications. In nearly every German town, an aspiring cabinetmaker needed to make a drawing of the masterpiece he intended to submit, prior to being… View Article

A drawing can depict designed object so perfectly, that it is unlikely ever to have been realized as shown. For example, the designer can ignore the technical limitations of a particular material, or he can imagine a work of art on which various makers would need to work together so concertedly as to be practically… View Article

A draughtsman may combine two designs in a single drawing by depicting an object composed of two different halves. Such a drawing is manifestly a design: no object would ever be executed in that manner. A potential client was able to compare the two propositions and choose either of them. Moreover, this mode of presentation… View Article

A designer forms his first idea about an object through drawing. He makes a quick sketch which he can subsequently alter or improve, or amplify by adding another sketch. In this way he uses the drawing to create a design, first of all for himself. The drawing makes the first idea visible and serves as… View Article

Luigi Valadier (1726–1785) ran the foremost goldsmiths’ workshop in Rome for many years, and after his death it was continued by his son Giuseppe (1762–1839). An enormous amount of drawings from this workshop has been preserved. They are not just fine presentation drawings, of a kind known from other workshops as well, but also proper… View Article

While a beautiful object was being made, many drawings were produced. They varied from quick sketches to try out a shape or decorative motif, to full-scale model drawings for particular elements of the work in question. Once the object was completed, those drawings were normally discarded, as they had fulfilled their role. Happily, some examples… View Article

The order for a large and expensive work of art for a church, such as choirstalls or a pulpit, was a matter of serious concern. Next to a pope, a bishop or a vicar, a governing body of some kind was often involved as well. A contract was usually drawn up, in which the work… View Article

At the end of the nineteenth century there was great interest in the decorative arts. There was a wide-felt concern that as a result of the Industrial Revolution, the quality of functional and ornamental objects had deteriorated, both in terms of design and execution. Many young artists were keen to improve this situation. Rather than… View Article

An object’s venerable age could from an additional argument to have a drawings made of it. From the Renaissance onwards, artefacts from Greek and Roman antiquity were highly admired. Both artists and connoisseurs were keen to obtain images of them. Works of art made at later periods were also collected and studied, and drawings of… View Article

Once a fine object was made, it might be recorded in a drawing for a number of reasons. An owner could commission a drawn inventory of his possessions: this occurred most frequently for assemblages of works in silver and gold or other precious treasury pieces. Objects were also drawn as examples of new designs, fashions… View Article

From the fifteenth century onwards many engraved designs for the decorative arts have been produced. These prints were the principal medium for the dissemination of new kinds of objects, fashions, styles, models and decorative motifs. When a designer drew a design as a model to be engraved, he was faced with a different task from… View Article

Drawings were an important means of selling works of art and fine objects. They could represent a work of art that had been finished, or provide an image of what an object would look like when ordered. Drawings of objects were sent all over Europe, or brought along to annual fairs where dealers and agents… View Article

Nancy Bocken is professor of Sustainable Business at Maastricht University. For the Third Floor, she interprets the impact of the fashion industry on the environment and she shares tips on how both the government, sneaker brands and sneaker lovers can make more sustainable choices.

15 October 2022 — 26 February 2023

Artificial Awe

Frank Kolkman designs at the intersection of technology and the human body. The work Artificial Awe is an attempt to visualise sublime experiences and make them generally accessible using artificial intelligence.

15 October 2022 — 12 March 2023

A Digital Nature

The Young Design Team is proud to present A Digital Nature – DEMO at the Design Museum Den Bosch. The presentation shows a selection of animations themed around digital nature: wondrous underwater worlds, alien plants and dream landscapes with digital flowers. They are enticing images that also force you to think: have we entered an… View Article

Shoes made from sustainable materials such as apple leather, mushroom leather and recycled rubber are increasingly seen as an alternative to animal leather. What is the potential and what are the challenges?

15 October 2022 — 26 February 2023

Screenwear – Exploring Digital Fashion

Digital fashion has long since ceased to be science fiction. Fashion created from pixels instead of textiles is almost imperceptibly part of everyday life for many people. Slowly we are moving toward the metaverse: the future virtual world of the Internet in which our physical environment will merge with the digital one. Discover the newest generation of fashion designers and meet face to face with hyper-realistic digital models.

A reflection on Elisa van Joolen’s PORTAL 012 workshop, by writer Emma van Meyeren and photographer Nikola Lamburov.

In een wereld waar het draait om minimale marges tussen winst en verlies, delft het milieu vaak het onderspit. Fabrikanten denken vooral in winst, niet in verlies en al helemaal niet in verlies voor de planeet. Dat geldt ook voor de maker van je hypermoderne stampers.

Why are the CO2 emissions of sneaker production so high? And what can be done about it?

As part of the Sneakers Under Construction presentation, designer Elisa van Joolen has developed a new edition of PORTAL (2017 – present) together with the Young Design Team. In this unique masterclass edition of PORTAL you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the design and research practice of Elisa van Joolen. The intimate… View Article

Nike, Adidas and Puma, but also new brands are focusing on them: NFT sneakers, or virtual sneakers. Such a sneaker is a unique digital “non-fungible token” (NFT), a concept that is increasingly common in the art and fashion world. The digital shoe can be saved and later sold or worn by gamers in the metaverse… View Article

Titi Finlay is a London based content creator, sneakerhead and sneaker activist working. For the Third Floor she tries to answer the question: why can’t sneakers be gender neutral?

Edson and Gee look back on the development of Patta with anecdotes about a number of sneakers and shoes.

Some were banned, while others stir up very strong emotions, and then there are also lawsuits between makers and brands.

Designers Janntje and Toon talk about the exhibition design, details and challenges.

The sneaker industry is vast. It has grown exponentially over the last two decades and shows no sign of slowing down. In 2021, for example, about 1.2 billion sneakers were sold worldwide which is almost double the amount of sneakers sold in 2012.

Nowadays, sneaker culture is a global phenomenon, but it was born locally, even before the rise of the internet. The series Sole Origins takes you to the cities that have had a great impact on this.

5 November 2022 — 12 February 2023

Process – Design Drawings from the Rijksmuseum

This pioneering exhibition is an opportunity to discover a collection of extraordinary design drawings from the Rijksmuseum. The drawings, which date from the period 1500–1900, have been brought together for the first time and are arranged according to the successive stages of the design process.

In our sneaker dictionary you will find an overview of the most important, most used and sometimes just plain fun words.

Everyone can point out the sole of a sneaker, but what about the upper? Where is the mustache? And what do the eyelet and the aglet have in common? Find out in this sneaker anatomy.

Still the sneaker’s popularity remains undiminished, especially among young people. Worldwide subcultures keep adding specific models to their daily uniform.

In the 1990s, the sneaker gained a foothold in the Netherlands thanks to gabbers and bubbling, but a unique way of styling the sneaker also emerged in London.

When sneaker brands realized the popularity among young people, they tried to entice them by using musicians and athletes as role models.

Sneaker culture has become ubiquitous thanks largely to the influence of young people from diverse inner-city neighbourhoods. They have been instrumental in elevating sneakers from pure sportswear to sought-after icons of style.

11 June 2022 — 2 October 2022

The King of Posters: Engel Verkerke

Every youth room used to be full of them: the posters produced by Verkerke Reprodukties, the company of Poster King Engel Verkerke. Whether you picked Che Guevara, The Beatles, a horse on the beach or a naked woman, you could show exactly who you wanted to be and which group you wanted to belong to…. View Article

The sneaker industry is environmentally damaging, but there are many hopeful projects to address these problems.

Most sports shoes that we now consider groundbreaking arose from solving core design concerns, such as traction, fit, stability, cushioning and energy return can help to improve athletic performance.

In the 1990s major sports brands ventured outside their comfort zone, entering into exclusive partnerships with small retailers and progressive fashion designers.

Sneaker culture has become ubiquitous thanks largely to the influence of young people from diverse inner-city neighbourhoods. They have been instrumental in elevating sneakers from pure sportswear to sought-after icons of style.

Few objects are as universal or as diverse as the sneaker. Which is one reason why the sneaker has become the undisputed cultural symbol of our times, bridging culture, design, fashion, music and technology.

Afgerukte ledematen, ontbindende lijken en afstotelijke monsters. Net als in het posthumanisme staat in gothic het lichaam centraal. Toevallig? Volgens curator Tomas van den Heuvel niet.