Web Design in the Netherlands
The Netherlands has a vibrant design community encompassing architecture, new media, music, dance, visual arts, and all sorts of experimental art.
As an Amsterdam-born Dutch-American who has spent a lot of time outside of Holland, I believe I have a unique perspective on this. I see, for example, how the Netherlands is a country that loves its rules and regulations and prides itself on how well-ordered its society is — and it really is. For every imaginable situation and question, the government has a well-designed guidebook and institution, but anything that isn't covered by these preset regulations is difficult for them to digest or respond to. This love of rules is the famed Dutch pragmatism, better known because of its tolerance of soft drugs.
Yet many Dutch designers seek to appear or even be avant-garde, revolutionary, and rule-breaking. I believe this is a direct reaction against the sometimes irritatingly nitpicky worship of this country's labyrinthine regulations. In doing so, they often strike an American tone or borrow from American culture, using American expressions and imagery or directly translating American slang into Dutch. A prime example in wide use (not just by Web designers) is "vet" — Dutch for "phat," a hip-hop term. "Bling" is also quite popular, and has found its way into design here as well, with a plethora of posters, magazines, and sites using diamond and gold encrusted lettering, more so than in the U.S., actually. The end result is designers catering to a target market that seeks to be in tune with American culture as a way of rebelling against their perceived and often very real rigidity of Dutch bureaucracy.