Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Dutch architecture has long been at the vanguard of experimentation and innovation, pushing the boundaries of design metaphorically and literally. With an extensive chunk of the country situated below sea level, the Dutch have always relied on bold engineering and architectural solutions to adapt to the changing water levels to build habitats. This culture of experimentation and engineering expertise has translated into the country’s architectural realm, where aesthetics is linked closely to technological solutions. With a new wave of architecture firms emerging and challenging the limits of design and innovation, Dutch architecture continues to be characterized by cognizance of the urban environment and the social and political forces that shape it. The following list features 25 such firms that are embracing new materials and techniques, engaging with communities in different ways, and leveraging technology to create a more liveable built environment.

photo_credit Marcel Steinbach
Marcel Steinbach

1. Mvrdv

MVRDV is a globally based architectural firm established in 1993 by Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries, with offices in Rotterdam, Shanghai, Paris, Berlin, and New York. The firm takes a research-based and collaborative approach to its design process, involving clients, stakeholders, and experts from a wide range of fields to create exemplary, outspoken projects that promote a better future for our cities and landscapes. MVRDV’s work spans various scales, from buildings of all types and sizes to urban plans and visions, publications, installations, and exhibitions. The firm has a reputation for designing innovative, experimental, and vibrant mixed-use buildings, renowned housing projects, and repurposing outdated structures through exciting transformations. MVRDV is also involved in large-scale urban master plans, research, and the running of an independent think tank and research institute, The Why Factory.


photo_credit Egbert de Boer
Egbert de Boer


OMA is an internationally renowned architecture and urbanism practice led by eight partners, Rem Koolhas, Reinier de Graaf, Ellen van Loon, Shohei Shigematsu, Iyad Alsaka, Chris van Duijn, Jason Long, and Managing Partner-Architect David Gianotten. With offices in Rotterdam, New York, Hong Kong, Doha and Australia, the practice is currently working on several building projects, including the renovation of Kaufhaus des Westens in Berlin and the Simone Veil Bridge in Bordeaux. OMA has also completed numerous high-profile projects, such as the Taipei Performing Arts Centre and Fondazione Prada in Milan. Additionally, OMA’s research and design studio, AMO, collaborates with clients from various fields to apply architectural thinking to different domains. AMO has worked with companies such as Universal Studios, Heineken, and Ikea, and has produced research and exhibitions for prestigious institutions like the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Venice Architecture Biennale.



photo_credit Eva Bloem
Eva Bloem

3. UNStudio

UNStudio began as a vision of two young minds, Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos, who started with a simple drawing board and a pen, sketching their designs for the future. Today, 30 years later, UNStudio operates in over 30 countries with six international offices and a team of over 200 architects and designers who focus on designing spaces that meet human needs. Their work includes connecting communities, building cultural institutions, and harnessing emerging technologies. UNStudio is committed to connecting people to places and each other in relevant, flexible, and future-proof ways. The company has built its foundation on future-proof principles, and they are committed to continuing to create exciting and complex spaces that cultivate knowledge and bring people together.



Courtesy of Mecanoo

4. Mecanoo

Mecanoo was founded in 1984 in Delft and has a diverse team of professionals from 25 different countries, including architects, interior designers, urban planners, landscape architects, and architectural technicians. Led by Francine Houben and a team of partners, Mecanoo’s design philosophy centers around People, Place, Purpose, and Poetry, with a focus on creating unique solutions for each project that are prepared for inevitable change. Sustainability is also a key aspect of their design approach, aiming to create inspiring and authentic places that are socially relevant for people and communities. The practice prioritizes process, consultation, context, urban scale, and integrated sustainable design strategies to create culturally significant buildings that are human-centric.



photo_credit Simon Menges
Simon Menges

5. KAAN Architecten

KAAN Architecten is a Rotterdam-based design firm with satellite offices in São Paulo and Paris. Led by Kees Kaan, Vincent Panhuysen and Dikkie Scipio, the practice prioritizes cross-disciplinary collaboration to encourage critical debate within the studio. The firm has practical and academic expertise in architecture, urbanism, and research on the built environment. KAAN Architecten emphasizes cross-pollination between projects and disciplines to promote critical debate within the firm. With an extensive portfolio of projects since its inception, working actively in both the private and public sectors, the firm continues to evolve with the changing times.



photo_credit scagliolabrakkee / © Neutelings Riedijk Architects
scagliolabrakkee / © Neutelings Riedijk Architects

6. Neutelings Riedijk Architects

Neutelings Riedijk Architects is an acclaimed architectural firm based in Rotterdam, dedicated to producing exceptional designs of superior quality. The firm prides itself on its innovative and imaginative concepts that translate into striking built structures. The firm specializes in complex projects for public, commercial, and cultural buildings, including theatres, museums, hotels, schools, city halls, office buildings, libraries, and mixed-use developments. Their vast experience in balancing the intricate functions and logistics of these projects with their sensitive urban contexts has enabled them to create iconic structures that make a significant impact in the public realm and fulfill their clients’ aspirations.


photo_credit Sebastian van Damme
Sebastian van Damme

7. Powerhouse Company

Powerhouse Company is an award-winning architectural firm based in Rotterdam with international studios in Oslo and Munich. Established in 2005, the firm began operating from kitchen tables in Rotterdam and Copenhagen but has since grown into a multidisciplinary office of around 100 professionals. The firm has won several prizes, including the Dutch Design Award, the Maaskant Prize, and the AM/NAI Award. The firm is dedicated to giving meaning to space through profound form and function. Although the firm has evolved over the years, it is still led by its founder, Nanne de Ru, along with Paul Stavert, Stefan Prins, Sander Apperlo (Munich), Johanne Borthne (Oslo), and Albert Takashi Richters.



photo_credit ewout huibers / concrete / ZOKU
ewout huibers / concrete / ZOKU

8. Concrete

Concrete is a team of 50 inquisitive individuals from diverse creative backgrounds who believe in challenging norms and thinking outside the box. The firm enjoys engaging in thought-provoking discussions, art, haute cuisine, and even burgers. Concrete specializes in creating concepts across various fields such as architecture, interior design, urban planning, branding, and conceptual programming. The firm’s philosophy prioritizes people over buildings, and it believes that life should dictate form. Concrete is open to collaboration with like-minded individuals such as clients, experts, creatives, and potential colleagues who share its values. The firm strives to provide the best solutions to problems, rather than the most convenient ones.


photo_credit Laurens Eggen
Laurens Eggen

9. MVSA Architects

MVSA is an internationally renowned architecture and design firm that aims to create innovative, sustainable, and functional architectural solutions that enhance wellbeing. Their team includes exterior and interior architects, structural engineers, workspace consultants, project leaders, sustainability experts, model makers and product designers. MVSA works closely with clients, stakeholders, and users to develop tailored solutions, managing projects from concept to completion. With extensive experience in new contractual forms such as public-private partnerships and design & build contracts, they provide a single point of contact and a result that meets their clients’ needs.


photo_credit Jannes Linders
Jannes Linders

10. Benthem Crouwel Architects

Benthem Crouwel Architects is an Amsterdam-based architecture firm with over four decades of experience, covering every aspect of design. Their diverse and international portfolio positions them well to take on any urban challenge. The firm’s approach to each project is enthusiastic and inquisitive, using imagination, expertise, and smart craftsmanship to find the best possible solutions. Benthem Crouwel Architects places a high value on collaboration, working closely with clients and all stakeholders to reveal the question behind the question, resulting in functional yet exciting buildings that people can connect with and be proud of. The firm designs beyond architecture, creating buildings, spaces, and infrastructure that add value at all levels to citizens, neighborhoods, and the planet. The team is led by partners Pascal Cornips, Daniel Jongtien, Saartje van der Made, and Joost Vos, and comprises around fifty professionals, working on projects from Amsterdam and Düsseldorf.

photo_credit Ewout Huibers
Ewout Huibers

11. i29

i29 is an award-winning design office specializing in interior and architecture projects. Their work is known for its simplicity, and they aim to create physical experiences that are clear, effective, and surprising in a world that is increasingly digitized. With a diverse portfolio, i29 is able to work inclusively with all kinds of clients and users to deliver custom solutions. They approach each project with a unique perspective and do not rely on standard solutions, but instead use standardized working methods to ensure quality, efficiency, and creativity. i29 is always evolving to produce relevant work in collaboration with their clients. They create places with a strong identity that speak for themselves and strive to inspire a better future. Whether working on heritage renovations or new construction developments, they always seek to get the best out of every challenge.


photo_credit Deon Prince
Deon Prince

12. NL Architects

Established in 1997, NL Architects is a Rotterdam-based firm founded by Walter van Dijk. The firm has gained recognition for creating unconventional and innovative buildings that push the boundaries of traditional architecture. From a public swimming pool shaped like a giant pool noodle to a residential building featuring a knot-shaped void, their designs are intended to create a sense of community and connection among the people who use them.

photo_credit Jean Paul Mioulet
Jean Paul Mioulet

13. Atelier PRO architekten

Atelier PRO is a Dutch architectural firm based in The Hague led by architect-director Dorte Kristensen and three partners Mira van Beek, Karho Yeung, and Paul Vlaar. Established in 1976, Atelier PRO has grown into a multidisciplinary firm with strong craftsmanship and social involvement. Their designs for architecture, urban design, and interior reflect the context of the surroundings in a surprising and refined manner. The firm operates both independently and in collaboration with partners from other disciplines. Atelier PRO’s headquarters is situated in a unique dune garden in the Archipel neighborhood of The Hague. The location inspires the team and highlights their emphasis on the genius loci, which has been the driving force behind their contextual approach to architecture from the very beginning. Based on these principles, Atelier PRO creates surprising and groundbreaking architecture, reflected in their name PRO: Plan, Space, Development.


photo_credit Jeroen Musch
Jeroen Musch

14. Paul de Ruiter Architects

Established in 1994, Paul de Ruiter Architects is an Amsterdam based firm whose vision is defined by the keywords, innovation, sustainability, identity, and interaction. Their aim is to bring the future closer through innovative architecture, achieving the seemingly impossible by developing unexpected and pioneering solutions. They believe an architect must move beyond existing frames of reference, be proactive, and involve all parties concerned in the process from the start to uncover the real needs of the client. They are based in a former steel workplace, renovated, and converted by the firm into a business complex that houses several creative companies in addition to their own.


photo_credit Rob van Esch
Rob van Esch

15. EGM Architects

EGM is a Dutch architectural, consultancy, and research firm, known for its innovative and knowledgeable approach. With over 45 years of experience, they have become pioneers in sustainable and proactive architecture. Their portfolio includes a wide range of unique buildings for healthcare, government, education, research, society, living, and business projects both nationally and internationally, from small-scale interventions to large, complex assignments. EGM’s philosophy centres around the belief that a building is never separate from its surroundings and society, and they design with the people who will be using the building in mind.



Marcel IJzerman

16. NEXT Architects

NEXT Architects is an Amsterdam-based international architecture firm founded in 1999, which has established a name for itself through design and research in the intersection of architecture, urban planning, and landscape. They have a second office in Beijing, China. The firm’s work revolves around the concept of connection, creating places to meet and connect, and collaborating with multidisciplinary teams to address larger social themes. NEXT architects remain curious and open-minded, always exploring and pushing boundaries. They develop visionary concepts that extend beyond individual buildings, including ideas for the bicycle city, water management, and the future of the Netherlands. The firm values involving outsiders in their process and translating concepts into designs that are surprising yet logical, making their work richer and more meaningful.



photo_credit Lucas van der Wee
Lucas van der Wee

17. Architecten Bureau Cepezed

Architecten Bureau Cepezed is an architectural firm that prioritizes creating user-friendly and flexible designs that are filled with natural light. With a focus on three aspects sustainability, efficiency and aesthetics, they take pride in designing structures that are distinctive and offer residents a pleasant experience. The firm was established in 1973 and has since expanded its expertise to include development, construction coordination, and interior design through cepezedprojects, cepezedbouwteam, and cepezedinterieur. They have a diverse portfolio that includes residential, commercial, healthcare, and infrastructure projects, as well as building products.



photo_credit Stijn Poelstra
Stijn Poelstra

18. Kraaijvanger

Kraaijvanger is an architecture firm that operates as practical idealists, combining their passion for beauty and a circular world with a hands-on approach to making it a reality. They work alongside clients, with the environment and users in mind to create designs that inspire and contribute positively to society. Based in Rotterdam, Kraaijvanger draws inspiration from the city’s dynamic energy, and its founders Evert and Herman Kraaijvanger’s incredible attention to detail and material. Since its establishment in 1927, the firm has grown significantly and now focuses on socially significant projects such as public buildings, public interiors, and vital urban districts. Their mission remains to dream big and then turn those dreams into reality.



photo_credit Stijn Poelstra
Stijn Poelstra

19. Zecc Architecten

Zecc is an architectural firm that believes in creating functional, sustainable, and engaging designs that stimulate all senses at once. They have developed a unique approach to architecture called “Grounded Architecture,” which draws inspiration from the strength of a tree’s roots. Zecc believes that a strong foundation is essential for developing the most wonderful ideas, and this belief underpins everything they do. The firm strives to create buildings that are striking, practical and sustainable, integrating form and function.


photo_credit Stefan Müller / Office Winhov
Stefan Müller / Office Winhov

20. Office Winhov

Office Winhov is an architecture firm that prioritizes the durability and relevance of buildings in the ever-changing urban environment. Their designs embody simplicity and sophistication, considering the environmental, social, and cultural dimensions of architecture and city planning. The firm’s reputation for strong formal and material presence stems from their careful understanding of context and commitment to creating robust buildings that integrate seamlessly into their surroundings. Office Winhov’s interest in longevity has led them to expand their activities internationally, designing a wide range of projects. The firm believes in the power of the ordinary and strives to create buildings that endure the test of time.



photo_credit Bram Vreugdenhil
Bram Vreugdenhil

21. Fokkema & Partners Architecten

Fokkema & Partners is an architecture firm that places great value on individual growth and creativity. They believe in allowing their team members enough space to develop their passions, resulting in a diverse and enthusiastic group of experts with varied personalities and skills. The firm enjoys assignments that present a significant challenge, such as solving complex, multi-spatial issues and turning them into clear, concise designs. Since its inception in 1995, Fokkema & Partners has focused on designing from the inside out, starting with the user. The team works to create spaces for working, learning, relaxing, inspiring, or consumption, focusing on what brings people together and fosters connections.



photo_credit Jan Bitter Fotografie
Jan Bitter Fotografie

22. Wiel Arets Architects

A notable architecture and design firm with studios in the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland, Wiel Arets Architects (WAA) also works in publishing and education. The firm comprises a multidisciplinary team of architects, designers, thinkers and administrators working on numerous projects across Europe, North America, Asia and Africa. The firm’s work involves a blend of hybrid-programming solutions, which are adaptable and able to anticipate contextual changes in the future and emerge from rigorous research. WAA’s designs are recognized for their exceptional craftsmanship and tactility. This online publication serves as a comprehensive resource that offers global access to information on WAA’s organization and output.


photo_credit Sebastian van Damme
Sebastian van Damme


GROUP A is a design firm for architecture, interior, and urban planning, based in the Keilepand in Rotterdam. The firm was founded in 1996 by Maarten van Bremen, Folkert van Hagen, and Adam Visser, and currently comprises a tight-knit team of approximately 30 designers and 4 staff members. The firm believes in the power of a group of people with the right chemistry, working together in an open and engaged process to create the most valuable projects. Their work, which has won several awards, ranges from offices to residential buildings, mobility projects, and transformations. They see urban planning, architecture, and interior design as interconnected, and aim to design environments that balance human comfort with the ecosystem. With an optimistic and pragmatic approach, the team takes responsibility for a good design process, from conception to completion, with a focus on social engagement. They design smart and characterful solutions by seeing the big picture, focusing on details, and placing the user at the center.



photo_credit Maarten Willemstein
Maarten Willemstein

24. Studioninedots

Studioninedots is an architectural and urban design firm working on a diverse range of projects such as residential developments, public buildings, and urban concepts, all of which are distinguished by an element of surprise. The firm believes in the power of innovation and disruption and employs a playful spirit to challenge traditional architectural boundaries. Studioninedots places great emphasis on prioritizing the desires and roles of the people who will inhabit their spaces. They specialize in reactivating and transforming complex urban sites and creating projects that drive social impact. Their solutions are inspired by circularity, and they embrace tactility and inspiring spaces as fundamental human needs. By remaining mindful of context and prioritizing attention to detail and craftsmanship, they aim to design places with inherent beauty.


photo_credit SeARCH

25. SeARCH

SeARCH is a renowned architecture and urban design firm based in Amsterdam, founded in 2002 by Bjarne Mastenbroek. The name SeARCH, an acronym for Stedenbouw en ARCHitectuur, underlines the inseparable relationship between buildings and their surroundings. The firm has a multidisciplinary team of international professionals working on projects globally. SeARCH’s designs are influenced by the relationship between architecture and the site, with a focus on landscapes as the most essential and generous element connecting the interior and exterior. Sustainability and circularity are important factors in their projects, which they achieve by carefully considering the surrounding environment. The firm values collaboration with clients, users, and specialists to create innovative and original design solutions. Additionally, SeARCH is a pioneer of the timber revolution, with over half of their projects being sustainable, timber-based constructions.

The selection curated by the Archello editorial team is based on a mixture of the amount of featured projects and the views they generated.


By Lala