11 February 2022 News

New focus for DDF director Martijn Paulen

After nine years, Martijn Paulen has decided to focus entirely on the new strategic development of Dutch Design Foundation (DDF) and steps down from his role as frontman of Dutch Design Week (DDW). Besides DDW, DDF has continued to develop itself with World Design Embassies and What if Labs on the power of design for societal changes. In addition to the crown jewel DDW, the organisation wants to make a solid commitment to these. Martijn will be focusing on this development and has decided to take the opportunity to make room for new creative leadership at DDW. has decided to seize the opportunity to make room for new creative leadership at DDW. DDW is looking for a new creative leader and figurehead.

Martijn says the following about his choice for this new challenge within DDF: “With heart and soul, I’ve thrown myself completely into DDW in the past nine years. For all those creatives, the designers, the open-minded do-gooders and scriptwriters of our future, I have dedicated myself with great passion to helping DDW develop further. Together, we have made it a success: the government has even acknowledged it as indispensable for the Dutch creative basic infrastructure. DDW is a perfect example of how far you can get if you do it together. But if you want DDW to remain a movement full of innovation, you have to dare to make room for new talent, different ideas, and diversity. It’s time for a generation to build on what we have built together with the community. New energy, different networks, and own choices. Because I will focus on the future strategic development of DDF, I have decided that this is the right moment to make room within DDW. I want to deeply thank everyone who contributed to the success of DDW for all their inspiration and commitment. Truly amazing!”

Empowering businesses and governments with design power

The coalition agreement states: the creative industry will be explicitly involved in the significant social tasks. But how? For some time, DDF has been working on programmes and projects that connect designers with governments and businesses to provide their new policy and innovation capacity with design power. Martijn: “Companies and governments realise that old methods no longer work. DDF believes in the power of design to create new questions, insights, imagination and other processes to involve stakeholders. We have strongly developed our organisation in this regard with the labels World Design Embassies and What if Lab. It is precisely this direction that we want to embed strategically much more in the coming years. And together with the team, I will sink my teeth into that with great passion! This is confirmed by Marianne Aarnoudse, as head of Design Works she is responsible for World Design Embassies and What if Lab. “I am very much looking forward to working with Martijn on the direction of these new developments. His strategic involvement in these programmes offers new opportunities, both at a national and a European level.” 

As the strategic director, Martijn Paulen remains responsible for DDF as an organisation together with business director Igor van Hooff.