Search anything

Close search
Press Archive

Designers and NS work together to reinvent travelling by train

05 October 2017

NS (Dutch railways) aims to improve the travelling experience now and in the future. Earlier this year they challenged designers to develop ideas through which passengers would have more choice about how to spend their travelling time. Four concepts have been developed and can be tested by the passengers themselves in the trains travelling to Dutch Design Week. 

Passengers can test designs themselves on the train

This design challenge is part of a multi-year collaboration between Dutch Design Foundation (Dutch Design Week organiser) and NS titled What if Lab, that was started in 2016. This Lab involves designers in current problems faced by organizations. This year What if Lab x NS is all about the better use of travelling time. Each day more than 1 million people travel by train. To continue to meet the demands of the passengers, NS asked designers to develop designs through which passengers could spend their time as effectively as possible, both individually and in relationship to the other passengers. 

2017 Designs

The following four designs are to be tested in trains during Dutch Design Week on the Amsterdam – Eindhoven and The Hague – Eindhoven routes. Based on the results of these experiments, NS will determine if and how the designs are to be implemented. 

Spoorwijs – cheating allowed!

A quiz that passengers can play against each other in the train, including questions about the surroundings and answers that have to be drawn. Passengers are politely encouraged and stimulated to interact with other passengers through their own smart phones – and to discover more about the route they are travelling. The entire compartment plays the same game real-time and competitions can be held playing as an individual or in a group.

Designer: Waarmakers


In a brief training, passengers learn simple techniques from coach Viktoria Susovits for a relaxing start to the day and a supple transition from work to private life. 

This app provides passengers with access to the added value of Mindfulness. Through the app, passengers will be able to participate in a free 6-8 week course or one-off get to know Mindfulness training in the train.

Designer: Studio Jan Pieter Kaptein

Reis je fit

Train your stomach and back muscles while travelling, surfing to the rhythm of the train in the aisle and perking up when someone sits down next to you.

An add-on furniture collection of moving furniture to get passengers moving. Each piece of furniture has its own function: upholstered Macaron cushions train core stability, the water tile Floatile gets passengers balancing while standing and the Bambata water cushion springs back as someone takes a seat next to you on the lounge sofa that has been installed in new trains.

Designers: Enrichers


Listening pane is an audio tour in the train. While travelling through the landscape, the passengers can listen to the youngest train driver, the most elderly ticket inspector and the stories behind the strangest lost and found objects.

‘Luisterruit’ conjures up an experiential journey. Through a twenty-minute audio tour, the passenger is provided with a new set of ears and eyes to experience the world in and around the train. 

Designer: Manon van Hoeckel in collaboration with Tom Loois

NS during DDW

In addition to the theme compartments in the train during Dutch Design Week, NS will also be presenting an example of the ‘train of tomorrow’ on the busy Ketelhuisplein. This mock-up is equipped with new and sustainable facilities that have been inspired by the new approach to work. Passengers will have the flexibility to meet, share, work and/or relax. Also, ‘The Hood’; a new concept for the entrance of the train, will be on show at the Ketelhuisplein. The NS looks forward to entering a dialogue with the public and professionals during DDW about how they envisage the future of train travel. 

​Note for the editorial team, not for publication:

For more information, please contact Dutch Design Week (DDW) through Raffaela Vandermühlen, Head of Brand Strategy and PR Dutch Design Foundation, T: +31(0)40-296 11 50, E:,


Click here for hi-res images.

Publication of these photographs is permitted for non-commercial purposes exclusively in combination with the news from this press release. Credits: the photo can only be published if the names of the photographer and organisation are stated.



Accreditation as press for DDW is possible through this link.



NS transports more than 1.1 million people safely and courteously to their destinations, or at least helps them with a fair part of their journey. This requires a top performance every day so that others can travel and meet reliably and comfortably. To ensure passengers travel comfortably, the NS challenges itself and others to provide more possibilities to make the journey as pleasant as possible. The collaboration with Dutch Design Foundation is a good example of this. 


Dutch Design Foundation

Dutch Design Foundation (DDF) is optimistic and believes in the problem-solving capabilities of designers that help the world to advance. Which is why DDF offers designers opportunities, support, publicity and a stage. DDF organises Dutch Design Week, Dutch Design Awards and World Design Event and is active far beyond the Dutch borders, arranging debates, lectures, exhibitions and meetings throughout the year. This is how DDF puts the best and most promising designers in the spotlights, and introduces their ideas and designs to the world.