Today the mayor of Eindhoven, John Jorritsma, decided that the live version of Dutch Design Week (DDW) cannot take place following advice from the Safety Region. Based on the emergency ordinance that was released earlier this week, after the government issued new Corona measures, the mayor has decided to cancel all planned events surrounding the live version of DDW. This means the festival can only take place virtually this year.
The Safety Region has come to this decision due to the rapidly increasing number of Corona infections in the Netherlands and the travel movements that DDW visitors from home and abroad would bring about. Therefore, the mayor felt obliged to take this decision.
Dutch Design Foundation (DDF), the organisation behind DDW, is saddened by the decision, but understands it too: “We are quickly overtaken by the developments surrounding COVID-19 and understand its impact, which is why we also understand this decision. The past few months, we have worked together with our partners and the designer’s community tirelessly to organise a special DDW, where we mainly focused on relevant encounters between designers and professional visitors. Unlike what we are used to, this year would be an intimate festival that would take place both live and digital. The designer’s community was ready to show the world how they can contribute in offering new perspectives. It is unbelievably painful that, in a year they need it more than ever, we are overruled by this. We knew this would be an odd year, but that the live festival now, with only 2,5 weeks to go, cannot take place at all saddens us deeply,” says Martijn Paulen, director of DDF.
Mayor Jorritsma particularly appreciates how DDW has been made as Corona-proof as possible, but according to him, his administrative responsibilities to combat the Corona virus outweigh this: “When I see the increasing numbers of infections in our city, with the images of the overflowing healthcare system in spring still vividly in mind, I cannot decide otherwise than to prioritise fighting the virus and preventing new infections. Welcoming or facilitating large groups of people who visit DDW in the city, is not part of that.”
Taking into consideration the expected impact of COVID-19, DDW has spent the past couple of months developing a virtual festival experience. Initially parallel to the live DDW, but now this will become the international main stage. Paulen: "Of course this cannot replace the live week, but we are going to scale up the virtual programme to support the design field as much as possible in creating relevant connections." In the coming days, the organisation will determine in more detail how to shape this in close consultation with the design community and partners. Creating these connections will also be an important objective for the rest of this year and the period thereafter.