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EVJ x Het Nieuwe Instituut

Become an EVJ caretaker!

EVJ bag No. 260 — © Photography Anouk Beckers & Abel van Gijlswijk

What happens to the idea of ‘value’ when an everyday product becomes an object to take care of, but not own? At Dutch Design Week, designer Elisa van Joolen and Het Nieuwe Instituut present a special new edition of the EVJ, the institute’s first museum bag – not for sale, only for borrowing.


Elisa van Joolen started the EVJ project during Open Studios 2020 at the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht, a year before collaborating with the institute. To challenge assumptions about value, she replaced the usual promotional museum bag with handmade, upcycled ones. Instead of printed disposable bags or a square cloth bag, she offers the EVJ: a conscious design object.

Consisting of 300 unique bags with a special carrying strap with the institute’s logo, the new series asks borrowers whether something so apparently worthless can become valuable the moment we start to take care of it. What does it mean to be mindful of something that doesn’t belong to you, and doesn’t represent any cash value? Especially for the Things That Matter exhibition, Elisa van Joolen and Het Nieuwe Instituut present a limited edition of 25 museum bags with a DDW label.

How it works

Visitors to Dutch Design Week now have the chance to consciously relate to value, responsibility and ownership through the mundane carrier bag that you take home after an event.

During Dutch Design Week, you can borrow a bag for a period of six months via the website and collect it free of charge from Microlab Hall/ Strijp S, after signing a loan agreement. The website can be accessed at the exhibition location, meaning that visitors can immediately take home one of the limited-edition bags. (For a regular EVJ without a DDW label, aspiring caretakers can visit the NAi Booksellers shop in Het Nieuwe Instituut, or opt to receive one by post).

The EVJ site also contains extensive information about the entire project, FAQs and the designer’s sources of inspiration. The website also functions as a living archive of bag-carer experiences.

About Elisa van Joolen x Het Nieuwe Instituut

Elisa van Joolen is a designer based in Amsterdam. She studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam and at Parsons in New York. She teaches and runs her own studio and founded Warehouse.

Het Nieuwe Instituut is the Netherlands’ national institute for architecture, design and digital culture. Through exhibitions, research and (inter)national collaborations, the institute engages thinkers, designers, makers and a wide-ranging audience to think critically about urgent issues.

Starting point

Strijp-S area, Kastanjelaan 400
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Wheelchair accessible
Wifi available
Dogs allowed
Toilets available