Author profile picture

During Dutch Design Week 2017, the 335,000 visitors spent a total of almost 15 million euros in shops and restaurants. More than one-third of this was spent in the hotel and catering industry. The event will thus create 108 jobs in the tourism sector. For the research, a survey was conducted among more than 1200 visitors. As shown by a study done by research agency Dynamic Concepts on behalf of DDW.

CEO of the Dutch Design Foundation, Martijn Paulen, is very pleased with the results of the research. “It is actually what we had hoped for, we are really in a positive trend, which shows that there has been a certain degree of growth and attention to DDW for years. You can see that the whole city is flourishing. It is nice to see that this is substantiated in figures for once.” But the tourist value is not what Dutch Design Week is all about. “Such a positive tourist value of DDW for Eindhoven is very nice, but for us as an organisation that is actually a side-effect. It’s wonderful that the city is flourishing, of course, that’s very important, but for us, it is at the top of our list that the designers have had a good week and whether we have contributed to the objectives of the participants.”

It is precisely this added value for the participants that is difficult to measure, according to Paulen. “For a number of participants, this is clear: they sell a certain number of products or obtain concrete orders. But for other participants, however, it is about being in the picture and six months later getting called for an assignment. It is very difficult to make a causal link between this, especially because we are not a standard sales fair.” Dutch Design Week is now working on getting feedback from the participating designers. “We have a lot of discussions with designers and are sending out questionnaires. You can also see that a lot of designers take part several times, you don’t do that of course if there is no point in it. As an organisation, we are working very hard to ensure that they at least get some payback on the investments they make that week.”

Not only the economic value of DDW has been measured in the study, but also the perception and appreciation of the event have been investigated. The quality of the program was assessed by the visitors with a 7.9, the quality of the exhibitions and the projects during DDW are rated with an 8. Other programme components such as DDW Music, the lectures, debates and the design routes were also assessed positively, but with a 7.3, there is still room for improvement here according to the report. “What we did was looking at what people actually appreciate about DDW. Are they satisfied? What could be better? And what should we focus on? We are now analysing that. We are also looking at how we can improve our offerings.”

The study also showed that the media value of DDW is EUR 17 million, but what does that actually mean? “The media value is measured according to an international standard, which we also use. It is, of course, a rather abstract concept. It actually says to what extent you are picked up by local, national and international media. Quite apart from the exact amount, for us, it is much more a measure of whether there are stories written about DDW, innovation, Eindhoven, design, but especially about the designers. We see that it is becoming increasingly successful in gaining ever greater media coverage both nationally and internationally.”