Merger FAQ

On 1 January 2013, the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi); Premsela, the Netherlands Institute for Design and Fashion; and Virtueel Platform (the offical industry institute for electronic culture) merged to form the New Institute. Guus Beumer serves as the organisation's director. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions.

What is the new institute's name?
The NAi, Premsela and Virtueel Platform have joined forces as the New Institute. The current brands continue to exist and remain visible. Activities in the areas of architecture, design, fashion and e-culture continue under the name of the New Institute.

Why are the organisations merging?

The merger is the result of a June 2011 letter by State Culture Secretary Halbe Zijlstra to the Dutch House of Representatives. It stated that housing the disciplines in one institution would be in keeping with substantive developments in the sector, in which differences between disciplines are increasingly disappearing.

When will the merger be definite?
The respective directors of the NAi, Premsela and Virtueel Platform signed documents on 28 June 2012 agreeing to the organisations’ merger into a new institute for architecture, design and electronic culture. On 1 January 2013, the new organisation became a fait accompli and the three merging organisations ceased to exist.

On the opening day of the 2012–13 parliamentary session, it was announced that the merger organisation of NAi, Premsela and Virtueel Platform could expect annual subsidies of €8,681,153 for the next few years to implement its policy plan. We are extremely pleased with this news, which crowns an intensive merging process. It lays the foundation for a creative, successful new policy period in which the value of the disciplines of architecture, design, fashion and e-culture will be recognised and their interaction cultivated.

Who is the head of the new institute?
Guus Beumer has been named director of the New Institute, the merger organisation’s Governing Board announced on 26 July.

What is the new organisation's policy?
A policy plan, “Creativiteit als noodzaak” (“Creativity as a Necessity”), was submitted to the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in July 2012, in accordance with the recommendations of the Council for Culture. The plan is also available on the NAi and Virtueel Platform websites. An English-language summary is available here.

What were the Council for Culture’s recommendations?
In May 2012, the Council for Culture presented the report "Slagen in Cultuur, culturele basisinfrastructuur 2013–2016". It contained positive advice vis-à-vis the new organisation. The Council stated that the new institute had great potential for reaching the general public, though some concrete points needed further elaboration.

In response, the organisations submitted the policy plan in July. The new organisation has worked to implement the Council's suggestions for improvement and understands its wish for an interim evaluation.

In a follow-up report in August (available for download in Dutch), the Council gave the new organisation a positive recommendation. The Council advised the State Culture Secretary to grant subsidies to the new institute. 

What does the new organisation do?

The New Institute studies the social significance of architecture, design and e-culture and facilitate dialogue between the design disciplines and the larger society. It communicates the disciplines’ richness to a mass audience through physical and online exhibitions. It encourages the creative industries to develop further, both separately and through exchange and cross-pollination. Thus, the New Institute increases the value created by architecture, design and e-culture and the public's appreciation for it in the Netherlands and abroad. The institute maintains a relationship to the general public as well as the entire design industry – creatives, businesspeople, academics, researchers, authors and other involved parties.

What are the new institute's objectives?

•    Formation, maintenance and provision of access to collections. The institute will have its own architecture and urban planning collection. It will also coordinate, archive and provide access to archives and documentation centres for design, fashion and e-culture across the Netherlands.
•    Research and education. The institute will initiate, encourage and conduct (or commission) scholarly research. The institute will prepare and publish books in relation to its activities.
•    Exhibition and platform. The institute will organise an exhibition programme; initiate, contribute to and carry out projects and events, some educational; establish chairs and fellowships; and issue advice on secondary, college and university curricula.
•    National and international promotion. The institute will organise and encourage international exchanges, promotion and representation at important international events, such as biennials and fairs. Instruments will include the International Visitors’ Programme, international exhibitions, and business matchmaking.

What has happened to the three organisations’ previous projects and activities?
Successful existing activities are being maintained. The respective disciplines maintain their own budgets, and existing projects have received space within the new institute wherever possible. The museum operations will continue. The New Institute will continue to play a role in setting the Netherlands' architecture, planning, design, and e-culture policy. In addition, it will seek synergy between the disciplines in a range of existing and new activities.

Where is the New Institute based?
The New Institute is headquartered in Rotterdam but will also work to profile itself in locations where various disciplines are active – for instance, Eindhoven for design, Arnhem for fashion, and Utrecht for games.

Does the New Institute have a unified view of its official industry institute function and its relationship to the creative industry?
The new organisation will be the Netherlands’ main centre for architecture, design and electronic culture. Through research, promotion and a public events programme, it will help to strengthen the position of the creative disciplines in the Netherlands and abroad. The policy plan describes its vision and activities for the next few years in detail.

How are design and fashion represented?
All disciplines continue to be represented at the New Institute, each with its own budget.

What has happen to long-running existing Premsela projects?
Successful projects such as Morf,, the Designhuis, the Premsela Chair and Modekern maintain a place within the New Institute. 

2013–2016 policy plan
An English-language summary of the policy plan "Creativity as a Necessity: 2013–2016 Policy Plan of the Netherlands Institute for Architecture, Design and Electronic Culture" is available here.