The Dutch Futurists – A not yet existing movement

I have been working on a Dutch language SF story with several roots in Dutch history. As it will be sent to a contest, I cannot reveal anything about it without the risk of spoiling things for myself.

But as I was discussing the story today with my wife, and my ideas about visualizing several elements from that story, other things clicked. And as my mind goes, I started thinking about it as a movement.


I it would have a tagline, it would be something like this:

Positive change from the hart, the soul and the mind. Creation. Beauty. Art. Emotion.


People who look at the future, at what might be possible. and are working to make those things happen now.

Below the brief.

1: Who are the Dutch Futurists?

  1. Makers — People who make things.
  2. Designers — People who design things.
  3. Inventors — People who invent things.
  4. Artists — People who make art.
  5. Optimists — The future can be bright and beautiful.
  6. Futurists — People who look at the future, at what might be possible. and are working to make those things happen now.
  7. Dutch — Expats. Immigrants. Natives. Non-natives. Whatever, but all: people living and/or working in The Netherlands.

2: What is the idea?

  1. Change — Instead of waiting for others to make thing improve, let’s do it ourselves. 
  2. Leveraging and celebrating the new reality — The Netherlands, like any modern day country, is no longer a closed society where one single shape of reality is the unbendable norm. People come in. People go away. There is an incredible treasure of new influences within the country. Awesome! Let’s tap into it all, connect it, use it, amplify it, celebrate it, make it resonate.

3: Envisioning the future as it could be

What if? What if history would have taken a different direction 10 years ago? What if certain decisions were NOT made while others were?

For instance:

The immigration and refugee policy

What if we would have realized earlier that most people entering our country via immigration and as refugees would not leave The Netherlands? How would we have looked at:

  1. Housing? — Would we have put refugees in camps and kept them isolated was we did in the 1990’s?
  2. Education? — What could have been done differently? What about our own history? What would we have taught our own children? What would we have offered to our new fellow citizens?
  3. Integration? — What about those new fellow Dutch people? How would we have welcomed them? What would we have told them? How would we have integrated their cultures into ours? Creating new mixes and new flavors as a result? Enriching both theirs and ours?
  4. Added value? — But most of all: the added value? People are people.


What is wrong? What can be done better? Is it still connecting to reality? What is missing? How can it be improved?

Dutch identity

Who are we? What do we represent? What would we like to be the image to the outside world? And how much influence does each citizen  has on a personal level?

Is it all piss and vinegar that we have to offer? Are we really such doofs as we tend to think from time to time? Is it still a white society?

  1. Our past — We did awesome and horrid stuff in the past. Our Dutch history is a mix of everything and then some, including incredible inventions and incredible people and a lot of blood. What can we learn from that? How would it ifluence the Dutch mentality if we were aware of both the gruesome and the awesome? What if one does enrich the other and adds, instead of cancelling and diminishing it. What if we can be both awesome and modest and aware and awesome again?
  2. Our present — Who are we? What do we produce? What would we like to see happening? How is the multi-cultural society reflected in that? How much do we see of all the different influences from all over the world back in to the “typical Dutch” of 2013? How much and how closely are the (recent) histories of those “others” intertwined with ours? What can we do with all these different influences? Lift it up? Make something beautiful and powerful and inspiring out of that?
  3. Our future — Where do we want to go as a collective people? What are our collective and individual dreams? What would we like to give to our parents and our children? Now? Tomorrow? Ten years from now? To our neighborhood, to our cities and villages, to our country, to the world around us?

Dutch art and crafts

What do we produce? What are is going on RIGHT NOW in the world at large around us? What role are the people living and working in the Netherlands playing in all of this?

  1. All arts and crafts — What is produced? What is really mind blowing in this? How much of hat we see is a reflection of Dutch society now? Not only in the major issues represented, but also by the people creating this? Where are the non-white artists? Are they properly represented as well?
  2. Internet of Things — What is going on in the Netherlands? Who working on this? Are people working together? How global or local are the initiatives?
  3. Crafts — What about designers of fashion, furniture, lighting, pottery, glass works, wood carving, juwelry, every day tools? What about architects, industrial designers?
  4. Electronics and software — What things are developed that are useful? By independents? By the big institutions and companies? When will we kick Apple in the balls and show the world how stuff really is done? The Dutch way.
  5. Dance and theater — Who are they? What are they producing? Where do they perform? What quality? What is new? What is shifting paradigms, renewing things?
  6. Literature, story telling, movies, music — What? Where? Who? What does it touch? How is it relevant? Why is it exiting? Who are the new voices? Who are really making a difference by taking reality by its balls and twisting it when they do not like what they find and see?

Envisioning the future as it could be

So how do I see this?

  1. Repeat, recycle, be and play safe — Boring. Boring, boring, boring. Disneyland, Barbie, political correctness, the culture of nice, risk avoiding stuff. Fuck you. No.
  2. Look ahead — What could there be? What are we moving towards? What would be needed to make that future one that is nice, awesome?
  3. Be positive / optimistic, ground it in reality — Who needs a fucking elevator to space? What the fuck are we supposed to do on Mars once we are there? Utopia is nice and everyone pooping rainbows might be awesome. But let’s keep it real. What is practical? What can be better? Improved? How would we do that? What would it look like?
  4. Dream — But be bold as well. What would the Netherlands look like when renewable energy and flying cars are a fact? How wonderful can we make the designs of this non-existing futurist stuff? And WHAT IF someone then builds it, just to proof it can be done?
  5. Be commercial and attractive to the people at large — Damn! Hell yeah. An end to the endless masturbating. To kill and eradicate the bullshit idea that “good art can only come from poverty and suffering” and/or “commercial work is per definition to please as many people as possible and therefore shallow”. Bullshit. Build stuff that is mind-blowing. That is daring. That takes old tropes and deconstructs them to build something awesomely awesome. And here is how: make it awesome and make it for PEOPLE instead of your tiny group of fucking peers. Fuck the establishment if that establishment is holding you back. In the end they are just as much a bunch of nobodies as you are.
  6. Work together — To gather all the best minds and sit together and make things together. Cross pollination, multi-disciplinary. The idea that “the best things come from isolated minds” or whatever HAS NEVER BEEN TRUE. The best works, the new things, ALWAYS came from artists working together.  You NEED other minds to transform your own. New babies really, really, really do not get born from the act of masturbation.
  7. Make it awesome — Crafts, design, art. Whatever. Mastery. Skill. Feedback. Improvement. Repeat. Test. Redo.

4: Involve and include

The Netherlands are no longer a white country. Since the 1950’s and 1960’s new people have been coming in to the point where now, in 2013, we are a multi-cultural society.


  1. Accept, embrace and make more contrast to the differences — It is bullshit to think “a world in which everyone is brown” will solve racism and cultural clashes. Integration should never lead to a watering down of other cultures so everyone is “Dutch”.  Roots should NEVER be cast off. History of yourself and your ancesters never forgotten. “Colorblindness” and egalization are just two other forms of cultural erasure. Whatever is left of your culture should be studied and amplified.
  2. Involve / create — When you talk about things and solutions, involve the people who you are aiming at, who will be affected. Find the brightest minds, the best speakers, the most insightful and well-informed members within that society. Work together. Brainstorm, facilitate. Let things grow from the bottom up. Trust the process. Be generous. Create.

5: Create change

Who cares about awesome concepts? Concept this. Concept that. “I have an awesome idea.” Fuck that. Make it work. Make it happen.

  1. Make it visible — Whatever you do, make it visible. Findeable, readable for others. Promote it. Show it. Expose it. Online. Offline. In public spaces. Wherever. Whatever.
  2. Make it work — Finish it. Make it functional. Tangible.
  3. Make it available —  Who should get it? Why? How? How much? Make it happen. Make it so. Make it available.

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