Made in Holland: 400 years a global brand In 2018

Dutch ceramics have been known around the world for centuries, but their origins seldom lie in the Netherlands. Ceramics from abroad were reworked here into something new, successfully made and then exported to other countries. The exhibition Made in Holland: 400 years a global brand examines the development and distribution of ceramic techniques, styles and products, with the Netherlands at the heart of the exhibition.

Delft Blue

A good example is Delft Blue or Delftware, a Dutch icon, but full of international influences. The Dutch East India Company (VOC) introduced Chinese ceramics to the Netherlands around 1600. This blue-and-white porcelain was extremely popular and very expensive. Dutch ceramic factories made imitations of it in painted earthenware, a technique that in turn had come from Italy. Many of these factories were located in and around Delft, hence the name Delft Blue. The quality of these imitations was so high that it was exported to the rest of Europe and Asia. Earthenware objects became so popular in those regions that producers in Russia, Portugal and Japan also started making Delft Blue.


In the 19th century, Dutch pottery manufacturers once again succeeded in employing a technique developed abroad – in this case the English creamware – to great success. Until the 20th century, these Maastricht-based factories exported their products all over the world.

Art nouveau & Art Deco

A third success story is ceramics in Art Nouveau and Art Deco style. Both styles originated abroad, but were soon embraced by Dutch artists and designers who produced their own variations. Dozens of new Delftware factories, both large and small, produced this ‘revival earthenware’ and gained international recognition with it.

The exhibition Made in Holland: 400 years a global brand is part of Leeuwarden-Fryslân European Capital of Culture 2018.


Dutch Design

Today, Dutch Design is a world-famous export product of our country. Dutch Design is a term, a trademark and is popular with the wider public. The innovative approach of designers working closely with traditional ceramic companies has proven to be a successful formula, resulting in leading products.