Design, art and heritage

The TextielMuseum manages a municipal collection of more than 18,000 works related to textile design, visual art and industrial heritage. Most works can be found in the ‘Collection online’, which you can search using specific search terms or by theme.

Every year, our team of curators, supported by an external advisor on cultural diversity and the TextielLab’s product developers, decide on new acquisitions for the museum’s collection. Visits to art and design fairs, exhibitions and the workshops and studios of artists and designers who have worked in the TextielLab help to inform their decision. Our focus has traditionally been on the Netherlands, but we have recently expanded that to include international artists and designers based in the Kingdom of the Netherlands (including Aruba, Curaçao and St Maarten). We buy a small number of art and design works in Europe or further afield. Through the TextielMuseum, we also regularly update the collection by commissioning artists and designers to make new works.

Sustainable and inclusive
Innovation and sustainability are key considerations for our programming, acquisition policy and the TextielLab’s R&D goals. In the future, the museum also aims to make its acquisition and commission policy more socially and culturally inclusive. As an extension of this, issues such as the Netherlands’ colonial history and polyphony in narratives about the past will receive more attention. We are currently updating existing themes related to identity and gender too. By doing so, we hope to include more perspectives in the collection that resonate with a diverse group of makers and visitors.

Textile design collection
The textile design collection provides an overview of functional textiles made by designers and artists based in the Netherlands from 1880 to the present day, including tea towels, tablecloths, rugs, and interior fabrics and objects. Among the historical examples are the famous AaBe blankets and De Ploeg fabrics from the 1950s, damask tablecloths by Chris Lebeau, Art Nouveau batiks and Amsterdam School carpets. But the collection also features modern interior fabrics and utensils, such as autonomous and industrial works by top designers including Gijs Bakker, Hella Jongerius, Jaime Hayon, Bertjan Pot, Scholten & Baijings, Kiki van Eijk, Studio Job, Claudy Jongstra and Christien Meindertsma, as well as iconic pieces such as Marcel Wanders’ ‘Knotted Chair’, Tejo Remy‘s ‘Rag Chair’ and Gijs Bakker’s ‘Ballroom Lamp’. Within interior design, the collection focuses on makers with an innovative approach to form, material and technique. In addition, a special place is reserved for ‘crossovers’, pieces that blur the lines between disciplines such as design and fashion or art and design, as can be seen in works by makers such as Bart Hess and Studio Drift.

The TextielMuseum’s relatively small fashion collection, established in 2008, concentrates mainly on work developed in the TextielLab, such as dresses by Jan Taminiau and Winde Rienstra. In the coming years, we will incorporate more interdisciplinary designs: fashion and accessories with a sculptural quality, preferably made in the TextielLab, and crossovers between art and fashion in the form of costume sculptures. In addition, critical commentary on the fashion industry by artists and designers increasingly has our attention. Recent fashion acquisitions such as Jef Montes’ innovative dresses and Yamuna Forzani’s colourful, activist fashion also underline our stronger focus on innovation, sustainability and polyphonic narratives.

Visual art collection
The visual art collection is made up of several sections: contemporary art (including by Jennifer Tee, Maria Roosen, Eylem Aladogan, Koen Taselaar and Suzanne Khalil Yusef), art from 1960-1985 (for example by Desirée Scholten-Van der Rivière, Herman Scholten, Cornelis Rogge, Ria van Eyk, Harry Boom, Anna, Lam de Wolf and Marian Bijlenga), wearable objects and textile jewellery (Lam de Wolf, Felieke van der Leest, Célio Braga, Beppe Kessler) and textile art from 1910-1960 (Christine van Zeegen, Ragnhild D’Ailly). New works are acquired for each section of the collection. In the case of contemporary art, the museum regularly commissions works that are made in the TextielLab. The collection therefore encompasses both the distinctive ‘fibre arts’ and works by makers who use a variety of other media.

In recent years, we have increasingly focused on cross-media practices, in which textiles are a theme or connecting factor but not necessarily the (only) medium. For example, the collection also includes several video works, and in 2020, we acquired a performance with accompanying textile attributes/sculptures by Mercedes Azpilicueta as well as work by the young artist Ada M. Patterson.

Museum collection policy
Since the late 1990s, the TextielMuseum has commissioned artists and designers to develop new work for the collection, most of which is produced on the TextielLab’s (computer-controlled) machines. The commissions sometimes tackle specific substantive or technical issues or use the museum collection as their starting point. Our collection of art and design, the Sample Studio and our extensive library are important sources of information and inspiration for these works.

From artists Peter Struycken and Rafael Rozendaal to Patricia Kaersenhout, Melanie Bonajo and Geo Wyeth, and designers such as Formafantasma, Kiki van Eijk and Lenneke Langenhuijsen, the museum commissions work by established and emerging talent, with the aim of promoting research and experimentation.

Industrial heritage 
The industrial heritage collection consists of two parts. The industrial culture sub-collection comprises items that give an impression of the Dutch textile industry from around 1860. Items include impressive trade union banners, portraits of manufacturers, strike leaflets, a textile factory time clock and a beautiful wooden sculpture of St. Severus, the patron saint of weavers.

The textile technology sub-collection consists of raw materials, semi-finished goods, tools, implements and machines that visualise the process from raw material to final product. The objects date from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries and show the Netherlands’ increasing industrialisation: from home weavers with hand looms to large factories housing hundreds of steam-powered machines and today’s advanced computerised equipment.

Questions about the collection
Questions from makers for our curators can be sent to We receive numerous questions about exhibiting in the museum. If the museum is interested in displaying your work, the curatorial team will get in touch with you. As a knowledge and expertise institute for textiles, we will of course try to answer all knowledge-related questions.