Dezeen and MINI World Tour:Â Eindhoven designerÂ Miriam van der Lubbe takes us around the fair she co-founded, claiming: "What is visible in Milan in two years, you can seeÂ atÂ Dutch Design WeekÂ now."
Van der Lubbe, who co-founded the event,Â remembers its much more humble beginnings when she was "happy with 5,000" visitors.
She reveals the first Dutch Design Week was borne out of a frustration among local designers over the lack of a proper platform to present their work.
"Why do we always have to go to Milan to show our work, as if you are only something in design if you are there?" she asks. "In Holland there was nothing, so let's see if we can actually pull something off here."
Van der Lubbe believes that the pro-active spirit of Eindhoven-based designers helped Dutch Design Week quickly get off the ground and grow into the event that it is today.
"There were all kinds of initiatives going on," she says. "There's a good urban culture here; people are actually doing stuff instead of talking, which is a big difference, and it grew up to be this huge event."
The first area van der Lubbe takes us to is Strijp, a former Philips industrial complex that is now one of the central areas of Dutch Design Week.
"The Klokgebouw, one of the old industrial buildings, is the starting point of Dutch Design Week," van der Lubbe says. "This week there are about 400 events of almost 2,000 designers."
She then takes us to the graduation show at Design Academy Eindhoven, the school where most of Eindhoven's designers, including van der Lubbe herself, received their education.
Van der Lubbe says that current graduates do not benefit from the same economic support that she enjoyed when she graduated.
"The government was very much aware of the importance of creative people," she says. "There were a lot of funds and we did not have to earn our money from day one."
"But when the [economic] crisis came in, that all changed. I think it is now the obligation of companies to create opportunities for creative people to grow. I think that is also the role of Dutch Design Week, to be between culture and the money."
Next, van der Lubbe takes us to Sectie C, a new design district where young designers including Nacho Carbonell open their studios up to the public.Â We then head to Eat Drink Design at Kazerne, a gallery and restaurant housed in a former army barracks.
"[Dutch Design Week] is really different from all the design weeks in the world because it comes out of the designers themselves," says van der Lubbe. "They open up their doors, you're welcome in their studios or in their workspaces. You actually can feel the vibe of innovation and of new developments."
"Martijn Paulen, the new director of Dutch Design Week, said: 'what is visible in Milan in two years, you can see that here now.'"