Architecture

Domain

The Architecture domain page mainly contains figures about the labor market and discusses developments such as the role of the architect in times of transition and fragmentation of the profession. Architecture as a domain includes the four disciplines of architecture, urban planning, interior architecture and garden and landscape architecture. Together with the domain Design Architecture falls under the broader design sector, see also the domain page Design. 

Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen / Photography: Lisa Maatjens

Summary

Architects and designers of the spatial environment are 'an important instrument' for making changes such as climate adaptation successful and are increasingly presented as experts in the field of social issues. But with this working from assignments, the role of the architect within the field also logically changes. And due to reduction in scale and fragmentation in the labor market, a significant growth in the number of self-employed is visible. This makes the position of the (independent) architect vulnerable. Larger agencies are more resistant to financial risks, which means they can participate more often in tenders.

When looking at gender relations in the architecture sector, women are usually in the minority and the Netherlands also fares poorly internationally. Nevertheless, we see an increase in women in architecture-related courses, and initiatives to make the sector more inclusive are also visible.

Introduction and key figures

Policy-wise, architecture is part of the broader design sector, which also includes design and digital culture, and of the cultural and creative industry. It is also worth mentioning that the titles of architect, urban planner, interior architect and garden and landscape architect are protected by the Architect Title Act (1987).

Money flows

The visualization below contains data on (1) the turnover of architectural architects, (2) the distribution of types of clients of members of the Trade Association of Dutch Architectural Firms and (3) the average hourly wage of architects. You can switch between the different graphs via the tabs above each figure.

€ x 1.000.000
%

Source: CBS and BNA

Subsidies Creative Industry Incentive Fund

The visualization below contains data on (1) the subsidies for architecture from the Creative Industries Fund NL and (2) the distribution of subsidies from the Creative Industries Fund per discipline

€ x 1.000.000
€ x 1.000.000
€ x 1.000.000

Source: Creative Industries Fund NL

What else would we like to know about the architecture sector?

In the future, we would like to pay more attention to architecture and vocational education with the Culture Monitor. The question is, for example, how many designers actually move on and where they end up, even outside the practice of a design agency. In addition, there is still insufficient insight into the effect of the professional experience period (an obligation for official registration as an architect) on the inflow into the Register of Architects (Kempen et al. 2021). During this two-year period, recent graduates gain professional experience under the guidance of a mentor. The scheme has only been in effect since 2015. 

Moreover, the architectural industry is not bound by national borders. It is an area that must be viewed from an international perspective, and which is also given priority in cultural policy (Engelshoven 2019). Not only do Dutch architects and firms work abroad, the Netherlands itself also attracts many international students. The impact of this two-track interaction on the Dutch design climate deserves further attention in future updates of the Culture Monitor.

In the field of social tasks, it is desirable that architects or designers are sufficiently aware of the diversity in society. That is why diversity in the architectural sector itself is an important condition to do justice to the diversity of needs and preferences with regard to one's own living environment. In contrast to the gender relations highlighted above, there is little insight into diversity in origin or ethnicity. And although the Barometer of Cultural Diversity – a CBS dashboard with figures on cultural diversity in the labor market – is still based on the questionable categories 'Western' and 'non-Western' , this instrument demonstrates the homogeneity of the architectural sector. The legitimate question is what the lack of diversity within the sector means for 'the ability of spatial designers to address social questions with the right insight' (Kempen et al. 2021, 8).

Finally, for this first inventory of the domain, we spoke with experts in the field of architecture and the architectural profession, which is the largest professional group within this broad sector. Furthermore, as much data as possible about other disciplines such as landscape or interior architecture has been used, but specific trends from these sub-disciplines may be underexposed. For a more representative – and therefore more diverse – picture of the sector, we will pay more attention to this in the next update.

Would you like to know more about the Architecture domain?

View more data about the Architecture domain the dashboard of the Culture Monitor.

More literature about the Architecture domain can also be found in the knowledge base of the Boekman Foundation.

Literature

Architecture Local (2016) Between the lines: better tendering of architectural assignments. Amsterdam: Architectuur Lokaal. 

Architecture Local (2019) Portfolio: competition culture in the Netherlands. Amsterdam: Architectuur Lokaal. 

Atelier Rijksbouwmeester et al. (2020) Space in transition: annual report on the spatial design sector / 2020. The Hague: Government Architect's Studio.

BNA (2021a) 'Half of architectural firms expect more turnover. On: www.bna.nl, November 30.  

BNA (2021b) 'Mixed city, mixed living and working'. On: www.bna.nl, December 14.  

BNA (2022a) 'Agencies are more picky about architectural selections'. On: www.bna.nl, 4th of July.

BNA (2022b) 'Delivery problems in the construction chain lead to different choices in the design phase, project preparation and implementation'. On: www.bna.nl, December 21.  

BNA (2022c) 'Architectural firms: “Work inventory is declining, housing construction is slowing down, rates will rise”'. On: www.bna.nl, November 16.  

Boer, M. de (2020) 'Blog – How does the city center survive a lockdown? '. On: www.dearchitect.nl, April 16.

BZK and OCW (2020) Spatial design action program 2021-2024: design connects. The Hague: BZK and OCW. 

CBS (2020)'Monitor Wage Differences Men and Women, 2018'. On: www.cbs.nl, November 26. 

CBS (2021a) 'Artists and workers in other creative professions, 2017/2019'. On: www.cbs.nl, 7th of June.  

CBS (2021b)'Working population'. On: www.cbs.nl, May 18. 

CBS (2022)'CBS introduces new population classification by origin'. On: www.cbs.nl, February 16.

Engelshoven, IK van (2019) Principles of cultural policy 2021-2024. The Hague: Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. 

Hannema, K. (2022) 'Professional and public jury choose renovated Museum Singer Laren as Best Building. On: www.volkskrant.nl, May 12th.

Heebels, B. and RC Kloosterman (2016) Inside out. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam. 

Hulsman, B. (2021) 'Mainly 'social' buildings in yearbook'. On: www.nrc.nl, May 27.

Kempen, S. van et al. (2021) The spatial design sector analyzed: annual report on the spatial design sector / 2021. The Hague: Government Architect's Studio. 

Koetsenruijter, R. and RC Kloosterman (2018) Space for the architect: a study into the changes in position of architects in the Netherlands, 2008-2018. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam. 

Mirza & Nacey Research (2021) The Architectural Profession in Europe 2020: A Sector Study. Brussels: Architects' Council of Europe. 

Council for Culture (2018) Design for the future: a plea for creative reflection on social issues. The Hague: Council for Culture. 

Rutten, P. et al. (2019) Creative Industry Monitor 2019: The Netherlands, top 10 cities, creative companies and professions. Hilversum: Media Perspectives Foundation. 

Creative Industry Incentive Fund (2020) 'Design research: not an end but a means'. On: www.stimuleringsfonds.nl, 11 March. 

Discussion partners in 2021

In 2021 we spoke to the following people for the purpose of collecting information for the development of this domain page:

  • Floris Alkemade (then Chief Government Architect)
  • George Brugmans (director, International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam)
  • Dominique Geelen (architecture coordinator, Creative Industries Fund NL)
  • Ludo Groen (researcher, Het Nieuwe Instituut/The Berlage)
  • Cilly Jansen (director, Architectuur Lokaal)
  • Anneleen de Jong (senior policy officer, Bureau Architectenregister)
  • Jasper Kraaijeveld (policy advisor, Trade Association of Dutch Architectural Firms)
  • Jorrit Rosema (director, Bureau Architectenregister)

Accountability image

Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen / Photography: Lisa Maatjens