Design Academy Eindhoven werkt al vijf jaar lang samen met Veenhuizen in de vorm van een ‘design deal’. Als onderdeel van deze samenwerking, worden studenten van over de hele wereld op onderzoek uitgestuurd in de koloniën. Hun bevindingen vertalen ze naar nieuwe projecten, die een unieke blik werpen op het gebied. 

Na het afstuderen helpt KETTER&Co alumni verder om de concepten door te ontwikkelen en er een professioneel ontwerp van te maken. Dit wordt vervolgens wordt opgenomen in de collectie. De studentenprojecten van 2018 zijn te vinden onder de naam ‘studio of benevolence’ en de website van de collectie is hier.  

Onderstaande teksten zijn in het Engels, omdat het internationale studenten betreft. 

MADE in Esserheem

In the Dutch prison system the inmates are obliged to work. These jobs mainly consist of repetitive work and they have little opportunity to express themselves creatively. ‘Made in Esserheem’ aims to change this.

Sandra created a set of embroidered brooches together with ten inmates from prison, inspired by the tattoos and stories that are imprinted on their bodies. She made an embroidery kit and taught the inmates how to embroider. They used specific colours and Sandra finished it by using white thread, connecting their work and emphasising this unique collaboration. Sandra hopes to encourage the prison board to make the labor more creative and give the inmates the opportunity to show their characters. The brooches can be sold as souvenirs of Veenhuizen, showing visitors and inhabitants a glimpse into the stories behind these anonymous outsiders.


The strict rules and discipline that was put upon the inhabitants of the Colonies did not suit everyone. Every once in a while, groups of people would escape and hide in the wasteland surrounding the institute. Because the winters were cold and peat digging wasn’t profitable enough to live off, they searched for other ways to make a living by weaving and selling willow baskets. This craft grew over time and became a big industry in Noordwolde, producing wicker furniture for a big part of Europe. 

Jelle was intrigued by the story of these run-aways and started a material researched based on this old craft. He upcycled an old rattan chair by combining new elements of colour, shape and techniques with the inventive and traditional techniques of the weavers. Re-twine shows new possibilities to what already was and takes the craft into the present. 


Village of Ethics

Since 1909, the houses surrounding the prisons in Veenhuizen depict moralistic sayings on them that were meant to remind the prisoners how to be a “good human being”. Sunniva imagined a renewed interpretation of these signs and went around Veenhuizen, asking the inhabitants what they would write on their nameplate if they were given the choice. 

This sparked interesting conversations about ethics and she wanted to invite visitors of Veenhuizen to do the same. She created a collection of bricks, engraved with a variety of ethics or core values. Visitors can choose one and place it in a designated path in Veenhuizen. This project aims to start a dialogue among visitors about their own values and questions our historic and present-day morals. It envisions a growing path made by the bricks going through the village, creating a timeline and a worldly collection of ethics.

Scenarios for Veenhuizen

Though the ages, the prisons of Veenhuizen have provided the village with a strong sense of identity and purpose. However, due to cutbacks, the prisons are constantly threatened with closure. Sjo and Noor wanted to find out what consequences the disappearance of the prison would have on the village’s identity and how it could be reshaped. 

Sjo and Noor undertook a case study observing and analysing six comparable villages in the Netherlands and the situations that unfolded there. The stories of these villages, their successes and pitfalls, were analysed and documented. This was bundled into a book with a set of recommendations for Veenhuizen, offering a new perspective on its future.