Rabobank and Dutch Design Foundation sign agreement as transition partners

Dutch Design Foundation introduced transition partner Rabobank last Tuesday during the kick-off of the new design year (Photo:
30 March, 2023

Rabobank and Dutch Design Foundation are entering into a three-year partnership that focuses on the energy and food transition and on moving towards a more inclusive society. ‘We are looking for different solutions and methodologies for change and improvement.’

We have designed a prosperous society together in the Netherlands, but in certain important areas it is an unsustainable one. A society that is now starting to crack at the seams. How do we treat our planet? How do we treat each other? Serious questions for the future. It is clear that we need new answers, new principles and solutions to shape a better country. It is about questioning the system and fundamental system changes.

Question everything

Dutch Design Foundation (DDF) sees Rabobank as a system partner that enables DDF to forge a coalition of partners, including both science-based and other stakeholders. Together we can get to work digging deeper, researching and (re)designing topics like sustainability, the nitrogen problem, prosperity in general, diversity, inclusion and equality, energy and food.

Igor van Hooff, business director at DDF: “These are great ambitions, but we are facing significant social challenges. We must question everything, and put everything on the agenda, especially when things get uncomfortable. The same applies to us. No topic should be off the table within a transition partnership. We must have the courage to break through existing patterns, let go of previously made choices, and turn our backs on safe houses past and present. We must roll our sleeves up more than ever and start searching for different solutions and methodologies, for change and improvement.”

Social impact

The current coalition agreement includes the following statement: ‘We involve the creative industry in major social challenges’. Rabobank has incorporated the energy and food transition and the movement towards a more inclusive society in its own mission and sees DDF as a catalytic partner in these challenges.

Marc Cootjans, director of the cooperative Rabobank: “The powers of imagination in the creative world play a crucial role in the major transitions in our society. Within the context of a partnership with DDF, Rabobank is looking forward to using its networks, knowledge and financing capabilities. The aim is to support the best ideas from this creative world, so that they can scale-up and make a real social impact.”

Expedition to the future

During the last edition of Dutch Design Week, Rabobank and DDF signed the declaration of intention ‘Expedition to the future of the Netherlands’, which clearly laid out the contours of the partnership. They have now also signed the transition partnership, with the aim of working together over the next three years. The collaboration will soon get underway with design research.

Verily Klaassen, head of Art Affairs at Rabobank: “I am convinced that we need artists and designers. Rabobank also believes in the power of design and art; as a source of knowledge, as a driver of change and as a bearer of fundamental research. This can be seen in the Rabo Art Lab; a free space within the bank. A workshop where we invite artists, where questions are asked, where artistic research is carried out, and where efficiency is not the main focus. We must also have the courage to organise our own critical opposition. I am really looking forward to embarking on an expedition into unfamiliar territory with DDF in the coming years, to shape this further.”