A day in the life of a Dutch Designer Week volunteer

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The jungle office rethinks the work place

A newly arrived expat volunteers at the biggest design event of northern Europe and tells you how it went…

Dutch Design Week 2019 (DDW19) is in full swing in many parts of Eindhoven, inviting us all to wear different lenses to look at the world and the future. From massive structures to tiny stands, performances and experiences, there is something for everyone.

The Dutch Design Week is a huge event, with 2.600 designers showcasing their products and ideas. Without trusty volunteers, it would be something very hard to pull off. That’s why every year the Dutch Design Foundation looks for people to help run a smooth show.

This year, as a recently arrived expat, I thought it would be fun to volunteer. I am not a designer or an artist, but it seemed like a good way to meet new people and, perhaps, see a different side of Eindhoven. This is my experience as a Dutch Designer Week volunteer:

My shift started at 11:15 at the Klokgebouw in Strijp-S, but as a newcomer, I arrived half an hour earlier to get the gist of my functions for the day. I was stationed at the Dutch Design Week Foundation office and my job was to help with anything related to the tours. These tours of key exhibits are given by designers to companies that pay extra for the service.

The team was extremely welcoming and the other volunteers were friendly. It was fun to exchange experiences with locals and foreigners about relocating to Eindhoven. The language of the event is mainly English, so people from all backgrounds are welcomed to land a helping hand.

However, after having lunch with everyone at the communal table of the foundation’s office, I had over two hours of free time. I had to be back only at 3 pm when the designer guides returned the key cords and headsets. My Chinese co-volunteer, who spoke better Dutch than me, joined one of the guides. With no English tours being given at that time, I opted for exploring Strijp-S and getting warm with a nice cup of coffee. The day really turned for the better when it started looking like this:

Dutch Design Week 2019
The Renault stand showcases the future of transport.
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At MU, a must-see video imagines speaking objects


Back at the office at 3 pm, we had a very busy end of the shift, sorting the materials being handed in and making provisions for the next day. All throughout the activities, we had support from the production team, always ready to answer our questions or offer a nice kop koffie.

In all, I had a very positive experience. At 5:30 pm I walked out of my shift with a better understanding of core aspects of Eindhoven’s identity: design and innovation. I also knew more about an event that shakes up my new city yearly. To top it all off, I have a free ticket for the rest of the week and some extra pocket money! The DDW19 pays €2,50 an hour for volunteers from 16 to 23 years old and € 4,50 to volunteers above the age for 23.

Dutch Design Week, DDW19, Biobase
The Biobase Camp at Dutch Design Week. Photo credit: OmroepBrabant

The Dutch Design Week 2019 is happening in many locations throughout Eindhoven until Sunday, the 27th of October. Click here for the program.



For Eindhoven News: Maria Rita Reis

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