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Why Amsterdam is the Digital Design Capital of the World



ACHTUNG!’s Jort Schutte talks form and function – and gives a sneak peek at the new Philips Sonicare app

Why Amsterdam is the Digital Design Capital of the World

Art director Jort Schutte has been busy working on an app that will help the world brush up on its dental hygiene. He took time out to speak at the recent #MadeInHolland Dutch Digital Design event and LBB’s Laura Swinton caught up with him to find out more about the project and uncover what makes Amsterdam such a hub for digital.

LBB> How would you characterise Dutch digital design? Do you think there’s something unique about it, if so, what is it?

JS> Form follows function. Clean and clear. But in digital it’s more an open mentality which I think makes some of the best (Dutch) work. To create truly great digital projects

you need to combine a multitude of disciplines and people. Amsterdam is a melting pot of different cultures and we are eager to do business with everyone. This results in a mentality that is open to opportunities and results in better work. Funny thing is that at Achtung! 30% of the talent is from abroad. The combination of different backgrounds, views and skills makes it successful.

LBB> And how do you think Amsterdam’s digital output compares to the rest of the world?

JS> Some of the best international advertising and production agencies landed here the last couple of years. Probably not to enjoy the typically Dutch weather, but to work in a city that is open minded and houses a lot of talent. Dutch and international. With 16 million people Holland is a small country, which is a benefit in itself. We have a multicultural mix of people and almost everybody has access to broadband internet. This makes the Netherlands the perfect place to test your ideas, formats and products. And regularly results in very innovative work.

LBB> What digital trends and platforms are getting you excited at the moment? 

JS> Campaigns that combine hard business goals with social relevant issues. (Like Philips haha!) The consequence from this that the stuff we make for clients need to be more relevant than ever before. Tell a good story and help me with something.

LBB> This is the first Dutch Digital Design event – what are you hoping to see from it?

JS> More collaborations between different talented people and international agencies. Sharing knowledge (especially with the young designers out there). Hopefully we are going to do this on a regular basis so more stuff can get the spotlight it deserves.

LBB> You’re going to be talking about your project for Phillips – what were the main challenges you faced bringing it to life? 

JS> It’s still work-in-progress so I can't say much about it and there are still some challenges to overcome. Until now the most interesting challenge was how to make an app that helps kids brushing their teeth in a fun way and keeps them engaged for more then a day by talking to a lot of children and involving them in the process of developing the app, we (hopefully) created main characters that they'll like. 

LBB> And as what sort of insights and lessons did you take from it?

JS> With mobile app like this you have the power to influence and control human behaviour. This goes beyond Big Brother. Muhaaahaha! (Evil laughter!)

LBB> The theme of the show is ‘Made In Holland’ – which Dutch work have you seen recently that’s been really cool and interesting?

JS> 22 Tracks (, a smart and cool initiative that is here for a couple of years already

Last month they completely redesigned their website en app. Simple and clear design that creates the perfect stage for the music, DJ's and artist. Good stuff by Niek and Patrick (which is a funny but pretty retarded portfolio website).

view more - Trends and Insight
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