1975: Growing up in Vinex

In March we launched our new collection ‘1975’, which celebrates Susan Bijl’s year of birth. Most of the names of the collection’s colours speak for themselves, like Volvo, Cleese, Jaws and Floyd. However, we’re quite certain that for our customers abroad there’s one name that probably sounds Greek to you: Vinex. This article explains what Vinex is and means to us.

When we think of culture, we think of a lot things: art, entertainment, values, tradition, language. These are the things that tie people in regions and ages together. What we often don’t think of is our environment and the spatial planning that’s often so typical for where we live. Think of American suburbia or the French banlieues. In The Netherlands we have Vinex.

Vinex is an overarching term for newly built residential areas from the 1970s on. Originally called ‘Bloemkoolwijken’ (Cauliflower Districts), the term Vinex was coined in the 1990s and has been commonly used since. The name comes from a government plan for housing and planning to deal with the rapidly growing Dutch population. Since the 1970s many of these Vinex-locations have been built all over the country, nearby (medium-)large cities and therefore many people born in 1975 grew up in these districts.

The Vinex-locations are neighborhoods that shouldn’t be too far from the cities where the residents work, offering a piece of quiet as well as plenty of commodities nearby, such as malls and transport. Typically white middle-class as they are, these areas don’t have the best reputation. They don’t offer the livelihood of the city, with its abundance of culture and variety of people, and they also don’t offer the privacy and nature that comes with true rural living. Yet, they do offer a sense of community, a safe place for children to play and a pleasant environment for parents to let their children grow up.

As Susan Bijl was born and raised in such a typical location and therefore is an important part of her youth, it made all the sense to dedicate on of the colours in this collection to this Dutch phenomenon and experience shared by so many people from this country and era.