De Textiel Factorij

Retracing the VOC textile trade

The ‘Textiel Factorij’ is a research project based on the mutual heritage between India and the Netherlands. The research focuses on the history of the textile trade between the two countries during the Golden Age. During the 17th century there was a lively trade route between India and the Netherlands. Especially Gujarat was an important area, where the Dutch East India Company (VOC) had set up trading posts and factories for the trade of cotton, indigo and silk. The effect of this textile trade can be found in Dutch local costumes and interiors. In particular, chintz became a very popular type of fabric in the Netherlands. Also, block printing and indigo dyeing techniques were introduced by the VOC in the Netherlands. We will be exploring the interaction and influence of design on Indian as well as Dutch textiles and whether we can reinvent this interaction.

Telling contemporary stories

The Indian colors, designs, techniques and the Dutch national costumes are characterized by their motives, themes, and traditions which have specific (historical) meanings. For this project, we are looking for new applications of chintz and other craft techniques by developing new traditions. By analyzing the meaning of color usage, patterns and techniques of Dutch traditional costumes and Indian textiles, we aim to develop a visual language, which contemporary designers can apply to create ‘contemporary heritage’ products.


With the ‘Textiel Factorij’ we aim to explore our mutual heritage in the textile trade. This in order to preserve crafts traditions by exchanging knowledge between crafts(wo)men and designers in Netherlands and India. The results of this artistic research of our shared textile history and cross – cultural exchange will be unlocked by developing a mobile exhibition, to be exhibited at various locations in the Netherlands and India. Moreover, we will develop a digital platform, a rich database with our shared history of craft traditions where people can place an order directly with crafts communities.

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