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innovative solutions

How to create an opportunity out of an emergency?

When Tokyo came to a standstill due to the COVID-19 pandemic, just before the Olympic Summer Games, the TeamNL innovation expo organised by Papendal, NOC*NSF, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs could only proceed as an online event. This presented us with some new opportunities.


Instead of developing a physical exposition space, we brought together the shared history of the Netherlands with Japan, the Olympic Games, and the development of future trade relations in Rangaku NOW, a virtual island and business platform based on the 17th-century trading post Dejima.


Under the motto 'Team up for Tomorrow,' nearly 50 organisations and more than 40.000 visitors found their way to this unique meeting place, numbers that were only possible online.

About TeamNL

TeamNL is the Dutch sports team that represents the Netherlands 365 days a year at the highest international level. 28 associations have joined forces with NOC*NSF to give a face to TeamNL. One team with one ambition: to represent the Netherlands on the road, the field, the water, and wherever sports are played. In addition, TeamNL, NOC*NSF, and Papendal work to improve international trade relations.

  • Strategy
  • Concept
  • Art Direction
  • Experience design
  • Storytelling
  • Brand Identity
  • Online platform

Innovative solution

In the 17th century, the island of Dejima served as a Dutch trading post and was the only link between Japan and the outside world. A flourishing trade relationship developed, as well as a broader exchange of knowledge and innovations. Japanese people at the time referred to learning from the Dutch as 'Rangaku.' With a team of designers and our Sqiffer-tool, we designed a modern virtual version of Dejima. The 'Rangaku' of the past became Rangaku NOW, a blend of modern Japan and an age-old meeting place.

"There are still a lot of traces of the historic Dutch-Japanese partnership in today's Japan, like the word 'biiru' for instance, which originates from the Dutch word for beer. Still, the cultural differences are huge. This can complicate meeting new trading partners, especially during a pandemic. So this project was about connecting, both in a practical and a cultural sense."

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