Panel of judges

Each year Dutch publishers, designers and printers submit over 300 books to be judged. The panel consists mostly of a publisher, two designers and a printer or binder, the fifth panel member being alternately a bookseller, a book historian, a museum curator or a writer on the subject.

Judges are appointed for two judging years spread over no more than four calendar years, subject to an extension of one year spread over no more than two calendar years. Reappointment is permitted five years following the end of a previous appointment. Members of the panel receive from the Stichting a remuneration for their work as judges. The Director of the Stichting acts as non-voting secretary to the judges.

The rules and criteria by which the judges are tied are kept to a minimum. The panel members are invited to select books that are excellent in their physical appearance and in doing this they are to keep an eye on the correlation between form and content. Thus each panel is free to develop its own vision, to decide which annual report or desk agenda is to be considered a book and which is not, and to select certain books which it deems not to be missed in spite of certain shortcomings.

The annual selection consists of 33 books at maximum. In the selection trade books are matched to museum publications, corporate editions to private initiatives. There are five categories from which Best Dutch Book Designs can be selected. They are:

  • Prose, poetry or graphic novels
  • Informative nonfiction (from cookbook to history to doctoral thesis)
  • Art, photo and architecture books
  • Books for children and young people
  • Others

These categories can be used as a guideline, but the judges are under no obligation to select books in all categories.

The books are being exhibited at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and at several other places in the Netherlands and abroad. Recently the number of exhibitions tends to increase. During the last years the Best Dutch Book Designs have been on show in Stockholm, Ljubljana, Tokyo and different cities in China.

On top of that the selection finds its way each year to a bi-lingual book, The Best Dutch Book Designs / De Best Verzorgde Boeken. This catalogue presents the selected books in words – the judges reporting on each book separately – images and technical data. These elements are presented in a different way each year due to the book being designed by a different graphic designer. The contribution of the Dutch graphic industry in the production of this catalogue is not to be overseen.

The selection also serves as the Dutch entry for the international competition for Schönste Bücher aus aller Welt (Best Book Design from all over the World) in Leipzig. There, winning books from over thirty countries are eligible for a total of fourteen awards. Dutch books are regularly among the winners, including a number of recipients of the Golden Letter, the highest honour.


1 To be eligible for selection a book must fulfil at least two of the three following requirements.

The work, which need not be in Dutch, must have been:

  1. published by a publisher established in the Netherlands;
  2. designed by a person holding Dutch nationality or resident in the Netherlands;
  3. printed by a printing business and/or lithographed by a lithography business and/or bound by a binding business established in the Netherlands.

2 On registering for the selection the registrant must donate to the Foundation two copies of each work; seven further copies must be provided if a work is selected as one of the Best Dutch Book Designs. These copies are stored in various archives and used for different exhibitions. For more details see the Rules.

3 Entry fee: the registrant pays €75 for the first title and €50 for each further title.

Shadow panel

Entries in whose genesis any member of the panel was involved are passed on to the shadow panel, which is made up of past members of the main panel. The shadow panel considers these books and decides which can be submitted for the final judging (the judge concerned being excluded from discussion of the book in question).

Student Panel

In 2016 a student panel consisting exclusively of design students at Dutch and Flemish art academies and colleges has been established. They follow the same procedures as the professional panel and form their own selection of 33 books. The student panel too presents a comprehensive report. Both the selection and the judges’ report are being made available online (as an appendix to the Stichting’s website) and in a catalogue.

Panel members
The Best Dutch Book Designs

2018 – designers Michaël Snitker and Mijke Wondergem, Eelco van Welie (managing director NAI010 publishers), Martijn Kicken (adviser, Tielen printers) and Suzanna Héman (assistant curator, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam).

2017 – designers Yolanda Huntelaar andMichaël Snitker, Freek Kuin (creative director Robstolk printers), Marije Sietsma (director Loopvis Publisher) and Suzanne Bogman (Head Department Publications Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam).

2016 – designers Yolanda Huntelaar and Remco van Bladel, Freek Kuin (creative director Robstolk printers), Eelco van Welie (director nai010 publishers) and Carolien Glazenburg (curator graphic desing Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam).

2015 – Koen Brams (sometime director, Jan Van Eyck Academie, sometime editor-in-chief, De Witte Raaf), Luc Derycke (publisher, MER Paper Kunsthalle, designer), Carolien Glazenburg (curator, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam), Freek Kuin (creative director, Rob Stolk printers, Amsterdam), Wouter Roelants (bookseller and publisher)

2014 – Hans Bockting (graphic designer with Bockting Ontwerpers, Amsterdam), Carolien Glazenburg (Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam), Bregitta Kramer (print coordinator, book binder and teacher in printing techniques, Diemen), Joris Kritis (graphic designer, Brussels) and Astrid Vorstermans (publisher with Valiz, Amsterdam).

2013 – Hans Bockting, Johan Holterman, Bregitta Kramer, Hanca Leppink, Marlies Visser

2012 – Johan Holterman, Ada Lopes Cardozo, Rob van den Nieuwenhuizen, Marlies Visser, Peter de Winter

2011 – Jan de Boer, Frederike Huygen, Fokko Tamminga, Astrid Vorstermans

2010 – Jan de Boer, Vanessa van Dam, Ada Lopes Cardozo, Erna Staal, Fokko Tamminga

2009 – Volken Beck, Frederike Huygen, Ben Laloua, Paul van Mameren, Nina Post

2008 – Volken Beck, Vanessa van Dam, Nina Post, Fokko Tamminga, Julius Vermeulen

2007 – Kees van den Hoek, Ben Laloua, Pieter Tielen, Julius Vermeulen, René van der Vooren

2006 – Paul Hefting, Kees van den Hoek, Esther Noyons, Brigitte Slangen, Julius Vermeulen