Henk Ovink

Henk Ovink

The Hague, NL



Henk Ovink (1967) is Vice Director General and Director of National Spatial Planning for the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. He is responsible for the development of the new Dutch Spatial Planning Policy, the Architecture Policy on Architecture and Spatial Design, the new Spatial Planning Act (WRO), several long-term plans and studies including the Randstad 2040 Structural Vision and the Dutch spatial Olympic Strategy (Plan for the Olympics 2028) and furthermore for the R&D agenda on Spatial Planning, two academic chairs at the University of Utrecht (Planning Studies) and the Delft University of Technology (Design and Politics) and different research projects on sustainability, spatial planning, governance and design.

Henk Ovink is co-curator for the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam 2012 “Making City” and curator 2011 for Aedes Network Campus Berlin on Design&Politics: The Next Phase.
Ovink teaches at Harvard GSD, Columbia GSAPP, University of Kentucky, TU Delft, and among others the Design Academy Eindhoven. He is responsible for (initiating) the research program Design and Politics (DAPP) and lectures on new ways of planning and the position of politics and design. He set up a series of publications with 010 Publishers called Design and Politics covering the historical and political perspective as well as focusing on specific issues (designing the Randstad, Compact Cities and more). Ovink has published several articles on the change of government, governance and planning as well as on the specific relationship between design and politics.



5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, co-curator

Making City: the 5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam in São Paulo, Istanbul and Rotterdam

In just a few decades 80% of mankind will live in cities where more than 90% of our wealth is generated. And all that covers less than 3% of the earth’s surface. Cities are effective, they drive innovation, offer the best answer to overpopulation, and are the greenest answer we have on a planet where crisis and climate change are forcing us to find rigorous solutions. But then cities must be better managed, better designed, better organized, and better planned than they currently are. Only then can cities save us from ourselves.

With Making City, the IABR will therefore actively engage with ‘city making’ in the form of concrete projects in three cities: Rotterdam, São Paulo and Istanbul. For this, an international team of curators is engaged in a two-year research programme in these three cities. Their main goal is to redefine the role of and the relation between planning, design and politics and thereby contribute to a more effective toolbox for making the city. Open and new alliances among urban planners, scientists, businesses, developers and local administrators are the driving forces in this endeavour. It will culminate in presentations, exhibitions, lectures and debates in the three cities, after which it is the stated intent of all partners to see the projects realized.

The 5th IABR, Making City, opens in April 2012.

Sep 2010 - current

Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, Deputy Director General Spatial Planning

First advisor to the Secretary for Infrastructure and the Environment on Spatial Planning, Architecture and Design.

Sep 2007 - current

Areas of Specialization