Herman Hermsen

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Herman Hermsen is known for his innovative and provocative jewelry pieces. His work breaks with the traditional norms of jewelry as a status symbol. Painted steel wire, aluminum or plastic are transformed into nonchalant one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces or serial editions. “In general, with regard to all designs, my working method is based on a reinterpretation of the product in question,” Hermsen says. As a result arise always works of great beauty that reflect artistic and intellectual discourses of their time of origin and whose often poient titles, underline the meaning of the content of each individual design.

For a long time Hermsen devoted himself in equal parts to the design of industrial products and jewelry. After studying at the Akademie voor Beeldende Kunsten Arnhem from 1974 to 1979, his passion was lighting design, creating a dialogue between functionality and form with playful ease, such as in the table lamp ‘Along came Bette’, whose reflector disk sitting at an angle on the glass bulb is reminiscent of the large hats of film stars such as Bette Davis. His time as an assistant to Emmy van Leersum (1930 – 1984) between 1980 and 1984 was not without influence on his career. From the mid-1980s, the young designer turned increasingly to jewelry design and made his mark as a teacher at various universities on a large number of students to this day.

Herman Hermsen’s works are represented in all important design collections, among them at the Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Arnhem (NL), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (NL), Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst, Den Haag (NL), Coda Museum, Apeldoorn (NL)Museum Booymans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (NL), Haags Gemeente Museum, Den Haag (NL), Museum Moderne Kunst, ’s Hertogenbosch (NL), Schmuckmuseum, Pforzheim (DE), Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Cologne (DE), Bauhaus Archiv, Berlin (DE), Neue Sammlung, Munich (DE), Museum für Kunsthandwerk, Hamburg (DE), Angermuseum, Erfurt, (DE), Victoria and Albert Museum, London (UK), Museum des Arts Decoratifs, Montreal (CAN) as well as the Cooper Hewitt Museum, New York (USA).


  • 1953 born in Nijmegen NL
  • 1974 – 1979 Akademie voor Beeldende Kunsten Arnhem, NL
  • 1979 Independent and freelance jewelry and product designer
  • 1985 – 2023 Design jury member in several design contests in the Netherlands, Germany, Japan
  • 1985 – 1990 Teacher for product and jewelry design at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht, NL
  • 1990 – 1992 Teacher for product and jewelry design at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Arnhem, NL
  • 1992 Professor for product and jewelry design at University of Applied Siences Düsseldorf, DE


  • Several solo-and group exhbitions of jewellery design in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Scandinavia, Czeck Republic, USA, Canada, Australia and Japan
  • Several solo-and group presentations of product design in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Great Britain, USA and Japan.


  • 1993 Rotterdam design price, honourable mention for the letter opener ‘Fontana’ produced by Designum, the Netherlands
  • 1998 Design Innovations, Design Cnetre NRW, Germany, award for ‘High Design Quality’ fo the ring designs ‘Meander’ produced by Nieesing Germany
  • 2001 Reddot design award, Design Centre NRW, Reddot: ‘best of the best for the floor lamp ‘Charis’ produced by ClassiCon, Munich, Germany
  • 2002 IF design award 2002 for the floor lamp ‘Charis’, by ClassiCon

Works in Museum Collections

  • Netherlands: Museum of Modern Art, Arnhem| Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam | Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst, Amsterdam | Van Reekum Museum, Appeldorn | Museum Booymans van Beuningen, Rotterdam | Haags Gemeente Museum, Den Haag | Museum Het Kruithuis, s’Hertogenbosch | Centraal Museum, Utrecht
  • Germany: Schmuckmuseum, Pforzheim; Museum, für Angewandte Kunst, Cologne; | Bauhaus Archiv, Berlin | Die Neue Sammlung, Design Museum, Danner-Stiftung, Munich | Museum for Applied Arts, Hamburg | Angermuseum, Erfurt
  • Norway: Museum for Kunsthandverk, Oslo | Museum, Trondheim
  • Great Britain: Cleveland Contemporary Jewellery Collection | Victoria & Albert Museum, London
  • Canada: Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Montreal
  • USA: Cooper Hewitt Museum, New York
  • Czeck Repubic: Museum Cesko Raje, Runov
  • Japan: National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto