The Arts and Crafts Movement

In continental Europe, the revival and preservation of national styles was an important motive of Arts and Crafts designers; for example, in Germany, after unification in 1871 under the encouragement of the Bund für Heimatschutz (1897) and the Vereinigte Werkstätten für Kunst im Handwerk founded in 1898 by Karl Schmidt; and in Hungary Károly Kós revived the vernacular style of Transylvanian building. In central Europe, where several diverse nationalities lived under powerful empires (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia), the discovery of the vernacular was associated with the assertion of national pride and the striving for independence, and, whereas for Arts and Crafts practitioners in Britain the ideal style was to be found in the medieval, in central Europe it was sought in remote peasant villages.

Widely exhibited in Europe, the Arts and Crafts style's simplicity inspired designers like Henry van de Velde and styles such as Art Nouveau, the Dutch De Stijl group, Vienna Secession, and eventually the Bauhaus style. Pevsner regarded the style as a prelude to Modernism, which used simple forms without ornamentation.

The earliest Arts and Crafts activity in continental Europe was in Belgium in about 1890, where the English style inspired artists and architects including can de Velde, Gabriel Van Dievoet, Gustave Serrurier-Bovy and a group known as La Libre Esthétique (Free Aesthetic).

Arts and Crafts products were admired in Austria and Germany in the early 20th century, and under their inspiration design moved rapidly forward while it stagnated in Britain. The Wiener Werkstätte, founded in 1903 by Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser, was influenced by the Arts and Crafts principles of the "unity of the arts" and the hand-made. The Deutscher Werkbund (German Association of Craftsmen) was formed in 1907 as an association of artists, architects, designers, and industrialists to improve the global competitiveness of German businesses and became an important element in the development of modern architecture and industrial design through its advocacy of standardized production. However, its leading members, van de Velde and Hermann Muthesius, had conflicting opinions about standardization. Muthesius believed that it was essential were Germany to become a leading nation in trade and culture. Van de Velde, representing a more traditional Arts and Crafts attitude, believed that artists would forever "protest against the imposition of orders or standardization," and that "The artist ... will never, of his own accord, submit to a discipline which imposes on him a canon or a type." 

In Finland, an idealistic artists' colony in Helsinki was designed by Herman Gesellius, Armas Lindgren and Eliel Saarinen, who worked in the National Romantic style, akin to the British Gothic Revival.

In Hungary, under the influence of Ruskin and Morris, a group of artists and architects, including Károly Kós, Aladár Körösfői-Kriesch and Ede Toroczkai Wigand, discovered the folk art and vernacular architecture of Transylvania. Many of Kós's buildings, including those in the Budapest zoo and the Wekerle estate in the same city, show this influence.

In Russia, Viktor Hartmann, Viktor Vasnetsov, Yelena Polenova and other artists associated with Abramtsevo Colony sought to revive the quality of medieval Russian decorative arts quite independently from the movement in Great Britain.

In Iceland, Sölvi Helgason's work shows Arts and Crafts influence.