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The Commercialization of LEGO and the Nostalgia Economy

The Commercialization of LEGO and the Nostalgia Economy


February 7, 2024


In his insightful piece, Menno van den Bos delves into the transformation of LEGO from a simple toy to a commodity, highlighting how companies like LEGO capitalize on nostalgia. What was once a world of creativity and imagination has now evolved into a realm of collecting, trading, and investing, where the focus has shifted from the joy of opening a LEGO box to the pursuit of profit (van den Bos, 2023).

Van den Bos aptly points out that while children may experience the opening of a LEGO set as a magical moment, it’s merely a financial transaction for investors. The emergence of LEGO conventions and expos has created a capitalist playground where the value of LEGO sets is determined not by the fun they provide but by their potential for financial gain.

However, the story of LEGO’s commercialization is far from simple. It began as a modest business model in the 1920s, aimed at providing countless children with the opportunity to play and create. Over time, however, this noble intention has been corrupted by the pursuit of wealth.

What once symbolized creativity and childhood innocence has now become entangled in the web of consumerism and greed. The LEGO sets that once sparked imagination are now viewed as commodities to be bought, sold, and hoarded for profit.

Yet, amidst this commercialization, it’s essential to remember the democratic origins of LEGO and the values it once represented. As consumers, we can challenge this capitalist narrative and reclaim LEGO for what it truly stands for―a symbol of creativity, imagination, and childhood joy.

In a world where the pursuit of profit often overshadows all else, it’s crucial to uphold the principles of dissent and democracy, resisting the commodification of our cherished childhood memories. Only then can we hope to preserve the true essence of LEGO for generations to come.



van den Bos, M. (2023, december). Speelgoed of handelswaar?; Hoe bedrijven als LEGO kapitaliseren op nostalgie. Vrij Nederland, pp. 106-.



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