In the 1920s the Van Nelle company for brand name pre-packaged tea, coffee and tobacco, grew successfully and did not fit anymore in its original factory building in downtown Rotterdam. Thus it was decided to move to a completely new building outside the city, into a new factory building designed by Van der Vlugt and erected between 1927-1929. The edifice is currently one ot the 100 most important industrial monuments in the Netherlands and worldwide. The factory cannot be visited without prior permission. You may have the experience of be sent back if you just present yourself at the gate.
Photography also requires special permission. Strict rules apply to the grounds as it is normally an off-limits to outsiders - as it is a commercial workspace for a variety of offices. A group visit is limited to 1 hour maximum within the gates. Extra lecture time is possible prior to the visit in a near by cafe. Photography is allowed during this excursion if you stay close to the excursion group. For a special photography visit a special permit is needed. I can try and arrange this for you at an office PRIOR to your visit. You may also may make an appointment to speak to the restoration achitect himself for a very high hourly fee.
I can be helpful gaining entry, an then in a group tour, guided by a knowledgeable art historian you can walk the grounds of the factory area and visit one of the buildings. These specialized art historians will lecture on the form and function of the buildings and the lofty ideals entertained by the then factory director Cees van der Leeuw. Both architects, Van der Vlugt and Mart Stam, were the enthused carriers of the New Construction movement (Het Nieuwe Bouwen), which formed the basis of the revolutionary design with idealism and air and space and good work circumstances for the men and women doing their tasks on the work floor.
Evaluation of a tour led by Drs Kaldenbach for the Inspection Department of the Ministery of Education: "Everyone was positive about the visit to the Van Nelle factory. Your introduction and your extensive documentation were much valued. The broader historic perspective in which you told the story made the tour fascinating".
Aerial photo: Facing the water you see the series of sheds for transport. The white building with the curved roof line situated just inder the aerial bridges is the heating house, for production of heat and energy. Its placement outside the main factory, for the sake of safefy) was an innovation from the USA. During the first phase of the construction the drawings of each floor were not yet completed. As the building of floors progressed there was a continuous discussion between well-experienced floor managers and the architectes. Sometimes it was necessart to drill away a part of a new floor - for instance when the crazy idea of placing an outlook-vista right on top of the roof, the so called bonbonniere.
Photo. View from the Bonbonniere on top of the roof. For the important guests A playful thought which only emerged during the construction. Photo after the recent restoration, copied from the Internet. The recent restauration directed by the firm Wessel de Jonge has given a new lease on life to this enourmous building. As an art historian based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, I can meet you in Rotterdam for a personalized guided tour of art museums and the historic center. Together we will experience the beauty and history. Enjoy yourself and learn about history while strolling and discussing the country's history, art and culture. In doing so, we may touch many bases - spanning not only fine art and architecture but also the city's history and current social issues.
- Please contact me for time and fees of the tailor-made tour you ar interested in
- These tailor made tours are available upon request - please contact me to book a date
- Minimum group size: 16 persons
- Maximum group size is limited to about 35 persons.
Generally for groups of 20-50 persons. Tour starts at the factory gate in Rotterdam. You may get there by train and bus. Without proper inside contacts and knowledge one does not gain entrance to the building. the factory is located in the outskirts (bus ticket extra cost). Contact me for information on higher amounts with other venues and more people.
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