The history

In 1923, Van Nelle’s progressive managing director Kees van der Leeuw commissioned the construction of an ingenious, cutting-edge factory complex that would incorporate a comprehensive range of employee facilities. The factory not only included showers, it also had to be built entirely above ground to let in light and air and create space.

Destined for demolition
The Van Nelle Factory produced tobacco products well into the 1990s. The building was added to the register of historic buildings in 1986, but was irrevocably destined for demolition if no solid buyer was found. Sara Lee/DE only wanted to sell the property to a buyer who would respect and maintain its original values.

Sara Lee/DE consent 
The moment came in 1998: Sara Lee/DE endorsed the ambitious renovation plans of an enthusiastic group of developers.


An illustrious project

 Sara Lee/DE requested assistance from the Cultural Heritage Agency and the Municipality of Rotterdam, which resulted in a ‘cultural heritage outlook’ document setting out guidelines that future users would have to follow. Various proposals followed. The concept proposed by Eric Gude, managing director of Property Conversion BV, was eventually selected.

After consensus was reached on the concept for redesigning the Van Nelle Factory, the high-profile project started in 1998. The building was adapted to the new preferences and demands of modern society so it could once again be used as a high-powered and dynamic hub, this time for creative professionals.

An illustrious project
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