Van Nellefabriek

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The canal ring area in Amsterdam, the Kinderdijk windmills... Holland already boasted nine beautiful monuments on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Number 10, the Van Nellefabriek, was added on 21 June 2014. With its use of materials like glass and steel and the resulting volume of light and space, UNESCO describes the plant as an ‘icon of Dutch modernism'.

  • The Van Nellefabriek was added as number 10 to the Dutch section of the UNESCO World Heritage List on 21 June 2014.
  • The Van Nellefabriek is unique in its use of materials and used to be a coffee, tea and tobacco factory.
  • Today the Van Nellefabriek is a lively commercial centre in Rotterdam.

Modernist architecture

The building was erected around 1920 as a coffee, tea and tobacco factory and had a huge impact on the development of modern architecture in Europe. The architects wanted to realise light, air and space in the building and that is what they did in the Spaanse Polder (‘Spanish Polder’) in Rotterdam. The Van Nellefabriek was far ahead of its time in terms of the materials used and its shape. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee added the unique building to its international list of protected sites on 21 June 2014.

Commercial centre in Rotterdam

What makes the Van Nellefabriek extra special is the fact that it is still a lively commercial centre today. By far the greatest number of sites on the UNESCO list are cultural sites owned by governments while the Van Nellefabriek houses dozens of bustling businesses. Part of the former coffee roasting space has been converted to an event hall.

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