Complete Listing of tours
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 buildings in downtown Rotterdam. Thus it was decided to move to a completely new building outside the city limits, into a new factory building designed by Van der Vlugt and erected between 1927-1929.
The edifice is currently considered to be one of 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 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. Visits are possible from mondays through fridays but on saturdays there is an extra bonus: it is much quieter and we get access to the large hall with the many sesign chairs (see photo) where we can sit and have a 15 min talk about design planning and building history.
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, split the group of at least 20 persons into at least two groups, 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 , November 2009: "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 photograph, source: Internet. To the extreme left is the lodge of the doorman. The main building with to the left departments for tobacco (a female department) in the middle the coffee (a male department) and to the right the tea department. All the way on top of the tobacco building the bonbonniere for VIPs, guests of the director.
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 concerning explosions) was an innovation from the USA.
During the first phase of the construction the architectural drawings of each floor were not yet completed. As the building of floors progressed there was a continuous discussion between well-experienced production floor managers and the architects. Sometimes it was necessarty 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.
To the right: View from the Bonbonniere on top of the roof, intended 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.
Stairwell with strictly separated stairs for men and women. Photo Kaldenbach, 2009.
Glass outer facade. Photo Kaldenbach, 2009.
Overhead conveyor belts running through glazed gangways. Transport lines between the buildings in the easters side by the water where raw material arrived, and where the finished goods were shipped out, and the main building on the western side. One also sees the boiler house here, well separated in case of explosions. Photo Kaldenbach, 2009
Interior with the mushroom shaped concrete pillars, constructed in one pour of concrete. Photo Kaldenbach, 2009.
Stairwell and floor with linoleum. Photo copied from Internet.
This si the place to sit down and have a discussion of the architectural and social qualities. One of the design treasures inside is this collection of high quality design chairs donated by several chair factories. Photo Kaldenbach, 2009. When visiting, we are allowed to sit here only on Saturdays.
"The whole plant of the firm was // moved to this space in the // 148th year of its existence // and as a permanent memorial to that // this text was placed here // by the complete personnel // 1930." Commemorative statement, 1930. Photo Kaldenbach, 2009.
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. See client testimonials.
Read a biography.
Drs. Kaldenbach is chairman of the Circle of Academic Tour Guides of the Netherlands and Flanders (CATON)
Complete Listing of tours
Starting at your hotel I will take you on a wonderful private cultural walking tour of your choice. My guided itinerary offers you accessable informative conversation in English, Dutch, or German (my French and Italian are more limited).
You may also arrange this VIP treatment for business contacts or friends. Our cultural tour organisation office will take care of a unique and memorable experience.
Drs. Kees Kaldenbach is your private "scholar-lecturer on culture tours" *.
*Martha Gellhorn, Travels with Myself and another, p. 182.
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: 1 person. Maximum group size is limited to about 10 persons. With a megaphone I can also manage larger groups on the streets.
Complete Listing of tours
The Rijksmuseum has done me the honor of linking the main Rijksmuseum site to my website. Start at www.rijksmuseum.nl and select Collection. Then choose 'Digital Collaboration' and the 'Digital Vermeer House'.
I conduct Rembrandt walks in Amsterdam for the Netherlands Bureau of Tourism, London and New York City offices. Their clients include important journalists.
The travel site www.luxurytraveler.com has devoted a main feature to my tours and walks.
Read further client testimonials.
Read a biography.
Drs. Kees Kaldenbach has been featured in television and radio documentaries, including BBC2 TV, NTV Japan, Danish TV and Radio Netherlands World Service. In July 2004 he was interviewed about rotterdam artists by Tetsuya Tsuruhara for the leading Japanese newspaper The Yomiuri Shimbun. In 2004 and 2005 he acted in an advisory role to additional BBC teams. Kaldenbach has written extensively on Vermeer and 17th century rotterdam, on Vincent van Gogh and on other art history topics.
Drs. Kees Kaldenbach is your private "scholar-lecturer on culture tours".
Further information is available on his encyclopedic web site: www.johannesvermeer.info
Drs. Kees Kaldenbach , email@example.com
Haarlemmermeerstraat 83 hs
1058 JS Amsterdam
telephone 020 - 669 8119 (from abroad NL +20 - 669 8119)
cell phone 06 - 2868 9775 (from abroad NL +6 - 2868 9775)
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Open seven days a week.
Member of the VVV Tourist information and the Amsterdam Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel).
Email responses and bookings to art historian Drs. Kees Kaldenbach.
This page forms part of the 2000+ item Vermeer web site at www.xs4all.nl/~kalden
Launched August 20, 2008. Update April 19, 2013.