About Van Nelle Fabriek

21 June 2014 - Van Nelle Factory in Rotterdam is World Heritage

Today, the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO decided to grant the Van Nelle Fabriek (Van Nelle Factory) in Rotterdam the World Heritage Status. It is a global recognition of the outstanding universal value of the former coffee, tea and tobacco factory, built in a modernist style in the 1920’s. - Read more >>


In 1923, Van Nelle’s progressive Managing Director Kees van der Leeuw commissioned a new factory – one that was state-of-the-art and would make a splash. It was to have all sorts of special facilities for employees, such as showers. And the whole building was to be above ground, so that it would be full of light, air and space.

Demolition looms

The building gained historic building status in 1986, and tobacco was still being processed there until the late 1990s. But at a certain point, the new owners, Sara Lee/DE, had no further use for it, and demolition loomed. But, given the building’s historic value, Sara Lee/DE only wanted to sell it to a buyer who would respect and retain its original features.

Agreement reached

In 1998, Sara Lee/DE came into contact with an enthusiastic group of developers who had an ambitious renovation plan...

Read more about the history of Van Nelle Fabriek or get an impression by watching the video's.