The former Van Nelle Factory on the Schie river in Rotterdam, is one of the most important historic industrial buildings in the Netherlands. It is a former factory currently used as an office complex for design and media firms.
The building was designed by architects Johannes Brinkman and Leendert van der Vlugt and built between 1925 and 1931. It is an example of Nieuwe Bouwen, modern architecture in the Netherlands. It was commissioned by the then-director of the Van Nelle company, Cees van der Leeuw. The Van Nelle company was a major producer of tobacco products, coffee and tea.
In the 20th century it was a coffee and tea factory. Currently it houses a wide variety of new media and design companies and is known as the Van Nelle Design Factory. Some of the areas are used for meetings, conventions and events.
Wessel De Jonge, an authority on the renovation of modern architecture, planned and project-managed the renovation, which began in the year 2000.
The Van Nelle Factory shows the influence of Russian constructivism. Mart Stam, who was one of the architects of the factory in 1926-28, came in contact with the Russian Avant-Garde in 1922 in Berlin. In 1926 Mart Stam organized an architecture tour of the Netherlands for the Russian artist El Lissitzky and his wife Sophie Küppers, collector of avant-garde art. They visited Jacobus Oud, Cornelis van Eesteren, Gerrit Rietveld, and other artists. Sophie Küppers stated that Mart Stam spoke about his factory during that trip. The large letters on the roof, and other parts of the building, seem to come directly from the world of Russian constructivism. The constructivist aspect probably shows the influence of Mart Stam and the round architectural forms (including the office building) are probably more the heritage of Leendert van der Vlugt.
The Van Nelle Factory is a Dutch national monument (Rijksmonument) and is on the list of sites under consideration for the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site.