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The interesting creators of creative breeding ground Keilewerf

By Julia Den Outer
May 05, 2022

If there’s something that I like about Rotterdam, it’s that a lot of creative minds live there. That is why I think the Keilewerf is such an inspiring and cool place: here you will find all creative makers together!

You will find the Keilewerf on the corner of the Keileweg. The old sheds have been transformed into places where makers can create. In this article I explain a little bit more about the Keilewerf and highlight five of its entrepreneurs.

Want to discover more creatives? Read my article about jewelry designers and Awesome female artists from Rotterdam.


What is the Keilewerf?

Photo by Iris van den Broek

The Keilewerf is located in the booming area M4H in Rotterdam West. Nearby you will also find the Keilecafé, Weelde, BIT and Atelier van Lieshout. This is really a place in Rotterdam where there is still room for creative excesses. The Keilewerf, consisting of buildings 1 and 2, has an area of ​​6000 m2. A gigantic place.

A location with more than 80 creative entrepreneurs

More than 80 creative entrepreneurs can be found in the Keilewerf. They work here in studios and workshops on their own projects and small businesses. Think of makers such as artists, musicians, furniture makers, film makers and much more. So you can find plenty of talent! You can also rent a flexible workplace or workbench here. This can be useful for starters, for instance.

The wharf where you can make anything (or have it made)

A creative hub is so important because it has a connecting role. Because makers come together in the Keilewerf, they inspire each other and can collaborate much easier. It is also very convenient for clients, you can  find so many different makers here that you will always find the right people for your assignment.

As the founders of Keilewerf themselves say: ‘The wharf where you can make anything or have it made’.


The creative entrepreneurs of the Keilewerf

Curious about the makers of the Keilewerf? I’ll highlight five of them below. This way you get to know the real Rotterdam entrepreneurs. Who knows, they might even inspire you!


1. De Verbaasde Ree

The name Verbaasde Ree is a reference to its founders: Annefleur Verbaas and Amara van der Ree. They once started furnishing the (old) Fenix ​​Food Factory and have now grown into interior designers. Now they also have their own shop.

They are real vintage enthusiasts and score the coolest items everywhere. But they’re also amazing in collecting new designs. That is why they style in a mix between vintage and new design.

In their webshop you will also find a mix of vintage and new design, but also own designs. They made the very cute ‘Tile cubes’ that I would like to have myself.

You will find very large and very small things for your home at de Verbaasde Ree. They have cushions and tableware, but also entire tables and couches. You can actually score your entire interior here!


2. Studio Verbaan

Studio Verbaan consists of Jordi Verbaan and Solange Frankort. They make contemporary but timeless designs. These two reinforce each other: Jordi is an artisan woodworker and Solange is a conceptual artist.

Each design is handmade by Jordi from different types of wood. The works are minimalist and made of wood. This gives a nice contrast. Often you are used to seeing these kinds of shapes only in white in other material.

The contrast between Jordi and Solange is also reflected in their designs: they are real works of art, but with a function. It is a mix between a piece of furniture, sculpture and object. It just depends on how and where you see the designs.


3. Living Light

Photo by Ermi van Oers

The Keilewerf is a place for designers in all forms. For example, Ermi van Oers of Living Light has made a very special product in collaboration with Plant-e: a lamp that generates its own electricity.

This ‘Living Light’ gets its energy from the photosynthesis process. It does this by using ‘plant microbial fuel cell technology’, a technology developed by Plant-e. Very complicated perhaps, but the idea is that you do not have to connect the Living Light to power, it is completely self-sufficient.

This Living Light is very special to see, but of course it also has an important message. For example, Ermi says that if we see plants as something that can give us energy, it can change our relationship with nature. Instead of just using plants and nature for yourself, you now need to care for and maintain it in order to get something in return.

Would you like to see this design live? You will probably soon be able to visit ‘The Park of Tomorrow’ in IJsselmonde again. This park is lit by the plant stream. Once someone walks by, the lights automatically switch on. It’s like walking into a fairytale.

Discover these five walking routes through IJsselmonde.


4. Voedseltuin

The Voedseltuin has transformed an industrial part of the harbour into a green oasis. Because in the old Keilehaven they have built a large vegetable garden.

De Voedseltuin is maintained by volunteers and the vegetables grown go to the Food Bank for free. In this way, the Voedseltuin wants to contribute to a healthy city. After all, healthy food should be available to everyone, regardless of whether you earn a lot or a little.

The Voedseltuin is also a a place of encounters, because it is a place of reintegration and daytime activities. That is why a lot of volunteers work here. Gardening is of course a healthy daytime activity for everyone. The Voedseltuin therefore occupies an important social place in Rotterdam.


5. Maarten Bel

The Keilewerf is a creative place, that’s for sure. It is therefore not surprising that artists are attracted to this spot. For example you’ll find Maarten Bel here. Maarten makes, among other things, very funny embroidery with funny and cheeky texts. In all his work he denounces serious subjects in a humorous way.

How does he do that? In Maarten’s world, the smurfs are melting due to climate change and cleaning up garbage is becoming a more fanatical game than Monopoly.

His work is actually difficult to describe in one word. He does performances, but also makes posters, and also embroiders. In fact, he does so much and is always busy. One thing is for sure, his work always makes me chuckle.


6. Charlotte van Otterloo

Charlotte van Otterloo‘s work transcends different disciplines. Think of illustrations, expositions and animations. Her works are playful and she travels all over the country with them.

For example, she has the interactive installation Mechatropolis in which the viewer has to actively work with this piece. In this marble run you have to guide metal balls through the track by performing all kinds of actions. As a participant you are completely sucked into the work.

Another very special work that Charlotte travels around with are the Dromoscopes. These are large objects that you as a visitor have to stand in, your head fits exactly in them. Inside these installations you will see an enormously detailed diorama. You are actually in a completely different world, for example underwater or in your own brain.

With Charlotte’s works you are actually quite somewhere else for a while, away from your own thoughts.


The Keilewerf has a huge number of entrepreneurs, so these are not all of them yet. Be sure to check out the others on the Keilewerf websiteor drop by and discover more!

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