A former industrial complex in Amsterdam Oost looks set to become a spectacular new addition to the capital’s museums when art collective Studio Drift takes up residence in 2025.
The 8,000 m2 floor space at the Van Gendthallen equals that of the Stedelijk Museum, and the organisers are expecting to top the number of visitors, with half a million tickets a year to the Stedelijk’s 437,000.
Situated on a canal directly linked to Central Station, visitors can access the museum by boat, debarking inside the building.
“The existing infrastructure of the cultural landscape is no longer what is needed for all artists,” Drift co-founder Lonneke Gordijn told the NRC.
Gordijn and Ralph Nauta are known for their spectacular light installations, including floating “concrete” blocks. A performance featuring thousands of drones lighting up the New York sky attracted tens of thousands of visitors.
Gordijn said the choice to make Amsterdam their home was made during the pandemic. “We were constantly shipping huge boxes to repeat what we had been doing in different places in the world. We wanted to progress and we can do that here,” she said.
Looking for a place large enough to accommodate their art, Gordijn and Nauta came across the Van Gendthallen, which had been used to make steam trains and diesel engines.
The protected rijksmonument was owned by Eduard Zanen, one of the entrepreneurs behind the Bugaboo baby strollers who planned to house the company there. However, Zanen left the company in 2018 after falling out with his partner, paving the way for the Drift Museum to occupy two of the five factory halls.
The rest of the complex will be home to sustainable start-ups, bars and restaurants, offices and sports activities, Zanen said.
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