An initiative of the Droom en Daad Foundation, FENIX opens in 2024. Is it a museum? Yes, and much more than that. FENIX is a new cultural destination in Rotterdam, the largest port city of The Netherlands; a quintessential location of departure and arrival. From the late nineteenth century onwards, more than three million people boarded ships at the nearby docks, embarking from Rotterdam on a new life, mostly in the United States and Canada, some of them famous, like Johnny Weismuller, Willem de Kooning, Max Beckmann and Albert Einstein. Love, hope, work, sheer necessity or a sense of adventure have always moved people to pack their bags and leave for a new life elsewhere. FENIX explores, exhibits and explains this timeless and universal phenomenon and all the emotions associated with it.
FENIX brings together an ever growing, internationally curated collection of art, history and personal stories — including photographs, historical objects, art and commissioned pieces, both contemporary and historical. It will be displayed in a meticulously restored former riverside warehouse built in 1923, a striking building by architect Cornelis Nicolaas van Goor (1861-1945). It is currently undergoing an extensive restoration, to ensure that this fine example of Rotterdam port architecture is preserved for the future. A new feature will be the Tornado, a double helix staircase swirling up from the ground floor, leading to a platform that affords a spectacular view over the river and the city, designed by MAD Architects which was established by Ma Yansong in Beijing in 2004. FENIX is MAD Architects’s first commission for a cultural public building in Europe and will be the first museum built by a Chinese firm in Europe.