The former executive offices of Meelfabriek De Sleutels now accommodate six businesses. The building has been fully refurbished, restoring the facade, window frames and interior to their former glory where possible. The many original features evoke the building’s special history.
The executive offices were designed by the Dutch architect Bernard Buurman and built in 1940 in the sober expressionist style known as Zakelijk-Expressionisme. A facing brick in the facade comes from a corn mill, dating back to 1734, ‘De Oranjeboom’ (The Orange Tree, a reference to the royal Dutch House of Orange-Nassau). The flour was chemically tested in the laboratory on the second floor. The factory workers would then test-bake bread and cakes to ascertain whether the flour was of the right quality and met all the requirements. The staff were allowed to take these test products home in the evening. The authentic Leiden keys above the entrance symbolise the company that had been called ‘Meelfabriek De Sleutels’ (The Keys Flour Mill) since the 1920s. The change of name from ‘Stoom-meelfabriek De Koster & Co.’ reflected the fact that the mill was no longer steam-driven (‘stoom’ means ‘steam’) and had switched to electric power.
WHO’S WHO IN THE DIRECTIEKANTOOR
From a start-up to an NGO: all of them enjoy being here and consider themselves lucky to have one of the sought-after offices in this listed building. The business owners are also excited about the redevelopment, and are delighted that De Meelfabriek will be reused rather than demolished, as sustainability is important to them.
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