Project developer Ab van der Wiel purchased De Meelfabriek in 1998. He wanted to preserve the factory and develop it. The complex is now one of the most important relics of the rich industrial past of Leiden.
Van der Wiel: "The buildings derive their character from their supporting structure. The structural anatomy of each building will remain visible. From the elegant steel frame structures and the forest of concrete columns to the rows of cathedral-like silo spaces. "
For more than a quarter of a century, Van der Wiel worked untiring to transform De Meelfabriek from an empty factory into a bustling part of the city. Although the conversion process is long and complicated, Van der Wiel considers the challenge in creating something new. "I am someone who thinks in terms of concepts. Subsequently you have to make it simple. It is mainly about listening carefully and use your common sense. And rigorously stick to the quality you have in mind."
Ab van der Wiel is a great lover of art and culture and is very active in cultural life in Noordwijk and Leiden. In 2010 he received a Royal Honor for his efforts.
Foto: Corne Houwaard