Story House Belvédère in Rotterdam uses storytelling to bring the different communities in the city together, and contribute to a happier, more sustainable city. Located in Katendrecht, a part of town that is home to a combination of traditional migrant communities, recent newcomers, and hipsters attracted by the neighbourhood’s industrial look, the place is at the heart of many of the city’s developments and stories. In its short existence (it only opened in 2013), it has made a name for itself as a successful community-driven, innovative cultural initiative.
I finally got around to visiting Story House Belvedere a few weeks ago as part of the new Intangible Cultural Heritage and Museum Projects I am involved in, and I must say I was blown away by the place, its people, and the stories.
Story House Belvédère is a special place. You can feel it the moment you step into their warm and welcoming place. It feels like a living room, where everybody can be a friend. Even the coffee cups and the cookies are in style. The magic, of course, goes beyond aesthetics and is deeply embedded in the organisation.
Before there was a house, the team behind Belvédère organised a community-focused temporary exhibition in the public space in the south of Rotterdam. As this is a deprived part of town, city officials and other professionals doubted this plan. “You will get shot at, and in two weeks everything will be destroyed.” They were wrong, and the exhibition was around for a year and a half.Read More »