What is FENIX?

What is FENIX?


FENIX opens in 2024. Is it a museum? Yes, and much more than that. FENIX is a cultural location in Rotterdam. The quintessential location of departure and arrival. Where millions of Europeans departed and just as many arrived from all over the world. On the run or chasing after love. Often looking for happiness or better opportunities. FENIX tells all these stories.

Afscheid van Ellis Island

The home of FENIX is an historical warehouse at the waterfront on Katendrecht. On the quays around this harbour warehouse, more than three million emigrants stepped aboard a ship that took them to a new life on the other side of the world. Scientist Albert Einstein, artist Willem de Kooning and actor Johnny Weismuller, among others, sailed across the ocean from Rotterdam.

Op Katendrecht

In the twentieth century many Chinese immigrants moved to Katendrecht, and started working in the harbours as stokers. As a result, Katendrecht transformed into one of the first Chinatowns in Europe. Around 1900, the very first Chinese restaurant in the Netherlands and probably even in the whole of Europe opened here. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, East European migrants, Greek chocolate manufacturers, Surinamese jazz musicians and Cape Verdean sailors lived on Katendrecht.


The departure and arrival of people made Rotterdam the melting pot it is today. The city is shaped by the more than 170 nationalities living here. Packing your bags and starting all over again is part of the port city and at the same time it is a timeless and universal phenomenon. Love, hope, work, necessity or adventure prompt people all over the world to move. FENIX is about the movement of people and all the emotions that are involved.

Stronger together

FENIX is an initiative by the Droom en Daad Foundation. Droom en Daad Foundation was established in 2016 to make the city of Rotterdam even more beautiful by investing in art and culture. One of the foundation’s first initiatives is to preserve FENIX.

For the restoration of FENIX, Droom en Daad Foundation is working together with Crimson Architectural Historians (historical research), Stadsherstel Historisch Rotterdam and Bureau Polderman (restoration plan). The Tornado was designed by MAD Architects. The main contractor is Dura Vermeer.

FENIX is collaborating with the Stadsarchief Rotterdam, Maritiem Museum, Museum Rotterdam, Nederlands Fotomuseum and Wereldmuseum. The Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp (Belgium), Ellis Island in New York (United States) and Pier 21 in Halifax (Canada) have also expressed their commitment.