Lobke Broos

#ASK Lobke Broos

Rotterdam has gained another cultural hotspot. Lobke Broos, who has twenty years of work experience in the cultural sector — at the Nederlands Fotomuseum and Stedelijk Museum Schiedam for instance — recently opened a new cultural enterprise in the Scheepvaartkwartier in November 2021: ROOF-A. It provides a cultural boost for the neighbourhood, and by extension: the city. The cultural meeting place regularly programs exciting exhibitions, combined with a special rooftop installation by Atelier Van Lieshout. For the #ASK section, we ask a number of questions to a fascinating person who is active in the field of art, design & architecture in Rotterdam. This time, that’s Lobke Broos!

Why and when did you decide to start something new in Rotterdam? What would you like to add to the existing cultural landscape of the city?

After the lockdowns, everyone is looking forward to having cultural connections, apart from all of the digital connections. Therefore, this time is remarkably fruitful for new initiatives. In building something new, we meet the current demand for connection. How can artists, companies, galleries, patrons and museums strengthen their social embedding? That is our main motivation: connecting people and culture, by offering an inspiring meeting place and opening doors. We want to offer a place where we cab connect, question, show and challenge. The hyphen is [literally] in our name. And there are still worlds to be won when it comes to linking cultural, public and private networks. ROOF-A is a museum-like, inspiring presentation space; a space that offers happiness because it actually enriches you. Contemporary artists tend to depict the world: with a joke or critical eye, by offering vistas or by zooming in on our lives. The location at Westplein 9 in Rotterdam is a discovery in itself, located near the Veerhaven in a green environment, with a view of the ships. The property is a gem from the 1960s, the former society of the shipping company Nedlloyd, with an open and welcoming atmosphere. There is currently not much art to be found in the district, so ROOF-A really adds value in that regard. 

How do you see ROOF-A in the future?

ROOF-A strives to make borders more flexible. This applies to collaborations with other galleries, assignments to artists that we set up with private individuals or companies, and to our program, that lies at the intersection of photography, visual art, fashion and design. I like to think of it as a bird that floats on the thermals: that suits my way of working; moving along in time and space, always looking for new possibilities. 

Lobke Broos

How would you describe your relationship with the city of Rotterdam?

I have lived in Rotterdam since I was 17 and I love the dynamics and mentality when it comes to development, building and working. It is a great city with an incredible amount of potential. It is the perfect foundation for new initiatives and I aim to continue to make a substantial contribution to the cultural future and ambitions of the city in the coming years. Former mayor Bram Peper sent me a wonderful response when I started ROOF-A. “I admire your move to the private sector in becoming an entrepreneur in these trying times. With that, you indicate that the DNA of this city is firmly embedded in you.” 

Seet van Hout, Memory Lace Damme

What are you looking forward to the most during the upcoming edition of Rotterdam Art Week?

I am really looking forward to being able to participate in Art Rotterdam for the very first time. I also can’t wait for the opening of Brutus, with three wonderful solo exhibitions. I have a huge admiration for Joep van Lieshout. I feel that his thinking, his vision and mission in regards to the MH4 area is unprecedented. We can be proud of such an artist, who will put the city on the international map. An indispensable part of the ‘Rotterdam Cultural Rennaissance’.