Nestle Building - Piekstraat - 3
It's one of the few buildings with an easy access to the roof. From the third floor you have a great view of the Rotterdam skyline.

Looking North - The stairs to the roof are down the first square hole. All the floors have large holes where pipes and machinery have been removed.

This building is being demolished and renovated. I tried to get inside in March 2000 but I was refused entry by the building contractor. They were driving around the third floor with small shovels and breaking away floors and walls. He was afraid we would be hit by falling debris. Soon this will be a normal, uninteresting building. And I will lose one of my favourite playgrounds.

So here is a last look at the former Nestle-factory. And it shows our last climbing adventure in this building.

We did our best to have fun in this deserted building. Below Walter is showing the "stand on the ceiling" climbing-position. We also rappelled from the roof.

Looking West - An old harbour that is not used anymore. The water level is very variable. In summer we were able to get inside by walking under the pier. In the winter everything was submerged.
The Erasmus University (EUR), the old water tower and the Novotel hotel.
Building "De Maas" (Rijkswaterstaat), Robeco, Fortis Bank, Nedlloyd, De Hef (lift-bridge) - The tower of the city hall is almost invisible in this picture. - The tower of the Laurenskerk (church) is dwarfed by the modern buildings.
Several times I've taken people with me, to introduce them to "Urban Adventure" - guests, journalists, TV-crews. And while they were filming or taking pictures I was watching their steps. I was always afraid that they would make one wrong move and disappear down one of the holes in the floor. They came in all shapes and sizes - and depths.

More Piekstraat holes on this page : Discovery of the Piekstraat

Usually the front door was open, but there was always a back entrance under the pier. In summer the water level was low enough to walk over the concrete beams and then climb up some thick plastic pipes. In winter the water level was too high to use this entrance.
Sunday 19 December 1999 we re-visited the "Piekstraat" with a journalist of a local paper. It was snowing hard (wet snow) so we couldn't do anything outside. We climbed up a steel beam to the roof of this large factory hall. Then we climbed along a horizontal I-beam and abseiled. I took several pictures. Water was dripping through holes in the roof and it was difficult to find a dry spot to lay your gear down. Lots of wet pigeon shit everywhere. Afterwards we went for a cappuccino and we finished the interview. And I had to pay for the drinks!

The journalist was also a security guard and he promised to find a security-manual for me. - But he never kept his promise, and when I looked up his address later I saw that he had moved (or had removed his nameplate from his door). Later I saw his article in the Rotterdam homeless newspaper. He had made a fictional story out of it, and he hadn't used our cool pictures, but made a fake photograph himself. - The moral of the story: be very careful with the media.

But still we left several parts unexplored:

  • the cellars under the building were extensive, but full of water and loose junk - I didn't have the necessary rubber boots at the time
  • there were small tunnels under the concrete courtyard behind the building - Walter climbed in through a manhole but found that they were also full of water - and he only had sandals and short trousers at that time - and there were rusty spikes sticking out of the tunnel walls
  • the courtyard was full of wild flowers and bushes - I never took the time to make an inventory of species
  • we planned to infiltrate one of the elevator shafts - it would have been possible by hauling ourselves to the 2nd floor (using tree-climbing techniques) and prying the entrance door open
  • we never visited the far part of the roof and never tried the doors leading to the elevator motors - and there were very nice ladders available
  • I didn't photograph the funny spaceman character someone had sprayed on the wall (see opposite).
The important lesson is to exhaust all adventuring possibilities as soon as possible - you never know how long they will last!

The next time you visit the Piekstraat - opposite Hunter Douglas - this will be the "Ondernemershuis Zuiderpoort" - a location for new starting businesses, with low rent and with monitoring and support centre for the new entrepreneurs. This way the city-council hopes to improve the employment-rate of the local population in Feijenoord.