Theosophy

The assignment for the meeting centre of the theosophical P.C. Meuleman Foundation came from C.H. van der Leeuw. In 1912, Van der Leeuw became a member of the Dutch division of the theosophical movement, set up in New York in 1875. His idea was that the improvement of human well-being would result in a harmonious society.

 

The Theosophical Tempel under construction, later Cinetol and now a public library, 1926.

A series of assignments

Initially Van der Leeuw enlisted the services of K.P.C. de Bazel, who was also a theosophist, but after his death in 1923 he looked to Brinkman and Van der Vlugt. This duo later designed his home in Rotterdam (1927-1929) and became well-known with the Van Nelle factory in Rotterdam (1931), Van der Leeuw’s coffee, tea and tobacco business.

 

Cinetol as seen from the (former) city archive building, 1980.

Modern architecture

The fan-shaped building is finished in reinforced concrete and has an ascending green copper roof. In 1928 it was extended on the right-hand side with an administration office and library building, also in the style of modern architecture: whitewashed and with steel windows.

 

Interior of Cinetol, 1997.

New functions

During the Second World War the building was fitted out as a cinema, later called Cinétol. In 1979 the cinema closed its doors. It was not until 1984 that it was renovated to turn it into a public library. The right wing, to this day, still houses the theosophical society.