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Coffee with Sandra Rottenberg


Coffee with Sandra Rottenberg: debate moderator, and programmer

A beating heart, a beehive. This is how Sandra Rottenberg defines Spring House.

Radical innovation and the continuous boosting of public discussion of social inequality is in Sandra’s genes. She comes from the squatters’ movement of the 80s, has held many debates on social responsibility in de balie, and for 12 years she produced the globalisation lecture about the inequalities between north and south, as well as all conceivable topics, domestic and foreign, that have troubled but also inspired recent decades.

Fighting injustice, not throwing in the towel when change stagnates, rowing against the tide when necessary (which often turns out to be the case): these are the ideas Sandra grew up with. “Niet bang te krijgen” is the title of the radio documentary she created with her cousin Hella about their jewish grandfather and his sugar factory in the region of dresden. At the moment they are collaborating on a book about what is, for them, their completely unknown family history. With this book they wish to illuminate the world of the early 30s during the rise of nazi germany.

Sandra joined Spring House on january 1st 2016 as a passionate and conscious member. “As a small independent, despite my many contacts with big names and organisations, I felt the urge to belong to a collective in order to grow.” She doesn’t see Spring House as an a-location office where she rents a trendy and expensive flex-workspace. She sees it as a ‘beehive’, a home where people meet, collaborate and inspire each other. People are at the heart of Spring House. That is exactly what Sandra was looking for; a bee-collective that buzzes and produces together but in which everyone has their own task. Chatting with like-minded individuals over breakfast, taking a workshop together or attending each other’s product presentations. Or even better: joining forces on a professional project!

“As a professional, I know I need others to recharge myself. What makes Spring House unique is that this can happen in creative and original ways. It’s not at the conference table that ideas are born, but at a creative workshop about the meaning and impact of the color red, or a football match with colleagues from surrounding institutions. We are located in a very sparky neighbourhood after all. It’s great to meet entrepreneurial spirits who don’t slow down when subsidies are cut or institutions close their doors. As a collective we are not competitors, but a group of creative radical innovators.

Interview by Kitty den Boogert