Fenix museum in Rotterdam receives international Ranald MacDonald Award
2019 Ranald MacDonald Award goes to De Fenix
The Fenix museum, to be located in the former Fenix depot at Rijnhaven in the Rotterdam district of Katendrecht, is to receive the fourth Ranald MacDonald Award. The museum, an initiative of the Rotterdam-based Droom en Daad Foundation, has been designed by MAD Architects, a young Chinese architectural firm. In the museum the concept of migration will be taking shape in a unique fashion, both at a national and international level.
During the 19th and 20th centuries millions of Europeans left for The United States of America from Wilhelminakade, across Rijnhaven in Rotterdam. By contrast, between the two World Wars hundreds of Chinese were stranded at Katendrecht. Hired as crew members for Dutch ships, they had nowhere to go, least of all to the United States, where the so-called ‘Chinese Exclusion Act’ restrained Chinese immigration. So it happened that it was at Katendrecht that the first Chinatown on mainland Europe arose. The Fenix depot was literally situated at the heart of those two migration waves.
The new Fenix museum is an imposing international effort of great substance. The Chinese architectural firm referred to earlier is responsible for the design, particularly of the contemporary extensions; restoration and renovation of the depot is conducted by companies from the Netherlands, including Rotterdam, and from Belgium; as for the museum’s narrative, there is close cooperation with organisations from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, the United States, and Canada.
The fact that the award has been granted to the Droom en Daad Foundation expressly implies the inclusion of the entire collaborative association. The Fenix museum is the first to be built by the foundation. They deserve every praise for selecting Mad Architects, making it the first Chinese architectural firm to be commissioned to design a museum in Europe. The Fenix project as conceived by the Droom en Daad Foundation is this year’s dream candidate for the relatively young Ranald MacDonald Award.
The Ranald MacDonald Award
This international award is annually granted by the board of Friends of MacDonald • The Dutch Connection (FOM NL), a Dutch non-profit foundation. FOM NL is a sister organisation of the Friends of MacDonald (FOM USA) en West of the Sun (FOM Japan). The aim of the foundation is to promote further general insight into the relations between Asia, Europe and North America, in particular by rewarding and stimulating young people’s work. Its main activity is granting the Ranald MacDonald Award to a debut work which is ‘true, good and beautiful’, and which opens up a new window on the world, with a focus on Asian, European and North American relations. The award winner receives an amount of 5,000 Euros and a work of art especially crafted for the prize, a small globe in a box, all cut from hardwood from Asia, Europe and North America.
The presentation traditionally takes place on 11 October, with the ‘Fenix’ building in Rotterdam serving as the venue for the occasion. More detailed information will soon follow.
Previous award winners
2016 – In the Light of What We Know (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2014), debut novel by Zia Haider Rahman, writer
Additional Oeuvre Award for Frederik L. Schodt, writer and translator in San Francisco, biographer of Ranald MacDonald
2017 – With Our Own Hands (LM Publishers, 2015), non-fiction debut by
Frederik van Oudenhoven, biologist, and Jamila Haider, ethnographer
Additional Oeuvre Award for Hajime Narukawa, architect and designer of the revolutionary AuthaGraph world map
2018 – The Dawn of Eurasia (Penguin, 2018), non-fiction debut by Bruno Maçães, political scientist
Note to the editors:
Please contact the foundation’s secretary for more information (see below). Press photos can be downloaded using this link: