Siebe Thissen leaves CBK Rotterdam/BKOR

It is with regret to announce that our program leader Visual Arts & Public Space (BKOR) Siebe Thissen has decided that he will take a different path from 1 January 2022. In the 20 years that he has been working as head of Visual Arts & Public Space, Thissen has distinguished himself as an idiosyncratic thinker and resolute doer. 

In a city that is so subject to change and has certainly undergone a metamorphosis in appearance and mentality in recent decades, reflection and action are important properties. Thissen has propagated both in a striking manner. The traces he leaves behind are too many to list them all, but a few should be proudly spoken. Thissen and his team mapped out and valued the extensive and special collection of art in the Rotterdam public space. He also wrote two important standard works (Sculptures. Urban embellishment in Rotterdam since 1940 from 2016 and Beautiful from Ver. Murals in Rotterdam from 2007) as well as an informative website made the collection accessible to a large audience. On the basis of these guidelines, the city of Rotterdam can make well-considered choices about how it now wishes to further expand its national and international quality in public space.

We will also not forget that with his policy Siebe Thissen gave space to the citizens' initiative in Rotterdam early on, thereby setting an important example for other cities in the Netherlands. In this context I would also like to mention the Cultural Outreach Action Programme, which was carried out by CBK Rotterdam between 2001 and 2009 under Thissen's leadership. What we now feverishly pursue in Rotterdam's cultural policy – ​​such as interconnectivity, inclusiveness and target group policy – ​​was already being deployed throughout the city under other denominators at the time. Finally, as a tireless advocate for cultural heritage, Siebe Thissen has drawn attention to the unique value of that typical Rotterdam reconstruction art and opened our eyes to it through collaborations with contemporary artists.

Siebe Thissen: “For over twenty years I was responsible for our fantastic collection of sculptures in the city. I have considered that task a great honor and it is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye. I have enjoyed working here, but there comes a time when you have to say: it has been beautiful. That moment has now arrived. I think my departure offers opportunities for a reorientation in the field of art and public space. I would like to thank everyone and especially my close colleagues for the trust I have received over the years.”

The management, colleagues and Supervisory Board of CBK Rotterdam would like to thank Siebe Thissen for the enormous work he has done for Rotterdam, art and public space in our city. But we don't think it's a goodbye to Rotterdam and art. Thissen still has a lot to offer artists and those who work in public space – and that will be much needed in this time that demands vision and decisiveness.

Publication date: 25 / 11 / 2021