Material with a story

24 March 2023
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Buurman Rotterdam is all about local reuse. A circular DIY shop where you get used materials and Rotterdam city wood. Wood that is also used in the open wood workshop for furniture-making courses.

Besides being a circular DIY and furniture workshop, Buurman, located on the Keilewerf, is also a waste management company. 'At various locations around the city, we collect usable residual materials from museums, festivals, construction companies and exhibitions, among others,' explains co-founder Laura Rosen Jacobson. 'We started Buurman seven years ago because we saw that far too many good building materials were disappearing into containers and being disposed of as waste. While these materials could still be reused to a superlative extent.’

Robust bite boards made of Rotterdam city wood

Buurman also rescues felled urban tree trunks from the chipper. 'Urban trees can be cut down for various reasons,' Laura Rosen Jacobson explains. 'Because of an illness, for example, a renovation or old age. Such a shame if that wood ends up in the chipper, because what could be better than local wood? Funnily enough, many Dutch wood species are undervalued, such as ash and plane tree, while they can be processed very well into beautiful products.' At Buurman, they turn felled trees into Rotterdam city wood and robust bite planks. We know exactly where each tree has stood and why it was felled,' says Buurman.’


Today's waste management no longer fits the sustainable goals of tomorrow's world, Buurman believes. A world in which themes such as resource scarcity, circular economy and reduction of CO2 emissions play an important role. 'Building materials left over after a construction project or event often disappear into the incinerator,' Laura Rosen Jacobson knows. 'But you can often still make all kinds of things with them. In our construction market, we collect all kinds of leftover material. This can be scrap wood, but also ironware, panel doors or stained-glass windows. We then sell this "material with a story" at a competitive price to DIY enthusiasts and professionals. So they can use it again for their own projects. After all, it is our mission to involve Rotterdammers in reusing residual materials. That way, together we contribute to the circular economy.’

Furniture making

Getting Rotterdammers involved in reusing wood also happens in the open workshop, where Buurman offers furniture-making courses at three levels. We work with materials from our circular construction market. This way, we teach people that they don't have to go to Ikea right away if they need a new piece of furniture. Just learn to make it yourself. You’ll have much more fun, too!’

Source: Rotterdam. Make It Happen.