*Outside the bubble of your living room.

Until 12 September 2021

Artist Florentijn Hofman is creating an immense inflatable work of art and, for the first time, it’s indoors.

Only the artist and his construction team have ever seen inside such an enormous artwork before, but now visitors can enter Stadscocon – another first for the artist. Sited between the columns of Sint Janskerk in Schiedam, you can find peace inside the work, says Hofman, and ‘experience the church as you never have before.’ Stadscocon is 26 metres long and almost 10 metres tall and wide, and is created in collaboration with the Sint Janskerk Foundation.

Rubber duck

The location of Hofman’s artwork determines its appearance, and for Stadscocon – the ‘city cocoon’ – the artist was inspired by Sint Janskerk as well as a visit to a Japanese temple. Hofman (1977) lived and worked in Schiedam for several years before gaining international fame, partly thanks to social media. In Hong Kong, his rubber duck attracted eight million visitors in one month, and many more enormous animal installations have followed. Hofman also recently entered many living rooms through Dutch television programme Wie is de Mol.

Green oasis

‘After a long lockdown, everyone needs something beautiful – a special experience outside the bubble of their own living room,’ says museum director Anne de Haij. ‘This green oasis can be visited free of charge and is our gift to the people of Schiedam and to everyone outside the city.’ Inside Stadscocon, you can begin to dream away, hidden from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The artwork stands on historic ground in the church nave, which was finished in 1425 after nearly a century of construction.


The title is a nod to a familiar theme for Hofman – inflated animals. In nature, the cocoon is a miraculous web in which caterpillars transform into butterflies. In Hofman’s artwork, you too can shelter and relax together. The work’s bold green colour refers to religion and survival, but it also allows you to set all those considerations aside. Hofman says, ‘Something else interests me: what do people see and think once they’ve been in it? What stories can come out of it?’

Meeting place

The installation stimulates us to look more closely at our surroundings, says guest curator Charlotte Martens. ‘With this intervention, Hofman creates a meeting place and a subject to talk about together.’ For example, the effect of the green when you stand inside the work or lean softly against its walls. ‘In Stadscocon you’re not rich or poor, young or old, left or right, Christian or Muslim. Above all, you’re human, and everyone’s equal. We’re curious to see how people will leave the work – will you see your surroundings with a fresh pair of eyes?’

Musical landscape

Especially for Stadscocon, Hofman has written a piece of music together with composer Jasper le Clercq that can be heard during your visit. The soundscape –including portions of silence – is performed by Schiedam city organist Arjen Leistra, who gives organ recitals both in the Netherlands and abroad. ‘One of the best organists in the Netherlands,’ says Hofman. ‘The way he plays it is very special, with a great deal of peace and feeling for the atmosphere.’

What you need to know

The church is open from 29 May to 12 September 2021, on Tuesdays to Saturdays between 11.00 and 17.00, on Sundays between 12.00 and 17.00, and closed on Mondays. Visits to Stadscocon are in line with the current coronavirus measures, and you can book a free timed entrance ticket on our Plan your visit page (only in Dutch). You can see Stadscocon from the outside within the church as well as from inside the artwork. Also in the church, beside Stadscocon, is the 11th-century tombstone of Saint Lidwina, one of the oldest tombstones in the Netherlands.

With thanks to