The Architecture of Rotterdam

Words & Photography by Cat Ekkelboom-White
Although perhaps an unusual weekend break destination, we visited Rotterdam for 3 days at the end of March to celebrate the end of my husband, Menno’s Masters in Architecture Degree. Since his final project had been on a district in Rotterdam, I found it fitting that we should visit the city to see what it had to offer. 
 
For anyone interested in modern architecture, Rotterdam is somewhere you really should visit. During World War Two, the city of Rotterdam was almost completely destroyed by bombing, and what has resulted is a unique and varied skyline, with modern skyscrapers towering above some of the few pre-war buildings that survived the devastation, in a real juxtaposition of the old and the new. The portfolio of architecture here includes some of the most influential contemporary architects, including Rem Koolhaas (O.M.A.) and MVRDV.
 
And as with many cities in the Netherlands, Rotterdam also boasts a vibrant arts and culture scene, with numerous museums and galleries to visit. We visited the Netherlands Photography Museum and the Kunsthaal, where we were treated to exhibitions from photographers and artists across many different genres. 
 
As a treat for my newly qualified architect husband, I booked us in to the nhow Hotel situated within in the brand new De Rotterdam building, designed by O.M.A. Situated on the banks of the river Maas, just past the famous Erasmus Bridge, the unusual rectangular blocks of the De Rotterdam building create a unique silhouette on the horizon. The rooms were modern and comfortable, with a focus on sleek but functional design, and great views across the city.

Must visit locations:

  1. The Martkhaal
    This incredible arched building houses private apartments in its walls (and ceiling!) and provides a large atrium for a vibrant indoor market, with stalls selling everything from fresh flowers to exotic spices. And if the selection of produce on offer wasn’t enough to wow you, one glance upwards and you’ll see the digital mural by artist Arno Coenen, which has been described at the “Sistine Chapel of Rotterdam”.
  2. The Cube Houses
    Just across from the Markthaal, you’ll find the the oddly shaped Kubuswoningen (Cube Houses) of Blom. These colourful blocks look like Lego, perched on top of posts like strange trees. Whilst most of the houses are privately owned residential apartments, one is open as a museum for the public, where you can look inside and experience what life might be like living in one of these houses.
  3. The Maas and Erasmus Bridge
    Just as Manhattan has the Brooklyn Bridge, the Erasmus Bridge is iconic of the Rotterdam skyline. Like a giant white harp, it stretches across the banks of the Maas linking the city, with striking high rise buildings on both sides.
  4. Delfshaven
    A pocket of history, Delfshaven gives you a taste of history, with it’s cobbled streets, canals and windmill. A complete contrast to the modern Rotterdam skyline.


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Camera | Canon 1V
Film | Kodak Ektar
Development & Scanning | Canadian Film Lab
 

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