Architecture & Design

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Architecture aficionados will have a great time in Rotterdam. Because of the abundance of unique buildings, such as De Markthal, Rotterdam Central Station, the Timmerhuis, De Kunsthal, De Rotterdam and the Van Nelle Fabriek. But also because of the diversity: in Rotterdam, you will find a jumble of architectural styles. You only need a small block to see them all. The mishmash of styles is a result of the German bombardment that destroyed the centre of Rotterdam. After the bombardment, the people of Rotterdam only wanted one thing: to innovate.


There was plenty of experimentation. The Cube Houses by Piet Blom, the Justus van Effenblok and the Bergpolderflat (the first gallery flats) are good examples of this. Rotterdam is still influenced by this urge to innovate. Go and have a look at the Rotterdam Central District. Here, the ZUS architectural office saved the Schieblock from demolition in order to transform it into a vibrant collective building for creatives. There is a DakAkker on the roof where you can have lunch among the flowers, beanstalks and beehives. Via the Luchtsingel you can walk to the Hofbogen Air Park (Luchtpark Hofbogen), a park in the making on the roof of a former train station.

More City Tours in Rotterdam


If you are interested in transformation then visit Katendrecht. This peninsula has transformed in recent years from a problem neighbourhood into one of the most sought-after neighbourhoods in the city. A development that also awaits Merwe-Vierhavens (M4H). This old harbour site will be developed into a new living and working area but is currently the habitat for start-ups and artists such as Joep van Lieshout (Atelier Van Lieshout) and Daan Roosegaarde. For Rotterdam’s most talked about architecture project of the moment, you have to go to the Museumpark. Here, the Depot building of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, designed by the Rotterdam architectural firm MVRDV, is under construction. Talk about the urge for innovation!

Discover the Depot

Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen is the first art storage facility in the world that offers access to a museum’s complete collection. The Depot has a different dynamic to that of the museum: there are no exhibitions, but you can browse amongst 151,000 artworks, alone or with a guide, and get behind-the-scenes glimpses of - among other things - conservation and restoration.

Festivals and events

If you are interested in architecture, June is a good month to visit Rotterdam during Rotterdam Architecture Month. One of the highlights is Rotterdam Roof Days, your chance to visit countless rooftops in Rotterdam. If you are visiting at a different time of the year, you can sign up for a Rotterdam Rooftop Tour to get up onto the rooftops.

Design in Rotterdam

The tangible urge to move forward makes the city attractive to architects but also young designers and artists. They feel at home in the city which is never finished and always evolving. Their talent is acknowledged, nurtured and supported in Rotterdam. It’s an approach that results in a flourishing creative sector from which innovative concepts emerge that are as current and relevant as they are practical.

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