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The Most Impressive Buildings in Rotterdam

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Picture of Tom Coggins
Updated: 1 June 2017
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Unlike most cities in the Netherlands, Rotterdam’s central urban layout gravitates around sky-scrapers, high-rises and other towering examples of modern architecture. Although many of these buildings are owned by private businesses, several of their number are currently open to the public.

The Euromast

Rotterdam’s emblematic Euromast was completed in 1960 and was recognised as the tallest building in the city until 1968. Two years later, this towering, modernist masterpiece was given an additional spire which increased its height by 85 meters. Although the Euromast is now considerably smaller than many other buildings in Rotterdam, it has remained an iconic part of the city’s skyline.

Erasmus Bridge

Due to its unique, asymmetrical design and bowed, pale archway Erasmus Bridge is commonly known as the Swan. As the bridge’s deck connects the northern and southern banks of the Nieuwe Maas river, its mammoth steel cables are visible from most parts of central Rotterdam.

The cube houses

The unusual, cube shaped buildings nestled behind Rotterdam’s Oude Haven waterfront are actually habitable and were designed to optimise living space via their slanted facades. The architect behind these houses based the houses’ design around a forest, with each cube representing a singular tree within a larger collective. Although most of these houses are currently occupied, one of their number contains a small museum.

Markthal

In 2014 Queen Máxima unveiled Rotterdam’s newest market hall. This colossal, horseshoe shaped building was designed by the leading Dutch architectural firm MVRDV and adorned with one of the largest artworks in the world, Hoorn des Overvloeds (Horn of Plenty), which covers Markthal’s entire inner ceiling. Besides market stalls and kiosks, the Markthal also contains hundreds of offices and apartments.

Maastoren

Rotterdam’s Maastoren is currently the tallest building in the Netherlands and reaches 165 meters at its highest peak. This gigantic skyscraper has been awarded many architectural prizes since its completion in 2006 and is regularly cited as one of the most impressive modern buildings in the Benelux region.

New Luxor Theater

In 1996, Rotterdam’s Luxor Theater decided to build a new cinema in the city and held an architectural competition in order finalise its design. The winning submission was built soon after and successfully homages architecture associated with cinemas whilst playing close attention to contemporary developments within structural design.

Hotel New York

Rotterdam’s famed Hotel New York was among the first businesses to set up shop on the city’s Kop van Zuid neighbourhood and is now surrounded by several towering skyscrapers. Before becoming a hotel, the building was owned by an oceanic ferry company that transported Dutch immigrants across the Atlantic. Today, the hotel is recognised as an national monument, due to its beautiful, Art-Nouveau inspired architecture.

Centraal Station

In order to deal with the increasing amount of rail traffic travelling through Rotterdam, the city’s municipality started building a new central station in 2004 and finally unveiled their work in 2014. After its official launch, this state-of-the-art terminal immediately became an iconic part of Rotterdam’s cityscape.

Witte Huis

Although most of Rotterdam’s historic city centre was destroyed by airstrikes during World War II, some older buildings actually survived this devastating attack. The Witte Huis is likely the most famous pre-war building in central Rotterdam and was built in 1898 in accordance with Art-Nouveau techniques.

Netherlands Architecture Institute

As its name suggests, Netherlands Architecture Institute houses several projects that are associated with Dutch structural design, including a museum, bookshop and lecture halls. The organisation’s current headquarters were constructed in 1998 and were designed to blend into Rotterdam’s modern skyline whilst paying tribute to older Dutch architecture.

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