When Rotterdam was bombed during the Second World War, not much of its city centre was left. Proving the resilient mentality of the locals, the city was built up again from its ashes. This time, they would reach for the sky! Rotterdam is home to the highest buildings in the Netherlands, but also to unusual and unique building structures. Step into Europe’s architectural capital and discover its most characteristics landmarks that mark the skyline.
Welcome to the only Dutch city with a prominent, recognisable skyline. Although the futuristic cityscape erupted after the city bombardment of May 1940, Rotterdam was no stranger to distinctive buildings before that time. When Dutch architect Willem Molenbroek designed the ‘Witte Huis’ (White House), both locals and constructors were initially skeptic about the plan’s realisation. The city’s committee and the architect pushed through and the first high-rise building of Europe was built. Enduring over 130 years, including the nazi bombs, the Witte Huis proves an important landmark for Rotterdam.
In recent years, Rotterdam remained investing in large-scaled building projects. With the Maastoren (165 meter) already being the highest tower in the Netherlands, Rotterdam will surpass itself with the build of Zalmhaventoren. With a staggering 215 meter, its projected completion in 2022 will list it as the highest tower of the Benelux.
So what makes this towering town stand out from the other European cloud ticklers? The answer is to be a found a little lower to the ground. Here are the most oddly shaped structures that grace the skyline of Rotterdam:
Serving as a publicly accessible art storage facility, this bowl-shaped building’s exterior is entirely made out of mirrors. The Depot is accessible with an online ticket and is home to over 150.000 collected art pieces, stored in different climate chambers.
Before the old railway station was knocked down, the project leaders decided to reorder some of its top sign letters ROTTERDAM CENTRAAL STATION to spell ’TRANEN LATEN’ (shedding tears). Nostalgia aside, the new Central Station looks like a landing base for space crafts and shouldn’t be missed on your travels to the city!
Nicknamed ‘The Swan’ due to its graceful structure, the connection between North and South didn’t come without its challenges. The initial construction was highly susceptible to the strong winds of the Nieuwe Maas river, causing it to swing sideways. After a few enhancements, the cable-stayed bascule bridge remains the most remarkable water crossing you’ll find throughout the country.
Designed by structuralist architect Piet Blom, these tilted cubes were built to optimally distribute the rooms inside. Although the sober-minded locals wouldn’t even consider inhabiting such an irrational home, it grants an imposing sight to visitors from around the world. For a few bucks, you can visit one of the cubes to experience its oddly shaped interior.
Perhaps the most prominent landmark and starting point of the Free Walking Tour Rotterdam, this horseshoe-shaped complex is widely known for its upmarket delicatessen and gourmet eatery stands. At 34 meters height and 42 meters width, it is the largest glass-window steel cable structure in Europe. Come inside and enjoy the flavours of the world, while gorging at the 11.000 square meter artwork that comprises the ceiling.
Visit the city of architectural oddities and book a Free Walking Tour Rotterdam. See you soon in Rotterdam!
Article by: Free Walking Tour Rotterdam Team