Located in the Netherlands, the beautiful port city of Rotterdam is a fascinating metropolis that showcases unique skyscrapers, a very impressive port, and plenty of trendy marketplaces and restaurants. Keep an eye out for the quirky architectural buildings, as they’re unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.
We’ve recommended five different buildings, both old and new, that display one-of-a-kind designs.
If you decide to travel to Rotterdam via rail, you’ll visit Centraal Station as soon as you step off the train onto the platform. Over 110,000 visitors and travellers pass through here every day, rushing to catch the next tram, train or bus. You may be thinking, “Why is a train station on a list of architectural buildings?” But this train station isn’t like any other; it was built in 2014 and underwent further reconstruction over the past few years, to get it to how it can be seen today.
When stood outside, you will notice that the roof is at an angle and covered in solar panels, which contribute to the electricity inside. However, due to the vast amounts of glass windows around the complex, the interior is brightly lit. This angled roof points towards the city centre, encouraging tourists to explore the stunning city.
Not all of the architectural features are new, though, as you can still find some original pieces – one being the clock that was on the former 1957 construction. It’s now in prime place at the front of the building, along with the letters from the original sign spelling out “Centraal Station” that were also used the first time around.
Kijk-Kubus, also known as the Cube Houses, were designed by the architect Piet Blom for the Blaakse Bos development. Although he designed all 38 houses, only one is used as a museum, the rest are lived in. The house museum was constructed and fully furnished for tourists to experience what it’s like to live in a cube house. It holds many screens and photo panels showing and explaining the process of construction, as well as providing information about the development project.
Blom’s idea was to create a village of houses inside the city. He designed the houses to be at a 45-degree slant, causing three sides of the house to face the ground. How would you feel if you looked out your bedroom window and saw a concrete promenade? These wonky houses are three floors tall and feature steep stairs, due to their compact design.
When inside, you’ll notice the interior includes custom-designed furniture that fits in perfectly with the weird layout. Tours are held every day and allow you to walk around the complex and museum. You’ll soon begin to realise that it is possible to live in a house like this. Whether you’d want to or not, is a different question.
Erasmusbrug is an 800-metre long bridge over the River Nieuwe Maas that connects the north end of Rotterdam to the south. The main feature of this magnificent piece of artwork is its 139-metre-tall, steel pylon that requires 40 cables to secure it to the bridge. It was this pylon that gave the bridge its famous nickname, The Swan, as it has a similar shape and colour to the bird.
Designed by Ben van Berkel and declared open in 1996 by Queen Beatrix, it is said to be the icon of Rotterdam and is the backdrop for many events and stunning photo opportunities. However, rather than just looking at this masterpiece, you should choose to walk or cycle across it. Many bike tours will allow you to experience the amazing views from both sides of the city.
One of the biggest events Erasmusbrug is involved in is The World Ports Day, a maritime event that celebrates Rotterdam’s famous harbour. Ship tours, naval activities and excursions are just a few of the many activities that go on during this event. Make sure you stand on the bridge to watch the action, as you’ll have the best view.
De Markthal is an indoor market like no other, as it combines luxury housing and modern offices in its construction. Imagine living in an apartment or working in an office above a busy food market. The horseshoe shape holds around 100 stands selling fresh food, 15 small food shops and various trendy restaurants.
When you enter, you will be overwhelmed with the many smells from the stalls and the graffiti-style artwork on the ceiling – you won’t know where to look first. The multicoloured artwork splashed onto the roof is called Horn of Plenty and was designed by Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam. Guided tours are organised regularly to show tourists around the marketplace and teach them about the design, construction and history.
Within the complex is The Tijdtrap, an exhibition displaying archaeological finds from Rotterdam, dating back to the medieval period. These finds were discovered during the construction of the building and are on show for all visitors to see.
Laurenskerk is a different type of architectural structure as it’s a 15th-century church displaying Gothic influences, located on the banks of the River Rotte, which is said to be the birthplace of Rotterdam. Constructed between the dates of 1449 and 1525. It is the only late Gothic building in Rotterdam, so it’s definitely worth a visit.
During the Second World War, the structure was damaged, but reconstruction started shortly afterwards, keeping the same style. This beautiful building, situated next to many modern skyscrapers, stands out in the skyline of Rotterdam due to its 14th-century architectural design. Concerts, tours and lectures are all held regularly to encourage visitors to come and learn more about the heritage of this charming building.
If you’re not afraid of heights, why not climb the tower on a guided tour? It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that’ll provide you with an amazing reward at the end – a breathtaking view of Rotterdam’s skyline.
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