A 30-minute Walk in Rotterdam City Center Will Make You Fall In Love
“Everyone says Rotterdam is the one city that has turned the disasters of war and occupation into a triumph. For once, everyone is right.”
– Lewis Mumford, 1957 –
Rotterdam, the second-largest city of the Netherlands, has been the work of daring architects for only over half the century. After the bombing in 1940 during World War II, this city was flattened out, and it became a giant canvas for architects to sketch their original artworks. This so-called Destroyed City is the place to go if you have a great passion for astounding architecture and remarkable artwork.
It always astounds me that within only 2km, I can find so much to admire.
Markthal — eating and shopping inside of an artwork
Markthal, or the Market Hall in English, is an indoor market located right behind Rotterdam Blaak station and about 2km from Rotterdam Central Station. You must visit Markthal right away because you will be shopping and eating inside a magnificent combination of amazing architecture and fascinating artwork.
From the outside, you can see that this building, inspired by the shape of a horseshoe, has a massive glass facade and multiple glass windows.
When you go inside of Markthal, the first thing to do is to look up at the ceiling and understand why it earned the title of “the biggest artwork in the world” or “the Sistine Chapel of Rotterdam”, according to Huffington Post. An 11,000m2 artwork by Arno Coenen is imprinted on the ceiling, showing colorful enlarged fruits, insects and flowers.
Cube Houses — the solution to modern urbanization
About 300m to the right of Markthal lies the Cube Houses. They are one of the most iconic architectural sites in Rotterdam. They are a set of innovative cubical houses, which arguably is a perfect example of the urban living concept.
There are 38 small cubes and two super cubes attached to each other which make up to 40 residences. These houses are titled 45° on their sides and the walls and windows are titled 54,7° to optimize the living space.
If you would like to have a peek into the interior, there is a Cube House Show Room open to the public, which only costs a €3 admission fee. Or if you want to experience living in this exceptional house, the super-cube houses are the location of Stayokay, a famous hostel that allows you to explore this astonishing work of art at an affordable price.
Coolsingel — The Cool District
Yes, you read that right.
Rotterdam is so cool that it actually has a district named Cool.
The Cool District is a neighborhood right outside of Markthal. It is the location of many beautiful buildings, including the City Hall which miraculously survived the 1940 bombing; the De Bijenkorf, a beehive-inspired department store where you can find almost every high-end brand available in the world; and the Lijnbaan, a shopping street renovated from the first pedestrian street built on purpose in Europe, according to The Guardian.
Take a stroll along this district and you will find yourself surrounded by gorgeous masterpieces representing the characteristics of Rotterdam quite precisely.
Rotterdam is indeed a city that rose from the ashes of war. It is a unique, modern and beautiful city that many artists and architects have successfully painted and built. Note down these destinations the next time you are in the city. You will not regret visiting them.
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