The architecture in Rotterdam is certainly something that makes our city so unique. The 1940 bombing destroyed large parts of the center. Even though this was heartbreakingly terrible, Rotterdammers immediately went to work and the city was rebuilt. During this reconstruction, great architects with different styles helped out. Now Rotterdam has several modern buildings that are worth a visit. With this architecture route in Rotterdam you can explore many of the best masterpieces in the city.
The most fun and convenient way to explore this route is by bicycle. Not a fan of cycling? Of course it is also possible to travel by public transport. All parts of the city are very well connected. You can also walk, but then you have to put on your most comfortable sneakers, as some places are quite far apart.
Blaak is a good place to start for real architecture enthusiasts, because here you will immediately find a lot of iconic Rotterdam buildings. At Blaak you will find the Markthal, Rotterdam Library, the Cube Houses and the Blaak Tower, also known as ‘Het Potlood’, meaning ‘The Pencil’.
Are you curious about what it is like to live in a Cube house? Then visit the Kijkkubus for € 3.
In addition, Blaak station itself is also a special piece of architecture and you also have the famous Laurenskerk nearby.
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Rotterdam is definitely the iconic Markthal. This unique architectural structure serves as both an office building, housing and a marketplace.
With over 40 food vendors that sell all sorts of international food and drinks, it’s definitely one of the highlights for most tourists.
TIP: the Markthal is ideal to get something to eat. Bring your appetite and have a delicious breakfast at the start of your architecture journey!
2. The Erasmusbrug
It is about 5 minutes by bike from Blaak to the Erasmus Bridge. If you did not come by bicycle, you can also travel by public transport. Leuvehaven station is closest to the Erasmus Bridge and you can get here by tram or metro.
Once at the Erasmus Bridge you will find various beautiful buildings, such as De Rotterdam. If you have enough time, you can also cycle or walk across the bridge and explore the Kop van Zuid. Here are many skyscrapers with apartments and office spaces, such as the Montevideo and New Orleans. Be sure to take a look at the popular Hotel New York as well.
The Rotterdam is located on the Wilhelminapier in our city, right next to the Erasmus bridge. In no time after it was built it became one of the most iconic buildings of our city.
In De Rotterdam you can find homes, offices, restaurants, a hotel and a parking garage. Because the building has so many functions, it can also be seen as a vertical city.
A bike ride of 10 minutes via the Westzeedijk brings you to the Euromast. If you travel by public transport, you can take tram line 8 towards Spangen from Leuvehaven and get off at tram stop Euromast/Erasmus MC. After this it is only a seven minute walk to the Euromast.
Not only is the Euromast an indispensable part of the iconic Rotterdam skyline, it is also the ideal place to admire Rotterdam from above. To go all the way to the top, you can go into the Euroscope. Here you will learn more about Rotterdam through a voice-over.
It is also possible to have a bite to eat or drink in the restaurant. Are you really in for a unique experience? Then you should definitely spend a night in the Euromast.
After admiring the Skyline and the iconic Erasmus Bridge, we cycle on to the Museum Park. One of the special buildings that you can find here is the new Depot of Boijmans van Beuningen.
Furthermore, you can of course find various Rotterdam museums here, which are also located in special pieces of architecture. In addition to Boijmans van Beuningen, the Arminius Church, The Sonneveld House, the New Institute Museum and the Natural History Museum Rotterdam are located here.
Since Museum Park also functions as an open-air museum, a number of special works of art can also be found outside, such as the Konijnen (2003) by Tom Claassen at the Natural History Museum. So even though the museums are currently closed, you can still admire art.
From Museumpark it is only a four minute bike ride to the Schouwburgplein. At Schouwburgplein you can find plenty of entertainment, such as cinema Pathé, Schouwburg and De Doelen, and these are all located in unique buildings. But Schouwburgplein is in itself already a unique part of our city.
For example, on Schouwburgplein you will find the iconic red “cranes” that visitors can operate. The square itself is actually an underground parking lot. Schouwburgplein looks different every day, because there are adapted furniture that is being moved. Furthermore, there are often different festivals and various installations.
6. Rotterdam Central Station
From Schouwburg you can reach the central station of Rotterdam within two minutes. It is one of the most important transport hubs in the Netherlands with 110,000 passengers per day (in “normal” times). Not only trains, but also trams, buses and the metro come here.
In addition, you will find Delftse Poort and the Groot Handelsgebouw here, two buildings that you as an architecture lover do not want to miss.
Rotterdam Central Station is not only a central station. The building itself is certainly iconic. Besides being a place where people come to travel, it is also a beautiful modern building that is worth admiring. The entrance to the station is made of stainless steel and part of the hall is made of glass and wood. The style of the station fits perfectly in the urban style of Rotterdam.
Rotterdammers have nicknamed Rotterdam Central Station “Kapsalon”, named after one of the local fast food dishes served in an aluminum box.
After the central station, I recommend visiting the photogenic Luchtsingel. It’s about a four minute bike ride.
The Luchtsingel is a wooden pedestrian bridge of 390 meters and connects Rotterdam Noord with the center of Rotterdam. This initiative has revived an area that was no longer in use. It is nice to walk around the Luchtsingel and take pictures. There are also several colourful walls and other works of street art in this area, such as at the Hofbogen.
That was it!
A fun route to fill your day full of architecture. Of course you can also start halfway through the route, follow it the other way around or cut it up into parts. Looking for more fun activities and sights in Rotterdam? Check out our article with fun things to do in Rotterdam.