Rotterdam is a major city in the Netherlands that is located in the province of South Holland. The city was founded in the 13th century and has since become one of the largest ports in the world.
Its strategic location on the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta has made it an important commercial and industrial hub, and it is known for its modern architecture and vibrant cultural scene.
As a major port city, the second-largest city in the Netherlands has long been a center of trade and industry. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the city grew rapidly as it became a hub for the import and export of goods from around the world.
The construction of the Maasvlakte, a large man-made port expansion, in the 1960s and 1970s further solidified Rotterdam’s position as a major shipping hub.
In recent years, the city has also become known for its innovative architecture and thriving cultural scene, with numerous museums, galleries, and performance venues.
So what are some of the most famous buildings in Rotterdam? Let’s check them out!
1. Market Hall
The Market Hall or “Markthal” in Rotterdam is a large indoor market and residential building, located in the city center. The building was designed by the Dutch architecture firm MVRDV and completed in 2014.
The modern building is known for its distinctive curved roof and its “double helix” design, which features a spiral ramp that leads to the residential units above the market.
The market itself features over 100 stalls, where vendors sell fresh food, meats, cheeses, and other products. The walls are decorated with a huge artwork titled “Hoorn des Overvloeds” or “Horn of Plenty.” It’s a must-visit building in Rotterdam, that’s for sure.
2. Van Nelle Factory
The Van Nelle Factory is a former industrial complex located in the Schie in Rotterdam. It was designed by the Dutch architect Leendert van der Vlugt and completed in 1931.
The factory was built for the Van Nelle tobacco and coffee company, and it was known for its revolutionary International Style architecture and innovative design. The building features large windows, open floor plans, and extensive use of glass, steel, and concrete.
The Van Nelle Factory was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014, recognizing its cultural and architectural significance. Today, the complex is used for a variety of purposes, including offices, workshops, and events.
The Euromast is an incredible observation tower in Rotterdam. It was designed by the Dutch architect Hugh Maaskant and completed in 1960. The tower stands at a height of 185 meters (607 feet), making it one of the tallest structures in the city.
Because it features an observation deck, it’s a popular tourist attraction. The tower also features a restaurant and an attraction called the “Sky Jump” where visitors can rappel down the side of the tower.
The Euromast is located in the Parkhaven district of Rotterdam, near the Maas River, and as you surely expected, it provides stunning views of the city.
4. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is a museum of modern and contemporary art and design located in the heart of Rotterdam. The museum was founded in 1849 and is named after its founder, Frans Jacob Otto Boijmans (1767-1848).
Its principal sponsor was the industrialist Daniël George van Beuningen (1877-1955), the second man after whom the museum was named. It houses a collection of over 145,000 works of art, including famous paintings, sculptures, and installations.
Some of the most famous artists in history are featured here such as Vincent van Gogh, Salvador Dali, and Banksy. The museum is temporarily closed by the Depot Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen was opened in 2021.
5. World Port Center
The World Port Center is a distinctive skyscraper in Rotterdam. It is located on the Wilhelminakade and is one of the most fascinating landmarks in the city.
The building was designed by the renowned British architect Sir Norman Foster and was completed between 1998 and 2001.
It stands 138 meters (453 feet) tall and is considered a key example of modern architecture. This means it pretty much embodies the architectural landscape of the city.
6. Witte Huis
The Witte Huis (White House) is another famous landmark building in Rotterdam. It is located at Hofplein square in the center of the city and is considered one of the first high-rise buildings in Europe.
The building was designed by Willem Molenbroek and was completed in 1898. It stands 43 meters (141 feet) tall and has 10 floors.
It was originally used as an office building, but it now houses a museum and a restaurant. It is a protected monument and is known for its Art Nouveau-style architecture.
The Erasmusbrug (Erasmus Bridge) is a cable-stayed bridge that spans the Nieuwe Maas river and connects the northern and southern parts of the city.
The bridge was designed by the architect Ben van Berkel and was completed in 1996. It is also known as the “Swan” because of its distinctive white shape.
The bridge is 802 meters (2,631 feet) long and reaches a maximum height of 139 meters (456 feet). Because of this, it’s a popular and one of the most-photographed landmarks in Rotterdam.
The Maastoren is an amazing skyscraper in Rotterdam. It is the second-tallest building in the Netherlands and one of the tallest in the European Union as well. It stands 165 meters (541 feet) tall and only the Zalmhaven in Rotterdam at 215 meters (705 feet) is taller in the country.
The building was designed by the architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and completed in 2009. It is located in the Wilhelminapier district of Rotterdam, near the Maas River and the Erasmus Bridge.
The Maastoren is primarily used for office space, and it is the headquarters of the Dutch bank ABN AMRO. It’s one of the most distinctive landmarks in the Rotterdam skyline, especially at night.
9. St. Lawrence Church
St. Lawrence Church (Sint-Laurenskerk) is a Protestant church in and is located in the city center on Laurensplein square. The church was designed by the architect Hendrick de Keyser and was completed between 1449 and 1525.
It is considered a key example of Dutch Renaissance architecture. The church was heavily damaged during the bombing of Rotterdam in 1940, but it was restored in the 1950s.
It now serves as a cultural center and regularly hosts concerts and other events. This famous church is a protected monument and is a popular tourist attraction in Rotterdam.
10. Rotterdam City Hall
Rotterdam City Hall (Stadhuis) is the main city hall building in the city and the seat of the municipal government of Rotterdam.
It is located in the city center, on Coolsingel street, and was completed in 1917. It is a notable example of Renaissance Revival architecture and is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in Rotterdam.
The City Hall is decorated with many sculptures and reliefs, including a large relief by the artist Mari Andriessen depicting the history of Rotterdam. It is a protected monument and is open to the public for tours.