Rotterdam, sky scrappers, pop architecture and industrial culture

Photo Catherine Gras

Too often neglected by tourists in favour of Amsterdam of course but also other destinations such as The Hague, Utrecht … Rotterdam is worth a stop to admire its ultra-modern city centre but also a beautiful example of the industrial design of the 30s: the Van Nelle Fabriek.

The city centre of Rotterdam today is the consequence of the dramatic events of May 1940: to obtain the surrender of the Dutch army, Germany completely razed the city centre, “carpet bombing”, which left very few buildings in the centre standing. The city took the decision to rebuild from scratch, unlike other cities that tried to rebuild identically.

70 years later, what we see is the legacy of that decision with buildings dating from the 1950s to the present.

Let’s start with a legacy from the 70’s, these cubic houses supposed to represent an urban forest, very pop right?

Numerous skyscrapers have been built over the last twenty years and the building sites of the future are omnipresent, notably around the multiple basins of the port.

This modernist architecture can also be found in the places of culture and I recommend the area where you can find the Bojmans museum, its magnificent warehouse and the Kunsthalle.

What was the city like before the war? You can get a glimpse here in Delfshaven or in the centre with the Witte Haus, one of the first buildings in Europe.

La ville est également un lieu de création street art important:

And finally, a jewel of industrial design, classified as a UNESCO heritage site, the Van Nelle Fabriek.

The building seemed a bit abandoned when I went there and I was able to enter to admire in particular this staircase, light, soft coloured materials, ceramics…

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