Rotterdam's new Markthal (markthalrotterdam.nl/en) is attracting a lot of attention, judging by the million visitors who stopped by in its opening weeks. Resembling a native longhouse, bustling market stalls fill the soccer-pitch sized interior while apartments wrap around its curved outer walls. Inside, above the food and fish stalls, is a ceiling of supersized art: giant floating raspberries, butterflies and bananas.
"After the war almost the entire city of Rotterdam needed to be rebuilt, so there was a strong will to reinvent ourselves," says Anton Wubben, the architect project leader from MVRDV, which designed the building. "People are really open for new things and new experiences. I think that's one of the reasons why this building was possible."
Here, he shares his five other not-to-be-forgotten experiences in Rotterdam.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
“People should go see a soccer match of Feyenoord in their stadium, de Kuip. It’s the best stadium of the Netherlands and will have an update in the coming years. What I love about the stadium is something that I also love about the Markthal: It’s a place where a lot of people come together and have an experience in a way that’s not so much about the building but about the atmosphere. My personal dream is to redo this stadium. We’d love to make it a public place where you can go when there’s no match.” 1 Van Zandvlietplein, feyenoord.nl
“Have a glass of wine and a typical Spanish tapa at this tapas place, which is one of the first stalls you see when entering the Markthal. The atmosphere is really nice. You can stand at the bar, chat a bit and eat. It’s very Mediterranean.” Markthal Rotterdam, Binnenrotte, markthal.nl
Witte de Withstraat
“Years ago it was a dodgy street. The first restaurant – Bazar – opened in 1997 and attracted different clientele to the area. It kickstarted the complete redevelopment of the street. It has turned into one of the hippest streets in Rotterdam offering nice bars, cafes and art galleries. It’s a great place to visit.” Hotel Bazar, 16 Witte de Withstraat; bazarrotterdam.com
“Although it is touristy, it’s really nice to go up the Euromast when the sun goes down. It’s an observation tower designed by Hugh Maaskant for the horticultural exhibition held in Rotterdam in 1960. It was once the tallest building in Rotterdam. There’s a restaurant with a fantastic view over the city and the river.” 20 Parkhaven, euromast.nl/en
“The last thing to visit is the new Central Station. The public street underneath the tracks connects both sides of the city and is a really beautiful opening to the city. It was designed by Benthem and Crouwel from Amsterdam. I love the fact that it’s a street with stores, a meeting place, and the trains are above.”