Rotterdam: Holland’s infamous port city may be the hippest place in the country

Published 

 The Globe and Mail

 

Temples of gastronomy are not something you necessarily expect in Holland. In general, the country’s food rep leans to the stodgy and the tuberous.

But the quirky idea of building a food market shaped like an inverted U that incorporates apartments in its arch – residents’ windows peeking out of a giant raspberry or avocado in the hallucinatory ceiling mural – is thoroughly Dutch, a typical mix of playfulness and practicality.

The new tunnel-shaped Markthal in Rotterdam is designed by edgy local architecture firm MVRDV. It’s part of a new wave of exciting building projects in the last year or so that has given us a Rotterdam 2.0 of sorts. A city that, formerly, barely registered with travellers, the Dutch port is now on many a must-see list for its unique design sensibility.

Long known for drug alleys, broad daylight hookers and other inevitabilities of being the biggest port city in Europe, Rotterdam is now the hippest place in Holland. With scores of Amsterdammers coming here to party and a maker mindset that evolved out of necessity, it is a place of non-stop design and innovation.

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 Rotterdam: Holland’s infamous port city

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The-Markthal’s-Horn-of-Plenty-by-Arno-Coenen-and-Iris-Roskam-is-the-largest-artwork-in-the-Netherlands.-Photography-by-Ossip-van-Duivenbode
The-Markthal’s-Horn-of-Plenty-by-Arno-Coenen-and-Iris-Roskam-is-the-largest-artwork-in-the-Netherlands.-Photography-by-Ossip-van-Duivenbode
Terrace-at-the-Old-Port-Rotterdam’s-oldest-port-in-the-centre-of-the-city.-Photography-by-Jan-Bijl
Terrace-at-the-Old-Port-Rotterdam’s-oldest-port-in-the-centre-of-the-city.-Photography-by-Jan-Bijl
Unique-or-eye-catching-architecture-is-not-hard-to-come-by-in-Rotterdam-like-Daan-Roosegaardes-Smog-Free-Tower.-Photography-by-Pim-Hendriksen
Unique-or-eye-catching-architecture-is-not-hard-to-come-by-in-Rotterdam-like-Daan-Roosegaardes-Smog-Free-Tower.-Photography-by-Pim-Hendriksen
Paul-McCarthys-sculpture-elicits-a-grin-from-a-passerby.-Photography-by-Marc-Heeman
Paul-McCarthys-sculpture-elicits-a-grin-from-a-passerby.-Photography-by-Marc-Heeman
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