tours in rotterdam

Rotterdam is a har­bour city with rough charm and a spark­ling sky­line. In the city on the river Maas, neon-lit highrises meet gems of clas­sic­al mod­ern archi­tec­ture as well as con­tem­por­ary har­bour con­ver­sions.


Most of all, though, Rotterdam always offered much more space for archi­tec­tur­al exper­i­ments than the pic­ture book town of Amsterdam. The city first gained import­ance in the 19th cen­tury, when its har­bour grew expo­nen­tially with­in just a few years, par­al­lel to the indus­tri­al­iz­a­tion of the Ruhr area in Ger­many. Dur­ing this time, the leap to the oppos­ite side of the river took place, cre­at­ing har­bour areas and work­ers’ hous­ing estates on the south­ern river­side.

Dur­ing World War II, the old centre of Rotterdam was com­pletely des­troyed. What remained was a city without a heart. After the war, plan­ners saw the res­ult­ing tab­ula rasa as a chance to real­ize a mod­ern city cen­ter with a rad­ic­al sep­ar­a­tion of func­tions.


In the late 1990s, the uncon­ven­tion­al square design of Schouw­bur­g­plein and the cul­ture cluster of Museumpark, includ­ing the Dutch Archi­tec­ture Insti­tute, were cre­ated in the city centre. Then the most recent leap across the river took place: With the Erasmus­bridge, Rotterdam has­n’t only acquired a new land­mark, but also laid a con­nec­tion between the city centre and har­bour pen­in­sula Kop van Zuid, which has been con­ver­ted into a 120 hec­tare hous­ing- and office area over the last years.

Now the pro­ject is near­ing com­ple­tion, and gentri­fic­a­tion is extend­ing to the adjoin­ing pen­in­sula Katendrecht.


But the city centre has also under­gone a change over the last dec­ades. More and more res­id­en­tial sky­scrapers have been inser­ted, in an attempt to densi­fy the area. In com­bin­a­tion with new megapro­jects, such as the Cent­ral Sta­tion, mul­ti­func­tion­al highrise De Rotterdam by OMA and the Mar­ket Hall by MVRDV, this has res­ul­ted in a thor­ough rean­im­a­tion of the post-war city.

Rotterdam Key Top­ics

  • urb­an plan­ning
  • highrise archi­tec­ture
  • har­bour con­ver­sions
  • (afford­able) hous­ing
  • left-over spaces
  • water man­age­ment
  • sus­tain­ab­il­ity
  • bot­tom-up
  • mobil­ity
  • urb­an renew­al
Rotterdam City Centre: Markthal by MVRDV

Rotterdam City Centre

Rotterdam is a har­bour city with rough charm and a spark­ling sky­line. The city first gained import­ance in the 19th cen­tury, when its har­bour grew

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Housing complex Landtong in Kop van Zuid area of Rotterdam

Innov­at­ive Hous­ing

Hous­ing is cur­rently a big issue in Rotterdam. The heav­ily dis­puted hous­ing policy doc­u­ment ‘Woon­vis­ie Rotterdam 2030’ envis­ages the demoli­tion of 15,000 cheap flats and

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“Both guides did an excel­lent job, they were very well pre­pared and provided us with very inter­est­ing insights! Thank you for design­ing a cus­tom­ized pro­gramme for us!”
Anja Ban­dorf, BNP Land­scape Archi­tects, Zurich, Switzer­land
“You showed us the ‘new Rotterdam’. We loved the pro­fes­sion­al expert­ise of the guide as well as his sym­path­et­ic way of present­ing the pro­jects. Thank you for the great organ­iz­a­tion and guid­ing!”
Birgit Striegl, RBS GmbH, Ber­gisch Glad­bach, Ger­many