Somewhere between the Grote Kerk and Piet Blom’s Cube House, Markthal Rotterdam is the first oversized indoor market of its kind in the Netherlands and is the largest glass-window cable structure in Europe. Here’s a guide to visiting the Rotterdam market hall, including highlights and a history!
Rotterdam Market Hall Address | Ds. Jan Scharpstraat 29, Rotterdam City Center, Rotterdam
History of the Markthal Rotterdam: The Netherland’s Largest Indoor Market Hall
Plans for the Markthal Rotterdam were initially put forward for public examination in 2009, though the public space was not actually opened until October 1 2014. by the Queen of the Netherlands Located in the Laurenskwartier district of the city, the covered market square makes up the open-space under the arch, while private apartments flank either side.
Truth be told, the one thing I did notice when visiting Rotterdam was the sheer amount of construction work that seemed to be taking place around the city! During excavations prior to building the Markhal, on the site where the Market Hall now stands was a 10th-century farm.
Another archaeological feature of note was the buried 14th-century village in the Polder of Westnieuwland. This was probably a part of ‘Rotta,’ the predecessor settlement to Rotterdam. A small display featuring historical finds discovered in the area (the Tijdtrap) can now be seen next to the central staircases for free. To experience traditional windmills today, be sure to take an easy day trip to the windmills of Kinderdijk.
Now the hall comprises of leisure activities, shopping experiences, and culinary delights to sample. Many aspects of city living come together underneath this futuristic archway close to Rotterdam’s Oudehaven (Old Harbour). Underneath the Market Hall, there are car parking facilities that can accommodate up to 1200 vehicles.
The Cornucopia (Horn of Plenty) Ceiling of the Markthal
The horseshoe-shaped arch was designed by architect Winy Maas and is impressive in of itself. However, the truly breathtaking aspect of the structure is its stunning ceiling. Called the ‘Cornucopia,’ the 11,000 square metre space comprises of a graphic design created by Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam.
The style is a modern take on traditional Dutch painting and is assembled from 4000 panels of aluminium. So beautiful is the Markthal ceiling, that it’s since been given the nickname ‘the Rotterdam Sistine Chapel’, while others refer to it as the ‘largest artwork in the world’. Another name for the indoor market as a whole is the ‘Food Valhalla of the Netherlands’!
Highlights of the Markthal and How to visit Rotterdam’s Market Hall
When it comes to dining experiences, the Market Hall comprises of a number of restaurants, stands, and stalls where you can purchase freshly made food, as well as pick up supplies for home. During our time in Rotterdam, we enjoyed traditional Dutch fries (complete with Fritessaus)
Some of the best foodie places in the hall include several supermarkets, a BasQ Kitchen Restaurant, as well as over 460 other stalls! Open seven days a week and free to enter, the Market Hall is open until 8 PM each evening, though restaurants and stalls tend to follow their own opening times.
Things to do nearby and Rotterdam travel tips
Blaak Station: Though Rotterdam can be explored on foot or on a bicycle, if you’re short on time then Blaak station is close to the market hall. Head to within the station, and you’ll soon discover that a slice of the city’s historic city walls can be admired.
Cube House: If you’ve ever searched for ‘instagrammable’ spots in Rotterdam, then no doubt you’ll have come across Piet Blom’s Cube House. Overlooking the city’s old harbour, the concept of the living space, lifestyle hub (and even hotel) is ‘living as an urban roof’.
Erasmus Statue: One of the best secret spots in Rotterdam can be found in the form of the Erasmus Statue that sits on the green lawn in front of Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk, a restored Gothic Cathedral. Erasmus Desiderius was a scholar in the 15th-century and is one of Rotterdam’s most famous residents.
While Rotterdam is an escape from the hustle and bustle of the crowds of Amsterdam, the city can still get pretty busy! This is especially true of the high season (summer) when events like Summer Carnival take place. As a result, you’ll want to book your place to stay as far in advance as possible. Check here for the best Rotterdam accommodation rates.