The Markthal: Sistine Chapel of Rotterdam

Rotterdam is a one kind of a city in the Netherlands. If history had run a different course, Rotterdam could have looked very similar to Amsterdam in term of architectural style. But that’s not what happened. A large part of the city was bombed to rubble during the Second World War. It was huge devastation, but it also brought about a unique kind of architectural character that Rotterdam is known for today.

The Markthal in Rotterdam

The Markthal is one of those buildings that characterise Rotterdam’s innovative architectural climate. The market hall is one of the youngest buildings in town. It houses various shops and stalls in its interior, while its outer layer consists of apartments. It was officially opened on October 1, 2014 by queen Máxima. Since then, it has become an iconic landmark within Rotterdam’s cityscape. When I was in Rotteram for a day, I visited the new indoor markthal (market hall) for a much needed lunch break.

The Sistine Chapel of Rotterdam

The Markthal is sometimes jokingly referred to as the “Sistine Chapel” of Rotterdam, due to its impressive ceiling design. The 11.000 m² artwork carries the name “Hoorn des Overvloeds” (Cornucopia or “Horn of Plenty”) and was designed by Arno Coenen. There is even a rumour that it may be the largest artwork ever made, which might not entirely be true. Still, it makes for a great quote.

Medieval Rotta

Remnants from a 10th century farm were excavated during the construction of the Markthal. Back then, it would have been part of the medieval settlement of Rotta, a predecessor of the city of Rotterdam. A few of those excavated objects are on view in the markthal, so it’s nice to see a connection to the location’s heritage as well.

If you’re ever around, I would definitely recommend you to go have a look. But really, don’t skip out on a delicious Dutch snack and have a taste of the multitude of fresh products.


8 thoughts on “The Markthal: Sistine Chapel of Rotterdam

  1. What great design, I enjoyed this travelogue, I haven’t travelled as much as I used to, for me it seems as I get older I have let some of the things that I love slip from my life for one reason or another, this posting reminds me how exciting it is to explore a new place and just walk and walk and look around. Thanks you’ve inspired me to set a goal to go somewhere exciting (two places exciting if possible) by the end of the year. Thanks for the motivation,Harlon

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