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Through the roof!

Through the roof!

The richness of Rotterdam rooftops: from go-to roofs and to-do roofs to DIY roofs

Pascal Striebel

Through the roof!

In Rotterdam, you either do something properly or not at all. And when it comes to rooftops, you can rest assured that Rotterdam does it best! The city has a lot of roof space, so why leave it unused? To a Rotterdammer, an empty roof is like a blank canvas where your imagination is the limit. From greening and energy generation to recreation: even roofs offer room for innovation and experimentation. As a visitor and resident, you can be a part of it, not just an observer: experiment, learn and enjoy the ride!

Top vibes on the rooftops

Rotterdam has the flattest roofs in the Netherlands, partly as a result of the reconstruction. Besides wonderful panoramic views, these many square metres offer a wealth of space. Space for experimentation, for the generation of energy and climate adaptation through the collection of water and greenery. But perhaps also for living, working and recreation. There is only one way to explore all the options: experiment and learn. That is exactly what the people of Rotterdam are good at. One learns by doing, and you – resident or visitor – are invited to participate, to learn and, above all, to enjoy the fantastic vibe on the Rotterdam rooftops. You can do this by visiting beautiful (catering) locations on the roofs (go-to roofs), by participating in the events and activities on the roofs (to-do roofs) or by working on your own roof (DIY roofs).

Go-to roofs

There are more and more roofs to visit in Rotterdam. For the view, the cafes and restaurants or the vegetable gardens, for example. These roofs are open to everyone all week long.

  • The roof of the Schieblock on Hofplein is an oasis in the city, largely due to the DakAkker: the first harvestable roof in the Netherlands and, at 1000 m², the largest urban agriculture roof in Europe! Rotterdam’s bees also have a good time here in the various beehives.
  • Bistro Binnenrotte’s city terrace is on the roof of the entrance to the Central Library and offers a splendid view of the Markthal, the Cube Houses and the Laurenskerk. It’s also a great place to people-watch on market days (Tuesday and Saturday).
  • The roof of the Hofbogen is an upcoming go-to. The Hofbogen Park is being realised on this longest roof in the Netherlands (1.9 kilometres!), transforming it into a green pathway linking the city centre with the neighbourhoods in Rotterdam Noord. It connects with the Luchtpark Hofbogen city park, which will be accessible again once the work is completed.
  • You can visit another rooftop park near Marconiplein: the Dakpark is built on the roof of a parking garage, is almost one kilometre long and, at a height of nine metres, offers a panoramic view. This is a wonderful place for the neighbourhood, where children play on the ‘water steps’, people go for a run, picnic and meet each other on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The neighbourhood garden – with sheep, chickens, a vegetable garden and fruit hedges – is a productive addition to the area.

To-do roofs

As well as roofs to visit, there are also roofs where – on set dates – parties (quite literally) go through the roof. These activities and events of the Rotterdam Architecture Month (RA Month) celebrate the height of the city, focus on the roofs and offer a new perspective on (living and working in) the city.

  • An annual highlight in the Maasstad is the Rotterdam Roof Days (2-5 June), during which a voyage of discovery up high awaits you. This year there are routes along various roofs, with on each roof a surprising way of using the space and reflecting on it.
  • The Rotterdam Rooftop Walk, from 26 May to 24 June 2022, was developed by the organisation of the Rotterdam Roof Days and architects MVRDV. You walk over and between the buildings, including an air bridge between WTC Rotterdam and the Bijenkorf! Tickets (3.50) can be bought online.
  • Het Podium (1 June – 17 August) is an impressive, bright pink platform on the roof of Het Nieuwe Instituut. The installation, with its imposing outdoor staircase, was also designed by MVRDV and is an extension of the exhibition MVRDVHNI: The Living Archive of a Studio. This pink bombshell offers you the chance to experience architecture, the Museum Park, the institute and the city from a new perspective; a highlight of Rotterdam Architecture Month in June.

Do-it-yourself roofs

If you think that extraordinary rooftops are only reserved for organisations, institutions and events, think again. In line with Rotterdam’s can-do mentality, the city is actively encouraging its citizens to do something with and on their own roofs.

  • Residents are encouraged to use their rooftops. The city has over 18 km² of flat roofs, often unused. We can make better use of that space, and the city sees that as a welcome challenge. The roofs offer opportunities for the generation of energy, new places for social connection and opportunities for reducing heat stress and flooding. Using the roofs is important because Rotterdam is growing. To keep the city attractive and healthy, we need to work together. By looking forward and looking upward!
  • By registering your roof with Rooftop Revolution, you can contribute to a healthy city by creating your own green roof oasis, energy-generating roof or roof garden. The organisation will help you to realise your ‘roof dream’.

Look forward and upward

The city is constantly evolving, which means there are some exciting milestones to look forward to. For example, de Doelen, a national monument, is creating a green roof, Gebouw De Heuvel will not only have an attractive roof garden, but this ‘energy roof’ will also have all kinds of climate-adaptive applications, and the roof of FENIX on Katendrecht will be a true spectacle.

Rotterdam Roof Tour

Rotterdam Roof Tour

Do you want to know more about the roofs of Rotterdam? We totally get it! Join the Rotterdam Roof Tour: an exploration of innovative and unusual roofs in the centre of Rotterdam. Esther Wienese – ‘our’ roof expert who even wrote a book on the subject – designed this tour. Roofs you visit include: Dakpark, DakAkker Schieblock, Bistro Binnenrotte and Het Witte Huis.

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Five highlights of Rotterdam Architecture Month

Five highlights of Rotterdam Architecture Month

The city of Rotterdam will be featuring quite a few highlights worth visiting and experiencing during its annual Architecture Month (RA Month) in June. Under the umbrella of the theme ‘Vista Rotterdam’ – with vista meaning view – you will be able to see both literal and figurative city panoramas. The city podium, in candy-cane pink on the roof of Het Nieuwe Instituut, provides the physical heart of the month, but as well as this obvious hotspot, there will be plenty more to see, do, learn and experience. Discover the city from a height! Below you will find an overview of the most important sites, activities and architectural events.