The little river that once flowed through here, the Rotte, was dammed around 1270 and became the centre of a small fishing village. Trade and shipping flourished, leading to the rapid growth of ‘Rotterdam’. The only remnant that still recalls that medieval village is the Late Gothic Laurenskerk. A striking feature beside the new architecture that has been added to Rotterdam since then! It offers a striking contrast with the covered Markthal, the latest and most visually prominent architectural icon in the area. Housed under a single horseshoe-shaped roof, 150 market stands, 15 shops, 8 restaurants and 228 apartments have been brought together by MVRDV architects. An outdoor market is also held here on Tuesdays and Saturdays. People come from all over to buy fresh produce and seafood here.
There’s lots more to do in the Laurenskwartier, though: shopping on Meent and Pannenkoekstraat, catch an open-air concert on Grote Kerkplein, or taking a look in the famous Cube Houses designed by architect Piet Blom. Great food and drinks here, too, since the Laurenskwartier is a popular and versatile nightlife district. When the market stands are cleared away for the day, Binnenrotte’s sidewalk cafés set out their terraces and the fun can continue until deep into the night.