The dynamic shopping district of downtown Rotterdam is lively seven days a week. Lijnbaan and Beurstraverse – or, as the locals call this subterranean shopping boulevard, the ‘Koopgoot’ or ‘shopping gutter’ – are where all the big-name department stores are located. It’s where you’ll find international brands like H&M, Zara and the Body Shop, plus authentically Dutch chain stores like the HEMA. It’s the best place to score a new outfit, go people-watching or enjoy an ice cream cone. Lijnbaan is more than just a shopping zone, though; it attracts aficionados of architecture from far and wide. The street was Europe’s first pedestrian-only shopping district. The low-slung, wide structures (accommodating offices and storage behind the stores rather than above them) was downright revolutionary in 1954.
At the intersection where Lijnbaan and Beurstraverse meet, De Bijenkorf is a Dutch department store famous for its luxury concepts. Designed by architect Marcel Breuer, the building has a striking travertine façade in hexagonal honeycomb shapes. The store sells higher-quality fashion and cosmetics brands, as well as designer home accessories, bonbons, furniture and toys. Don’t forget to take a peek at the high sculpture outside the building’s entrance, by artist Naum Gabo. Although ‘the object’ doesn’t have an official name, the locals are very attached to it.