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Rotterdam is famous for its broad collection of modern architecture in the Netherlands. The city is full of contrasts between old historic parts and brand new modern architecture. Due to this unique mix this city is very distinct from any other city in the Netherlands. Tourist that love to spot modern architecture have come to the right place when visiting Rotterdam. Rotterdam is known as the skyscraper capital of the Netherlands and has developed a real skyline.
Even though Rotterdam already offers a lot of architectural highlights, the city keeps continually developing and under construction which gives it a very dynamic atmosphere. The city is ever-changing and constantly new architectural highlights are added to the city.
The Oude Haven is home to both the distinctive Cubic Houses and the Witte Huis. The Cubic Houses were built in the '80s and owe their name to their distinctive cubic shape. These houses are occupied by inhabitants and a hostel, but one of them, the Kijk-Kubus (Show Cube) which functions as a museum, is open to the public. You can visit it and experience how it is to live in a house which such strange shapes and sloping walls. The Witte Huis was the first European skyscraper and is located in the Oude Haven as well.
One of the greatest architectural highlights of the city is the Erasmus Bridge. It was completed in 1996 and is 139 meters tall. You can cross it by tram, foot, bike and car.
This bridge sparked the redevelopment of the Wilhelminapier: the architectural hotspot of Rotterdam. This former harbour area is nowadays home to the tallest buildings in the Netherlands. Architecture fans can find designs by world famous architects such as Norman Foster, Renzo Piano, Alvaro Siza and of course local Rem Koolhaas. The tallest building of the Netherlands, the Maastoren, is located near the Wilhelminapier. The Wilhelminapier itself is home to the Toren op Zuid, World Port Center, New Orleans (which houses theater and cinema Lantaren Venster), Montevideo (which houses several restaurants), Hotel New York, De Rotterdam etc. De Rotterdam is the biggest building of the Netherlands housing offices, apartments and a hotel with a bar with a nice view on the river.
The Euromast Tower is a great way to experience the Rotterdam skyline from above. This tower offers a nice overview over the city and the biggest harbour of Europe. You can also experience the architecture and skyline from the water by taking an amazing ride with a Wateraxi or a tour with Spido.
The Wijnhaveneiland is a district in transformation from a former mainly offices oriented area towards a more residential area with tall residential skyscrapers. The Red Apple is a bright red residential skyscraper on the Wijnhaveneiland and the tallest building in this district.
One of the other areas with a lot of modern architecture and skyscrapers is the Rotterdam Central District. This business district is close to the brand new Rotterdam Central Station and is home to buildings like the Delfste Poort. The striking apartment complex De Calypso with its bright colours and weird shapes is located straight ahead from the Central Station.
Last but not least the city center is home to the Beurs - WTC and the Markthal. The Markthal is a large covered market with apartments on the outside and with a wonderful mural on the inside that will open its doors in fall 2014. The tower of the Sint Laurenskerk in the city center offers a nice view over city in the weekend. It is one of the few buildings that survived the bombardment during the 2nd World War, just like the City Hall.
The Van Nelle Ontwerpfabriek is part of Rotterdam's rich industrial heritage. The Van Nelle Factory was originally designed and built in 1925-1931 for the production of coffee, tea and tobacco. Nowadays the buildings house offices and business workspaces for the creative sector after renovation works in 1998. It is of great cultural and historic due to the innovative and modern concepts of light, air and space: the "new building" philosophy. It is a national protected monument and the Dutch government is lobbying for the inclusion of the complex on the UNESCO World Heritage List.