Rotterdam had not been on our radar screen despite the fact that we had heard great things about the city. But when we read and wrote about the new Rotterdam food market opened in October last year we knew that a visit was a must.
This Dutch city is often overlooked as visitors head to Amsterdam, the Hague and Delft instead. That may be set to change in future with the food market that could become a destination for foodies around the world. We will feature the city in our Perfect day series so do stay tuned but in the meantime here are our observations about the food market.
For lovers of architecture, Rotterdam has a lot going for it. The recently opened food market, designed by architects MVRDV is the latest architectural gem to emerge in this city. Located in the city centre of Rotterdam the food market is designed in the shape of a horse shoe and has a steel cable facade which is the largest of its kind in Europe. A colourful mural depicts a composition of produce on the hall’s barrel shaped ceiling adding a touch of colour to the stunning design.
The roof is shaped by an arch of 228 apartments. This combination of housing and food market is what makes this market place unique.
In many cities, old food markets may still remain popular particularly with tourists but have started to lose out on the local trade for various reasons including the convenience of shopping in supermarkets and the movement of people away from the food market areas to more upmarket residential areas in various cities.
On a visit to the Rotterdam food market in July, we were struck by how it was buzzing with activity throughout the day and even in the evenings after the market hall is closed to the public. The restaurants are accessible from outside the market and remain open after 8pm (when the food hall closes between Monday and Saturday).
Jamie Oliver’s restaurant has not yet opened but there is a good selection of places to eat. There are various vendors selling regional and international products such as fish, meat, poultry, cheeses, vegetables, fruit as well as a well stocked wine shop.
There is no question that the food market is a must visit for anyone visiting Rotterdam. We found ourselves going on the two days we were in this city which in itself should be interpreted as a good sign. The places we stopped to eat at in the food market were very good.
But would we travel specifically to visit the food market you might ask? The question here is not easy to answer. The Rotterdam food market clearly adds to the Rotterdam attractions and is a must visit but we think it is still in its early days and vendors need to be more innovative if it is to really become a foodie destination.
But if you are into architecture and city planning, then there is no question that a visit to this new food hall is a must. We are sure that this concept will serve as inspiration to many food markets in future.
What’s going for the Rotterdam food market
- A stunning design and residents in close proximity ensure that it will be busy. Millions of locals and tourists are expected to visit each year.
- A good array of regional produce though there is much more that the Netherlands has to offer and which is not on offer at the market.
- Modern, clean and easily accessible.
- Enthusiastic and friendly vendors.
What else does it need
- While there are some vendors selling international produce such as Spanish cheeses and charcuterie many countries are not yet covered. This should be an opportunity for enterprising vendors.
- Some obvious top names in food, patisserie and chocolates are needed to make it a real foodie destination (we are not talking mass market here but rather top artisans in their field).