A New Skyline for Rotterdam

Rotterdam Festivals uses a graphical representation of the famous skyline of the city as their logo. But such a logo is aging rapidly, especially in 2014, the year that three new landmarks were added: the Central Station, the Market Hall and De Rotterdam. So they organized a design competition for a new skyline logo with at least those three buildings in it. The prize was … nothing. Nothing? Indeed, it was only for the honor. Maybe, as a designer, you shouldn’t even want to participate, but hey, it’s for a good cause. And since I had a good idea….

Colors of the skyline

My design is mainly inspired by the many colors in the skyline: apart from bright yellow, in fact the entire spectrum is represented. I have arranged the various elements loosely from north to south: 28 pieces in total. Of course, difficult choices had to be made: which one is in and which one is out. Finally, the following buildings made it to the design: from left to right, the Central Station, Calypso, the Market Hall, the Karel Doorman, the City Hall, the Cube Houses, Beurs/World Trade Center, the Pencil, Fortis, the Laurenschurch, Robeco, the Red Apple, the Coolse Poort, the Shipping and Transport College, the White House, the Euromast, the Brienenoordbridge, the Willems Bridge, the Erasmus Bridge, the Maas Tower, De Rotterdam, Las Palmas, New Orleans, Hotel New York, Montevideo and the KPN building. Meanwhile a construction crane is busy building more landmarks.

The colorful skyline of Rotterdam


I understand that the judges had great difficulty in making a choice. Unfortunately, they didn’t choose my design. But I like my skyline too much to simply store it in the archive. Therefore I converted it to a less elongated format and I added a sky (after all: what’s a skyline without a sky?) And in the foreground two other Rotterdam icons have been added: the Nieuwe Maas river and the Port. The end result is, since this afternoon, a showpiece in the collection of my webshop, which I hereby officially declare open for business.

The colorful skyline of Rotterdam, with sky, river and port

UPDATE  DECEMBER 10, 2014: Planet Rotterdam
It had to happen some day: the Rotterdam skyline as a spherical panorama. I have made quite a few of those little planets, most of them featuring Rotterdam. And it actually made a lot of sense to transform my skyline design into the ultimate spherical panorama on which all buildings and bridges reflect in the lifeline of the city: the river Nieuwe Maas. I’ve added some elements that were still missing in the original design: the Delftse Poort building(formerly Nationale Nederlanden), Erasmus Medical Center, a port crane and a cruise ship.

Graphical representation of the colorful Rotterdam skyline as a spherical panorama, with four bridges and iconic buildings like the Central Station, the Market Hall, the Euromast and the Rotterdam building,reflecting in the river Nieuwe Maas

UPDATE APRIL 12, 2016: Rotterdam Marathon-shirt

In early 2016 I was approached by Marco Vink, asking if he could use my skyline design on a shirt for a Facebook group of marathon runners. I am more of a hiker myself but I really admire people who can run 42 kilometers and 195 meters. And so, specially for the occasion, I made a black and white version of my design, more adapted to the Rotterdam green color scheme of the shirt. And the result was that on April 10, 2016, more than a hundred runners were running the Rotterdam Marathon in that shirt. As we say in Rotterdam: awesome!

Graphical representation of the Rotterdam skyline with the most important buildings and bridges, on a shirt made on the occasion of the 2016 edition of the Rotterdam marathon.

UPDATE MARCH 7, 2017: A new marathon, a new shirt

Also on April 9, 2017 more than a hundred members of the Facebook group Rotterdam Marathon participants will run 42 kilometers and 195 meters in this shirt, which by now has become a popular collector’s item. The 2017 version is slightly different from last year’s edition. I added, for instance, two “southern” icons that the marathon route passes: a cruise ship docked at the Wilhelmina Pier and of course Feyenoord stadium the Kuip.

Graphical representation of the Rotterdam skyline, with the most important buildings, bridges and other landmarks, printed on a green t-shirt

Last year’s experience shows that the runners wearing the shirt can be recognized from afar. For some reason this kind of green is remarkably rare.

The saga continues…

Elsewhere on this blog you can read more about the developments around the Skyline design:

The Rotterdam Skyline Knitting Pattern

The Secret Skyline of Rotterdam

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2 Responses

  1. DAVID SKINNER says:


    I ran in the Rotterdam marathon on Sunday and noticed quite a few people in these great green shirts, saying Rotterdam marathon on them.

    How can I buy one please? Thank you. David Skinner.

    • Frans Blok says:

      Hello David,

      Sorry for the late reply. This t-shirt was made for members of the Facebook group of Rotterdam marathon runners. It sold out long ago. There may be a 2018 edition but I can’t give you any details; in fact, I only made the skyline drawing on the shirt. Kindest regards,

      Frans Blok

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