Rotterdam as seen from a minaret

I have been to many high places in recent years to take pictures of Rotterdam. But on Easter Sunday, together with a few fellow photographers, I had the opportunity to capture the city from a very unusual point of view: a minaret of the Mevlana mosque.

The photo shoot was organized by Ramazan Aydogan from Rotta Historica. He previously brought us to the roofs of the Delftse Poort building and the Erasmushuis.

The Mevlana mosque in Rotterdam in springtime with the Schie river in the foreground
The Mevlana mosque in Rotterdam


The Mevlana mosque was completed on its location near the river Delfshavense Schie in Rotterdam West in 2001. The design is by the Schiedam architect Bert Toorman. He was commissioned by the Turkish community to design a mosque that would be recognizable to the faithful as a traditional Ottoman mosque but would also be appreciated as a monument by neutral non-Muslim viewers.

the front facade of the Mevlana mosque in Rotterdam with two minarets and the Dutch and Turkish flag
Two minarets, two flags


The way up through the minaret goes along a very narrow steel staircase. And the balconies appear to be very narrow. I estimate a depth of barely thirty centimeters. Someone with a less slender posture wouldn’t even be able to stand there.

And although I usually don’t suffer from vertigo, I get a little scared here. But well, that’s the price you have to pay for nice pictures.

Both minarets are 42 meters high; the upper balcony is probably at 35 metres. That’s not extremely high, but because there are no other tall buildings in the area, the view over Rotterdam is nevertheless spectacular.

Mathenesser bridge across Delfshavense Schie in Rotterdam West
Mathenesser bridge across the Schie river


At the foot of the mosque is a striking, water drop-shaped building that will rarely be seen and photographed from this angle. It is a pumping station of the Water Board of Schieland and Krimpenerwaard, designed by my esteemed former colleague Mari Baauw, still working for my former employer Royal HaskoningDHV.

the Essenburgsingel pumping station at Aelbrechtsplein in Rotterdam, The Netherlands
The drop shaped pumping station

World Heritage

In the other direction, there is a much more monumental building: the Van Nelle factory, designed in the 1920s by architects Brinkman and van der Vlugt. The sun is kind to us this evening and sets just above this Unesco world heritage.

Unesco world heritage the Van Nelle factory in Rotterdam at sunset
Sunset at Van Nelle

Golden and blue hours

It is particularly nice that we are allowed to take photos from the minarets at this time, around sunset. The golden and blue hours, those are the occasions for which photographers are willing to rise early. Or, as in this case, climb a narrow staircase.

Aelbrechtsplein in Rotterdam-west during the blue hour, seen from one of the minarets of the Mevlana mosque
Aelbrechtsplein in the blue hour

Dome and skyline

This is the last photo I take before I carefully descend those narrow stairs again. The dome with the crescent on the peak, and the skyline of Rotterdam in the background. Slightly to the left of the dome we see a church tower, belonging to Our Lady Star of the Sea at Beukelsdijk, currently in use by a Polish catholic community.

The Rotterdam skyline during the blue hour with in the foreground the dome of the Mevlana mosque
The dome and the skyline

Teşekkür ederim

Thanks to Ramazan Aydogan for the organization and to Imam Bunyamin Yildiz and the mosque board for the hospitality!

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