The Rotterdam Rooftop Days 2017

There are a few moments each year, when many places in Rotterdam can be visited that are usually not accessible. A great opportunity to get to know the city in a completely different way. There are in fact four of those moments: the Open Monuments Days, Architecture Day, the Hidden Gardens and the Rotterdam Rooftop Days. Unfortunately the Rooftops and Gardens are always in the same weekend, even though there are no less than 52 weekends in a year. Why is no one coordinating that?

Anyway, a difficult decision had to be made. A decision that this time turned out in favor of the Rooftops.

Central Post

According to the Rooftop Days brochure, the roof of the former post office was the highest Open Roof. Not untill I saw photographs taken from even higher places like the roof of the World Trade Center appear on social media, I realized that there was also a special tour along the highest roofs of the city. Well, those locations will remain on my bucket list until a next edition of the Rooftop Days.

Central Post is twelve office stories high, so “only” a meter or forty. But the view from its roof is excellent. On the north side you can easyly see Delft and The Hague. On the south side, the view is partially blocked by the high-rise buildings at Weena, but this also creates possibilities: below we see Rotterdam North and the Central Station reflected in the Delftse Poort building. (formerly Nationale Nederlanden):

Rotterdam-Noord en het Centraal Station, weerspiegelend in het gebouw Delftse Poort, gefotografeerd vanaf Central Post tijdens de Rotterdamse Dakendagen.
Reflections in the Delftse Poort facade

Lijnbaan appartments

The following roof, of one of the Lijnbaan residential buildings, is only slightly lower than Central Post, and here too the view is great. Such a high point of view can be quite surprising. For example, who had expected that next to the Old Luxor Theatre and right above the Decathlon store, there would be an urban villa with roof gardens?

Zicht vanaf een van de Lijnbaanflats tijdens de Rotterdamse Dakendagen 2017 op het woongebouw boven de winkel van Decathlon aan de Coolsingel
Urban villa with roof gardens

Tea House

From this roof, the following destination was already visible: one of the other Lijnbaan buildings, where the residents have a tea house on the roof.

Theetuin op een van de Lijnbaanflats met op de achtergrond onder andere de Erasmusbrug, tijdens de Rotterdamse Dakendagen
Teahouse under the Rotterdam Rooftop Days flag

“Green” roof

This tea house has a green roof around it although the green is somewhat faded after the dry period of the last months. An almost idyllic scene with ox, donkey and sheep against the background of the Town Hall and the Timmerhuis.

Diverse beesten op het dak van een van de Lijnbaanflats tijdens de Rotterdamse Dakendagen 2017
Cattle on the roof

Lee Towers

Also from this roof, the view was magnificent. Here we look between the two parts of the Calypso block towards the towers at Marconiplein, recently referred to as the Lee Towers.

Please take note of a subtle detail: the banner of Feyenoord, national football champion 2016-2017. The Calypso towers in fact have the colors of Feyenoord (and of most other Dutch football clubs, for that matter)

Doorkijkje van een van de Lijnbaanflats tussen twee delen van Calypso door naar de toekomstige Lee Towers tijdens de Rotterdamse Dakendagen 2017
A glimpse of the Lee Towers


The roof of the Codarts music academy is only two hundred meters away, but also this view still added something to the story. In the picture below, the green of Westersingel contrasts with the red tones of Calypso.

Zicht vanaf het gebouw van Codarts tijdens de Rotterdamse Dakendagen 2017 op het Calypso-gebouw en de Westersingel.
Calypso and Westersingel


But also from the lower roofs, such as that of De Heuvel near Saint Lawrence Church, the view is not necessarily boring. A good opportunity to experiment with an option of my camera that I do not use very often: the miniature effect, also known as the Madurodam or Miniworld effect. I will write a blog post about it soem day; here is a preview:

Standbeeld van Erasmus op het grasveld voor de Laurenskerk, gefotografeerd met het miniatuur- of Madurodam-effect
Looking down on Erasmus


The roof of the former Hofplein Station offered a welcome pitstop on the route along the rooftops. Poppies, fake sheep and coffee against a background of speeding trains and the always fascinating Rotterdam skyline.

Kunststof schaapjes op het dak van Station Hofplein tijdens de Rotterdamse Dakendagen met op de achtergrond een gele trein van NS en de Skyline van Rotterdam.
Sheep and the city

Tiny Houses

The idea behind the Rotterdam Rooftop Days is of course that we should use our roofs better. As living space, for example. On the roof of the Yellow Building in the Zoho quarter, there was a tiny house that for the occasion had travelled from its habitual location on Heijplaat. There are plans to place five of these rumah kecil on this roof. Blok’s Block would, of course, fit very well on that location.

Tiny House tijdens de Rotterdamse Dakendagen op een dak van een gebouw aan het Schoterboshof
Tiny House at ZoHo

The blue village

I conclude this blog post in the Didden Village, the blue settlement designed by MVRDV, the office of my valued ex-colleagues Winy and Jacob (I’ve often seen colleagues start their own office but rarely did that become part of architecture history like in their case. But I digress). Of course, it was quite crowded with rooftop tourists here; we should really thank the residents for opening their house to the public. And with some patience, I managed to make a picture without the crowds.

Het Didden Village, ontworpen door MVRDV, een blauw dorpje op een historisch pand in Rotterdam West.
Didden Village

The blue hour

And talking about blue: it’s a pity that the roofs are open only between eleven and six. That’s not the best time to take pictures. At least not in June. It may be harder to organize but during the blue hour the pictures would be even more beautiful. But indeed, at this time of the year, that would result in opening hours from eleven to eleven.

For many more photographs of the Rotterdam Rooftop Days, I recommend Jolanda Lelieveld’s blog: Rotterdam through my lens. and the website of MS Fotografie.

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