Rotterdam Central Library

The Rotterdam Central Library is one of the city's best architectural curiosities. With a 6-story cascading facade, industrial design and angular yellow tubes, it is one of the most controversial buildings in the city. It also has a total surface of 24.000 m² the Central Library, making it one of the largest in Holland.  

  • Includes one of the biggest record libraries in Europe
  • Houses the largest collection of Erasmus' works
  • Built in 1977 in a controversial design

The contest

The building was completed in 1977, as a result of a competition between Rotterdam architects Jaap Bakema and Carel Weeber, two professors from Delft University of Technology. The contest was sensational with Bakema’s design as the winner - an architectural plan that is “open, inviting, centrally located and accessible to everyone.”

Glass waterfall

The building is shaped like a cube with a cut-off corner, where a glass "waterfall" encapsulates the criss-crossing escalators which connects the six floors. The declining levels contain approximately 400,000 books in an open setting. A striking element is the air-conditioning system which are actually the yellow-painted pipes on the exterior. This received a mixed reaction from critics, with some saying that the design was copied from the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

More than books

The library houses one of the biggest Record Libraries in Europe. There are also a Library Theatre, a Selexyz Donner bookstore, a cafe, internet terraces on the first and top floors and lecture halls. Moreover, the library has the world's largest collection of Erasmus' works, the famous Dutch Renaissance humanist and theologian.

Experience one of the best examples of what Rotterdam contemporary architecture has to offer at Rotterdam Central Library.

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