Rotterdam celebrates the city! With a new lookout -
Photo: photo credit MVRDV

Rotterdam celebrates the city! With a new lookout

Apr. 12, 2016

From mid-May to mid-June, Rotterdam gets a temporary new eye-catcher: a giant stairs with 180 steps from Stationsplein, right in front of Groot Handelsgebouw. The scaffolding system, an idea by architects MVRDV, is a nod to 75 years of rebuilding the city, which is celebrated this year with the cultural event Rotterdam celebrates the city! The Stairs will be officially opened on 16 May by Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb and will remain open until 12 June. Everyone is welcome to visit from 10:00 to 22:00. Admission is free.

The arrival of The Stairs fits nicely in the Rotterdam tradition of celebrating reconstruction milestones. Big cultural events often provide beautiful vantage points, such as the Euromast, which is built for the Floriade in 1960 and the cable cars on the Coolsingel during the reconstruction event C70. ”Now we create a new lookout where people can enjoy the unique view of this newly built city. From the cranes in the harbour, to the new city center, the North and Blijdorp Zoo. Fun for everyone,'' says Anouk Estourgie of Rotterdam celebrates the city!

The steps are therefore not just a way to get upstairs, but more importantly to enjoy the view on the rooftop of Groot Handelsgebouw. A temporary observation post gives you the opportunity to overlook the entire city. On the roof you will also find the former cinema Kriterion that will open temporarily to offer a wide variety of films, debates and performances. Furthermore, there are catering facilities as well as an information point for the cultural event Rotterdam celebrates the city!

Winy Maas: "Back in the day I would look out over Rotterdam after the film in Kriterion. It offered a fantastic view of the city. The roof of the Groot Handelsgebouw, one of the best buildings from the reconstruction period in the Netherlands, deserves to be used as a basis for the next re-invention of Rotterdam. With these stairs we want to offer this suggestion and celebrate at the same time."

Being 29 meters high and 57 meters long, The Stairs offer an impressive landmark for the cultural event Rotterdam celebrates the city! Also the shape is a nod to the reconstruction. The Stairs respond to the diagonal of Rotterdam Centraal and thus connects a brand new icon with a historic monument.

Winy Maas: "The Stairs must create more liveliness on the roof and show a second layer in the next step of urban development of Rotterdam. A second coming. It would be good to make it a permanent fixture."

About the initiative

The stairs are designed by MVRDV, commissioned by Rotterdam Festivals for the initiative Rotterdam celebrates the city!, and made possible by Groot Handelsgebouw, TBI and Stichting Bevordering Volkskracht. Dutch Steigers is responsible for the scaffolding with consultancy Dekker Engineering as engineer of the project. The permit process is in its final stages so that the project can be realized mid-May.


MVRDV was founded in 1993 by Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries. The practice realizes studies and projects in the fields of architecture, urban design and landscape architecture. Projects of MVRDV include Markthal in Rotterdam, the Dutch Pavilion for the World Expo in Hannover, the Boekenberg in Spijkenisse, the Flight Forum business park in Eindhoven, the Matsudai cultural center and the Gyre shopping center in Japan, the Mirador and Celosia living complex in Madrid and the Silodam and the Lloyd Hotel in Amsterdam. The work of MVRDV has received several international awards. The monographic publications FARMAX (1998), KM3 (2005) and MVRDV Buildings (2013) illustrate the work of the Rotterdam firm that also develops software for architecture and urban planning. The 130 architects, designers and staff of MVRDV create projects in a multi-disciplinary, collaborative design process and apply innovative and sustainable technologies. Together with Delft University of Technology, MVRDV runs The Why Factory, an independent research institute that studies the city of the future.

About Groot Handelsgebouw

The Groot Handelsgebouw is THE reconstruction monument in Rotterdam. The largest business complex in the Netherlands, a national monument since 2010, was designed just after the war and was way ahead of its time. It was inspired by The Merchandise Mart in Chicago in terms of architecture and design. A building for wholesalers with their own transport. The name changed over the years from Groothandelsgebouw in Groot Handelsgebouw, marking the variety of activities in the building. Even today, the Groot Handelsgebouw, with nearly 180 tenants, is still one of the most modern business centers in the Netherlands: comfortable, durable and perfectly located.

About Rotterdam celebrates the city!

In 2016, Rotterdam is celebrating 75 years of reconstruction with a cultural event: Rotterdam celebrates the city! With the reconstruction as the source of inspiration, this cultural event offers a tribute to the city of before, celebrates the city of today and builds on the city of the future. Against the backdrop of architectural icons that have placed Rotterdam (inter)nationally firmly on the map, the cultural event now places the people and the special city culture at the center. The event is therefore an anthology of stories of people who have made, are making and will make the city. A city that continues to renew itself. These stories are the foundation for the overall programming and connect to a remarkable route through the city.

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