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Binnenrotte · Rotterdam, the Netherlands

A multifaceted metropolitan square

Transforming Rotterdam’s main event and market space


Binnenrotte is Rotterdam’s largest open space. Mainly used as a market space, it consisted of a stretch of hardscape, 800 metres long. With the transformation of Laurenskwartier into a mixed-use zone, new consideration was required to integrate the large Binnenrotte area into the adjacent quarter. We created a design that took the opportunities that the site provided and enriched them to give Binnenrotte the much-required quality of stay throughout the day.

Rotterdam, the Netherlands
2012 - 2016
Project area
6 ha
dS+V - City of Rotterdam
Rots Maatwerk
Photography credits
Antoine Thevenet
2018, Award Beste Openbare Ruimte

Flexibility throughout time

Binnenrotte has been transformed frequently throughout its history: once a river into the city, it was filled in after which an overground railway dominated the space for many years. When the railway was moved underground, the orientation of the space largely remains the same. As a result, a particularly large public space came to be: one that was ideal for events and day markets. Yet, that flexibility came at the cost of atmosphere and quality of stay. During moments when there are no events and markets, the oversized nature and sparse spatial elements of the space made Binnenrotte feel unhospitable.


Best public space

We have turned Binnenrotte into a well-used space throughout the day, every day of the week, well connected to its adjacent streets. The transformation of Binnenrotte turned it into a space with character in the heart of Rotterdam . Two days a week the buzz of the weekly market still prevails, while on the other days Binnenrotte offers pleasant places to stay. Nowadays, there is a lively square with lots of greenery, paving contrasts and even a waterfall. And the market is more accessible than ever before. For the design of Binnenrotte, we have been awarded Best Public Space of 2018.

Creator of meaningful places
Creator of meaningful places

Connection with the city

Anyone who has not been to Rotterdam for a long time will have a hard time recognising the Binnenrotte as the square has been completely rebuilt. The windy open space has turned into a sequence of different areas, introducing green on the market square. With this new attractive quality present, buildings that have historically turned their backside to Binnenrotte are increasingly reconnecting to the square. By enabling this transition, the square is further turning into a lively part of the city that is well connected to its surroundings.

Additionally, the square should become a more pleasant place to stay when there is no market. We have designed the space with both situations in mind and extensively researched the optimal outcome. To this end, we also redesigned the whole market set-up itself. In the new layout, the side paths between the stands, connect to the side streets of the Binnenrotte creating a clear connection between the market and the city.


Pleasant place to stay

The greenery plays an important role within the renovated square; there are three fan-shaped areas with trees and large elevated green spaces with a diverse assortment of planting so that the square has something to offer during every season. In front of the Laurenskerk is a sunbathing lawn with a waterfall, the showpiece on the square. This ensures that visitors can stay and enjoy the pleasant atmosphere provided. Another remarkable feature is the natural stone strip, ‘The Strip of Möbius’, which we designed together with artist Jeroen Doorenweerd. The strip is positioned in the middle of the pavement and stretches along the full length of the square.


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