11 In Europe/ Netherlands/ Rotterdam

Markthal Rotterdam: The history, a local’s view and top recommendations

Markthal Rotterdam is one of the top foodie highlights to visit all year round, with snacks bars to restaurants to feed those cravings.

The Markthal Rotterdam is classed as one of the top foodie highlights in Rotterdam, perfect to visit all year round like during the Summer and Winter. With more than 40 market stalls with international food and treats, it’s the perfect place for Dutch cuisine too. A must see visit during your stay or day trip to the international city of Rotterdam.

History of the Markthal Rotterdam

In 2009 before the Markthal Rotterdam was built, the area was once used for residential buildings and a school. Since I had moved to the Netherlands in 2008 these buildings were already in progress of destruction and safety measures were already in place surrounding the area. Designed by architectural firm MVRDV.

Photo of how Blaak looked before the Markthal Rotterdam was built

Markthal during the building process

During the building of the Markthal there was a special day where you could take a little walking tour for free through the building site, reaching the bottom level of where the parking garages would be. Here we could see how the foundation of the Markthal was being built. Many historical items were found during the excavation of the site that we could also view, which are now on display within the escalator area in the middle of the Markthal. This exposition is called De Tijdtrap. It was interesting to stand at the bottom, when only a few months before it was full of water!

During the build of the Markthal in Rotterdam

Are you visiting during the Summer? Check out the top Summer 20 things to in Rotterdam!

Official Opening of the Markthal Rotterdam

On October 1, 2014 the completion of the Markthal was officially opened by Queen Maxima. I was just as curious to visit the Markthal as the many thousands that stood at the entrance. However I watched and listened from above as it was impossible to actually walk on the market square below. Plus, living so close by gave me the chance to visit easily on a different day.

Queen Maxima at the opening of the Markthal Rotterdam

Queen Maxima at the opening of the Markthal Rotterdam. Photo source here.

Now & Beyond

The Markthal is made up of 228 apartments (including penthouses), 4600 m2 retail space, 1600 mmarket stalls and an underground 4-storey parking garage. With square glass panels on both sides, the Markthal was designed in a horseshoe shape with plenty of natural light to shine through.

As a local I view it as a little more expensive and luxury to what I normally spend and buy, but I always enjoy a walk through the colourful and lively atmosphere. Designers Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam who designed the colourful ceiling actually created the largest artwork in the world, named as the ‘Horn of Plenty’. The artwork shows enlarged fruits, vegetables, seeds, fish, flowers and insects. It is truly a one-of-a-kind building.

Markthal Rotterdam decoration of the ceiling inside.

Markthal Rotterdam decoration of the ceiling inside.

The Markthal was one of the first buildings in the world that could be seen by augmented reality.

The glass entrance now becomes transformed for many events in Rotterdam too, such as displaying a heart for Mothers Day and a Christmas tree for the Christmas holidays.

Rotterdam view of Markthal, Rotterdam Library, Blaak and Erasmusbrug at night

Many guided walking tours in Rotterdam are now taking you in and next to the Markthal too. This city hotspot is definitely a top place to visit!

The Market Stalls

The market is described as a foodie’s paradise, with the chance to try different types of food from all over the world from the market stalls and restaurants situated inside. Some of the food you can find in the Markthal Rotterdam include:

  • Rotterdam Old Cheese
  • Frozen Yoghurt
  • Local Fish and Haring
  • Churros
  • Fresh Bakeries and Cakes
  • Ice Cream
  • Stroopwaffels
  • Chips
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Herbs
  • Nuts
  • Doughnuts
  • Teas & Coffees
  • Croquettes

The list could easily go on for another 20 bullet points! While walking through I always have to resist buying a sprinkled doughnut or a nutella pancake with strawberries. However these occasional delicious treat is totally worth it. This totally gives away that I have a sweet tooth too.

Doughnuts at the Markthal Rotterdam

Checking out the market stalls of food that I wouldn’t normally eat is interesting too. Such as trying some different nuts, pickles or even bubble-tea from Taiwan. There are up to 100 stalls to check out in total. It’s the perfect place to explore on a rainy day or when you are hungry and can’t decide what to eat.

Nuts and Herbs stall at the Markthal Rotterdam

Cheese stall at the Markthal Rotterdam

Are you visiting during the Winter? Check out the top Winter 20 things to in Rotterdam!

Nutella pancakes stall at the Markthal Rotterdam

Delicious Ice cream stall De Ijssalon at the Markthal Rotterdam

As well as the market stalls, there is an Albert Heijn supermarket for all your necessities and a Chinese Supermarket for cooking oriental things yourself.

The Restaurants in the Markthal Rotterdam

Some of the top restaurants you can check out during your visit include the following:

  • Sumo Markthal – Sushi restaurant
  • BasQ Kitchen – Spanish cruisine
  • 21 Pinchos  – Tapas bar
  • Pastabar Sicily – Authentic sicilian dishes
  • Elliniko – Greek cruisine

My top recommendation is the famous Jamie’s Italian by English chef Jamie Oliver. With seasonal dishes made from using fresh local produce, id happily eat here every month! There is a good section of healthy vegetarian choices too, perfect for those who do not eat meat. It can get very busy during the weekends so keep in mind to book a table.

Jamie Olivers Restaurant at the Markthal Rotterdam

Read more of our Rotterdam posts! 

Rotterdam in Winter

Rotterdam in Summer

Where To Stay In Rotterdam

Spring Photoblog of Rotterdam

The Famous Cubic Houses

Rotterdam Museum ’40-’45 NU

Rotterdam Open Monument Day

Rotterdam Rooftop Days

Practical Information Markthal Rotterdam

The Markthal Rotterdam is open 7 days a week with the following opening times:

Monday to Thursdays, and Saturdays     10:00 – 20:00 

Friday                                                         10:00 – 21:00

Sunday                                                       12:00 – 18:00

It is completely free to visit, but with all the tempting choices of food don’t come with an empty bank account! Furthermore you are also very close to other top touristic attractions like the Cubic Houses and the Oude Haven.


  • Take a good walk around to see all what is for sale
  • Try before you buy – Many stalls offer a free tasting!
  • Don’t feel obligated to buy something straight away

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Markthal Rotterdam is one of the top foodie highlights to visit all year round, with snacks bars to restaurants to feed those cravings.Markthal Rotterdam is one of the top foodie highlights to visit all year round, with snacks bars to restaurants to feed those cravings.

Have you visited the famous Markthal Rotterdam before? What did you think? Did you buy anything delicious that you recommend? Let us know in the comments!

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  • Reply
    29th November 2018 at 10:39 am

    I love a good market hall! They’re great places to find some local food. I bet it was really fun to see the opening of the hall, even if it was impossible to walk around it due to the crowds. I’ll definitely have to put this on the ‘to visit’ list.

  • Reply
    29th November 2018 at 2:00 pm

    This place looks sensational. I can imagine it’s quite difficult to get bored there. I know one thing I would be happy with all the delicious food on offer.
    Thanks for a great post

  • Reply
    29th November 2018 at 9:32 pm

    I’ve seen these beautiful murals on Instagram, but I had no idea about the history of the building. Very cool! The more I read about Rotterdam, the more I want to go! I think I’m well overdue for a trip back to The Netherlands 🙂

  • Reply
    30th November 2018 at 2:46 am

    How incredible that you were able to see it go from what it used to be to what it is now. This truly is a magnificent building and what a wonderful concept.

  • Reply
    30th November 2018 at 4:45 am

    Wow, what a spot to explore in Rotterdam! Was so surprised to learn this building is residential as well. Living so close I can imagine you must often be tempted to make a stop here 🙂

  • Reply
    30th November 2018 at 9:25 am

    I’m so glad you posted this! People need to look beyond Amsterdam and visit places like Rotterdam.

  • Reply
    30th November 2018 at 10:57 am

    I enjoyed eating vegetarian pasta and churros in Markthal. I absolutely loved the fact that one building houses apartments, mall, restaurants and even a metro station – it’s an architectural wonder for sure, just like other buildings of Rotterdam.

  • Reply
    Rachel Silverwood
    30th November 2018 at 11:41 am

    What a fascinating an unique building! I loved reading about the history behind this Iconic structure, you’ve also made me hungry with all this talk of food haha

  • Reply
    30th November 2018 at 12:36 pm

    Those donuts look soooo good that I am ready to buy tickets to Rotterdam just for them! 🙂 I didn’t even know this city has such a huge food scene! Adding it to my list and hope to visit soon!

  • Reply
    30th November 2018 at 6:10 pm

    Omg that looks amazing. Stroopwaffles sound so good right about now. I always love visiting food markets when I travel.

  • Reply
    13th January 2019 at 12:30 am

    Ahh I visited last year and loved it. The building is so amazing and there are so many delicious stalls! xo

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