Hardly a riddle, the iconic arch of Markthal got most of the spotlight because of the peculiar design and quirky decorations. Local architectural disputes aside, the real puzzle is the functionality of this construction. EM got the connoisseur’s insight from Tudor Enea, 22, an EUC student from Romania.

Text and photo’s: Kate Sytnik

Rotterdam’s step child

After 5 years of construction, on October 1 2014, Queen Maxima hosted the grand opening of the Markthal. Rotterdam’s main square, Blaak, was finally stamped with a horse shoe. An indoors market, gourmet stores, cafes and restaurants, apartments, and even archaeological display – there is enough space for everything.

While the tourists point their cameras at the hypnotizing ceiling with gigantic flowers and take numerous selfies of their reflections in the numerous glass surfaces, the locals rush by to get the groceries done. Taken with a pinch of salt in the beginning, the Markthal is very much appreciated now. The crowds circulate through the space almost nonstop.


Tudor’s review

“I love cooking, so for me the Markthal is truly a gem. Having travelled quite a bit, I try to experiment with different cuisines. One evening I can wind up spaghetti Bolognese and another time I am in the mood for sushi. No matter what I am up to, I can always find all the necessary ingredients at the stalls here. I enjoy the diversity of the products on offer. Plus all the produce is fresh and is really cheap. That’s also true for the regular market, of course. But the problem is that it is only two times a week and as a student I can’t always find the time to go on the market days.

“To be honest, I simply enjoy going to any kind of market. It is one of the most typically Romanian things. Unlike here, we have it every day. Wooden stalls, little gypsy kids trying to sell you stuff, bargaining with the salesman to get the best price. Our markets are always open space, though. If it rains, everyone is really screwed up. So I think Markthal is a good interpretation of a traditional market for Rotterdam’s conditions.”

What is a ‘must try’ in Markthal?

A Chinese bun at the Asian bakery counter! My girlfriend loves it. In general, the Asian supermarket is cool for the sushi stuff.

Visitor’s tips

Make sure to choose the right time. It’s generally best to visit in the early morning or just before the closing in the evening. Otherwise, you will have to throw some elbows to make your way through.