I made a few postings at the beginning of January (3,6, 8) about Rotterdam’s new Markthal where I questionned how much food shopping was actually going on – I have just come across a post on the Sustainable Food Trust site by Zoe Nielsen who makes similar observations. She compares the Markthal in Rotterdam with the new Foodhallen in Amsterdam, housed in a renovated tram depot which also includes a public library, an independent nine-screen cinema, a nursery, a hairdresser and a number of other small independent businesses and offices.
There are some nice photographs of the markets and she concludes that ‘while the Markthal’s top-down approach to the development of a lucrative indoor market falls flat, the Foodhallen with its cheerful chaos and packed crowds feels as though it’s already a local institution – despite a soft opening and almost no PR. The approach seems simple enough: a regenerated building, an effort to become part of the community rather than transform it, and a total dedication to working only with independent vendors‘. Sounds like it’s worth a visit.
You can read the full article here
What is the identity/function of the new Markthal in Rotterdam? It seems conflicted. Creating a tourist destination seems high on the list and there is a stand selling brightly coloured souvenirs; and traders have used their imagination to create structures like the ‘log cabin’ selling soup, that even comes with a rope swing for children to play on.
But this is also a ‘temple of modernity’ with supermarkets taking a high proportion of the retail space and fresh food within the market space is presented rather too perfectly for me. I’ll write more about the food on sale in both markets next.
I’ve just been to Rotterdam Markthal and it’s given me plenty to think about – you can see how the old traditional market sits in front of the new building. I wonder what it’s like floating above it and living in one of the flats ? The inner facade doesn’t disappoint – it is spectacular! But, despite the freezing rain, all the real food shopping still seemed to be taking place outside in the old outdoor market that people have been using for years. I’m going to follow-up with some more thoughts and photos.