Andy and I are getting acquainted with our new city by starting with the most popular tourist destinations first and I HAVE to share them here with you all. This first spot is just a five minute bike ride from our apartment. Conveniently, it’s also right next to another famous destination (Markthal) where you can grab a tasty and quick bite to eat. If you’re planning a trip to Rotterdam, visiting the iconic cube houses (or “Kubuswoningen” as they’re called in Dutch) is an absolute must.
A Brief History of the Houses
WWII destroyed most of Rotterdam’s original buildings in the city center. As the city was rebuilt, it earned itself a reputation for having some of the most unique and modern architecture in the Netherlands. Amsterdam and surrounding cities have quaint old buildings, cobblestone roads, and cozy canals. On the other hand, Rotterdam has a much more modern vibe.
In 1977, an innovative architect by the name of Piet Blom was commissioned to design the now famous Cube Houses. The 39 cube houses all sit at a 45 degree angle. They come together to form what Blom called a “forest” of homes. His idea was that each house would be a “tree” and together they would make a “forest” (village) of “trees” (houses). A road built under the “forest” of houses leads straight into the city center.
Visit the Houses
Though visiting the outside of the houses is free, if you want to tour the inside of one of the homes you’ll pay a small fee. I highly recommend doing this upon visiting. It offers a totally unique perspective on what living inside one of the cubes would actually be like. Aside from the model cube, the houses remain private residences.
The houses are around 100 square meters each (a little over 1000 square feet). Unfortunately, it is difficult to utilize all of the interior space due to their angular walls. Each house has three floors; a first floor with living room and kitchen, a second floor with two bedrooms and a bathroom, and a third floor flex room. And in traditional Dutch style, there is a narrow and steep staircase separating each floor. Check out some pictures from the inside of the model cube house below.
The houses are wildly creative, and the bright colors coupled with the retro palette used throughout the model adds so much character. Consequently, you can see how they have become one of the most visited tourist spots in Rotterdam. I personally think they are fascinating and feel lucky to have been able to visit and learn about them.
Does architecture interest you? Have you visited the cube houses before? Would you want to?