Rotterdam Festival Explores Another Level Of Urban Space

In the past number of years, rooftops have increasingly become popular venues for a wide variety of events in cities around the world. This trend has also touched down in the high-rise city of the Netherlands- Rotterdam, but up until now these have largely been singular events that marvel visitors with great views of the city for only a short number of hours. In the hopes of combining this energy into a collective urban experiment, from June 11-14 a new festival will be taking over the rooftops of Rotterdam.

For the first edition of Rotterdam Rooftop Days, inspiration has been pulled together from various initiatives that have previously found use in the city’s rooftops. This festival promises to be a memorable experience for visitors of all ages, with many events scheduled to take place on rooftops across Rotterdam. During the four-day event, dozens of buildings will be opening up their roofs to the public as meeting spaces, bar and lounge areas, and hosting events including pop-up rooftop concerts, and activities for children.

Roofs as alternative social spaces

Roofs as alternative social spaces

Playground on the roof of Jan Prins and Willibrord School, Rotterdam

Playground on the roof of Jan Prins and Willibrord School, Rotterdam

While the full program of the festival is being kept a secret, organizers are offering us some teasers as to what can be expected. So far we know that the rooftop of Groothandelsgebouw will host an impressive new cocktail bar for the event, which is sure to be a crowd favourite. Also, unique rooftop projects such as the one designed by architects at MVRDV will be opened to the public during the festival. Didden Village is a rooftop extension built to create the feeling of a small village on top of a private residence, complete with enclosed rooms, trees, benches and pathways, and it has been nominated for several prominent architectural awards. By not revealing the exact locations of certain activities until the last moment, there is an element of suspense and exploration added to this experience.

Didden Village, designed by architects at MVRDV, is just one of the venues that will be open during the festival. Photo: Jos Stoopman

Didden Village, designed by architects at MVRDV, is just one of the venues that will be open during the festival. Photo: Jos Stoopman

Rooftops turned into screening rooms during the Architectural Film Festival Rotterdam. Photo: Frank Hanswijk

Rooftops turned into screening rooms during the Architectural Film Festival Rotterdam. Photo: Frank Hanswijk

A festival such as this pushes our conception of what urban space is and what it can be, by demonstrating the possibilities for previously un-used rooftops. Rotterdam Rooftop Days offers visitors the chance to explore these possibilities in entertaining and creative ways throughout the festival. For the duration of this event, and hopefully beyond, the various roofs throughout the city will function collectively as a new layer of urban space – one that exists high above our city streets. Organizers hope that this festival will stimulate the utilization of rooftops throughout the city and demonstrate the ways in which rooftops can contribute to a sustainable urban future.

Rotterdam Roof Days

Tickets start at €10 for adults, and are available for the public days of this event from the festival’s website. To get you excited about what is sure to be a great event, Pop-Up City has 2 pairs of tickets to give away to our readers! To enter the draw simply send an email to mail@popupcity.net. Hope you’re not afraid of heights!

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