The proposed Rijnhavenpark turns three sides of a harbor in a rapidly developing section of Rotterdam into a continuous waterfront landscape. Floating parks connected to the north and south quay walls complement a new 22-acre park on the filled land to the east, all linked by pedestrian and bicycle circuits. At the inland edge, two new plaza entrances adjacent to metro stations welcome park users from adjacent neighborhoods and beyond. The park will provide spaces for active recreation as well as unprogrammed areas to accommodate every kind of visitor.

Situated in an industrial area across the Nieuwe Maas River from central Rotterdam and adjacent to a diverse residential neighborhood, the Rijnhaven is the planned site for extraordinary urban growth. The Rijnhavenpark will be an anchor for this future development while meeting public space needs for residents of existing neighborhoods nearby.

To create a sense of belonging in the Rijnhavenpark, MVVA pairs “civic” urban landscapes for social gathering and “wild” natural environments for exploration and escape. Varying the ways these two types of landscapes interact and overlap maximizes the diversity of experiences available.

A variety of flexible open spaces accommodates many of the activities requested during the public outreach process, including a flat, 2.5-acre green and a lawn bowl pressed slightly into the ground to shelter users from the wind. The shaded, meandering Central Promenade connecting the two main entrances leads visitors through all the major civic spaces of the park’s eastern edge, while framing a series of views to the harbor.

While the Rijnhavenpark must offer a richly varied set of experiences to meet the needs of a diverse and growing population, it is also designed to bring users together in a shared experience of landscape and civic belonging. Rijnhavenpark can be a model for inclusive and inviting development in Rotterdam.

Metro Plaza

The proposed “wild” edge at the east end of the harbor is narrow, but it will feel expansive thanks to the uninterrupted harbor views. This edge will unfold to reveal a variety of waterfront ecologies. Native and adapted plants are composed to form a functioning ecosystem where users can “visit” the Dutch countryside. A planting scheme that balances the realities of durability, hardiness, and ease of maintenance with year-round beauty will create a satisfying regional identity for the new park.