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The Dutch Just Built the Coolest Market of All Time


We got it pretty good over here in America re: eating things. American food culture—especially cheese— is one of the best and most diverse in the world. Farmer’s markets are all over the place. We make croissants, donuts, and cronuts. We can have our slow-grown, organic produce and specialty food products on the one hand, our extremely unnatural yet completely delicious processed foods on the other, and we eat both, too.

But the Dutch, in addition to being an all-around great and friendly people and magnificent constructors of dams, have stepped up their foodie game with what I am compelled to dub the Sistine Chapel of food markets: the Markthal Rotterdam, designed by Dutch design firm MVRDV.

Markthal aerial view

Constrained by new governmental regulations which ban traditional open-air meat and fish markets (because hygiene), MVRDV came up with the ingenious idea of building an elongated half-dome covered with enormous glass panels at either end.

Markthal exterior angle

Markthal glass panels

The end result: lots of light, big ups on food safety, and a gorgeous, enormous mural by artists Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam named, very appropriately, “Cornucopia.”

Markthal Mural

Did I mention that there’s also 228 apartment units?

Markthal apartment

And of course there’s cheese.

Markthal cheesemonger

Deciding to live there would probably be the easiest decision of my life. But then again, I do love these United States. So how about it, architects? Can I get a Market Hall Boston anytime soon?

Markthal Interior

Check out The Atlantic’s City Lab for more details.

Photo Credits: MVRDV

Grant Bradley

Grant Bradley is culture's former web editor and never ceases to thank his nameless human ancestor who figured that leaving some milk around for a while and then eating it was probably a great idea. Raised on California’s Central Coast, educated in the Pacific Northwest, and transplanted to New England, Grant likes to write, edit, and code things.