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Markthal Rotterdam: a child-friendly food court

The four of us literally gasped when we stepped out of the elevator into the Markthal Rotterdam. It is indeed a rather impressive sight. The colorful roof of the Markthal Rotterdam is decorated with drawings of butterflies, raspberries, snails, pineapples and many, many flowers. Our eight-year old summed it up pretty nicely when he said: “It’s just as if we are really small and look up at the sky as if we are ants.” The Markthal is both an indoor food court and grocery shopping center. And it caters to families as nothing else.

Markthal’s multicultural snacks

Rotterdam is one of the Netherlands’ most multicultural cities. So it’s no wonder that this Markthal – indoor market square – offers food and drinks from many countries and cultures in the world. There is so much to see – and taste. We had fun just walking around and looking at the food on offer. From sushi to churros. And from chocolate fountain to tapas bar. As the city of Rotterdam itself, its Markthal is a trendy mixture of cultures. With Dutch cheese, dried fruit and nuts from the Americas and exotic vegetables and fruits from the Caribbean. I just love the Surinam stall! Olives from northern-Africa, saucissons, bread and macarons from France and … donuts from the USA. Yes, donuts. The most colorful I had ever seen. We bought one for the kids. Each. But we also bought a pomelo, Rotterdam cheese and artisan ice-cream.

We walked around the Asian supermarket Wah Nam Hong for a bit and tried to explain the children about all the different kinds of krupuk, rice and herbs. The smells are amazing. Nothing like the real deal, I am sure. But this small peek into different worlds offers children an insight into how other people eat and live. And if they don’t want to try the sushi, but opt for the donut instead? Well, I’ll keep on trying…

Colorful Donuts Markthal Rotterdam with children

Markthal restaurants

If you and your family are looking for something more substantial to eat, there are a few restaurants you might like. Some food stalls have a ‘roof top’ terrace that offer a few seats. But on the sides of the Markthal, you can find places which have a larger seating area and that cater for families. Such as Elliniko The All Day Greek, burger and wine restaurant Firma Pickles and Basque restaurant BasQ Kitchen.

Restaurant Markthal Rotterdam with children
The perfect spot for a snack and a drink
Dried Fruits Markthal Rotterdam with children
Dried fruits from all over the world
Chinese supermarket Markthal Rotterdam with children
Chinese supermarket finds
Roof Markthal Rotterdam with children
Flowers, butterflies and raspberries

Practical information

Markthal Rotterdam is open 7 days per week, on most days from 10 AM until 8 PM. On Sundays, you can visit the Markthal from 12 till 6 PM. The Markthal is located in the city center of Rotterdam, next to train and metro station Blaak. There’s a large parking underneath the Markthal, which is open all day and night. The website www.markthal.nl is in Dutch only. It has a section on stalls, restaurants and grocery stores.

P.S. Looking for more things to do in Rotterdam? Have a look at my Weekend fun in Rotterdam blog.

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