Harbour Experience Center, Port of Rotterdam building development, Dutch architecture, Visitors destination images

Harbour Experience Center in the Port of Rotterdam

24 Oct 2021

Architects: Kossmanndejong and MVRDV

Location: HEC, Amaliahaven, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Harbour Experience Center Port of Rotterdam

Harbour Experience Center, Rotterdam

The Harbour Experience Center (HEC) is located in a beautiful location – on the border of land and sea. At the end of the Amaliahaven, near the current recreational beach of Maasvlakte 2. The building has been designed by MVRDV architects. Kossmanndejong contributed to the overall concept and will design the exhibitions, experience, and interior. The HEC is expected to open its doors in the first half of 2024.

Harbour Experience Center Port of Rotterdam

Permanent accommodation
The HEC will be the successor to FutureLand, which was opened in 2009 as a temporary information center about the construction of Maasvlakte 2. Since then, Futureland has considerably broadened its stories about the port of Rotterdam. From its opening, the center proved to be a success with more than 100,000 visitors a year. Because this temporary building is coming to an end, the Port Authority needs permanent accommodation. The new building will become a place that is surprising and informative for the general public as well as representative and inspiring for companies and stakeholders.

Harbour Experience Center Port of Rotterdam

Stronger together
Kossmanndejong, in collaboration with the Port Authority, has developed a concept with both a public function and a professional meeting place. The port not only offers space for professional activities but also acts as a reference center for its activities and future plans. For instance, you will soon be able to visit the exhibition, have lunch or dinner, have a meeting, or participate in an event or excursion.

Harbour Experience Center Port of Rotterdam

In the concept, these functions are radically intertwined. Meeting, workshop, and exhibition spaces are organized in such a way that you feel the energy of creativity, and innovation throughout the building. Someone in a suit can be in the elevator with a school class, and who knows, maybe they inspire each other. In this way, the Port Authority will take everyone along in their ambition for now and the future – their partners, day-trippers, politicians, and staff.

Harbour Experience Center Port of Rotterdam

Shape and contents
The concept took shape in a building designed by MVRDV. It is a stack of five rotated square volumes, each with a large panoramic window that always gives a different perspective on the port of Rotterdam. The heart of the building is a monumental atrium that connects all floors.

This makes the building a kind of periscope that can turn in different directions and allow the visitor to look at the harbor in different ways. Each block has a different theme and its specific design and scenography. Together they form a special and kaleidoscopic experience. The building tells a story from afar – the harbor has many sides. Whoever comes closer and goes inside can discover endless layers and connections.

Harbour Experience Center Port of Rotterdam

“The strength of the plan lies in the collaboration between the Port Authority, MVRDV, and Kossmanndejong. Thanks to the integrated approach, there will soon be a rock-solid center that perfectly complements and reinforces each other in form and function.”
Herman Kossmann, co-founder Kossmanndejong

Harbour Experience Center Port of Rotterdam

A space for meetings, conversation, and inspiration for everyone
Kossmanndejong will use its expertise in the coming period to facilitate meetings in an interactive, cheerful, and inspiring way. There are three exhibition floors, each with its own theme. The floors are connected by the central atrium where a kinetic installation hangs.

Harbour Experience Center Port of Rotterdam

This grand gesture in the middle of the building depicts the various aspects of the port and its mutual coherence. It connects everything in form and content. Visitors can also take a trip around the outside of the building, past the roof terrace, and then back down. Along the way, visitors can stop at one of the showcases that have been incorporated into the architecture of the building, and on the rooftop, with special tower viewers, they get a closer view and sound of their surroundings.

Harbour Experience Center Port of Rotterdam

Harbour Experience Center Port of Rotterdam

“The new public center shows the complex, dynamic world of the largest and most modern port in Europe. The center allows you to discover the port and understand what it means for society, the economy, and the environment. Major changes such as the energy transition and digitization are explained understandably.”

Harbour Experience Center Port of Rotterdam

Richard van der Eijk, Director Communications & External Affairs Port of Rotterdam.
About Us: Kossmanndejong designs spatial stories for museums, organisations, events and public space. Recently Project What if at WeTheCurious, Bristol (UK) opened, and two projects won the prestigious European Museum of the Year Award of 2020 and 2021 selected by the European Commission: exhibitions ‘Life’ and ‘Death’ in Naturalis and ‘Fake.Die Ganze Wahrheit’ in the Stapferhaus in Lenzburg (CH).

Harbour Experience Center Port of Rotterdam

Harbour Experience Center, Port of Rotterdam images / information received 241021 from MVRDV Architects


Location: Rotterdam, The Netherlands, western Europe

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Comments / photos for the Harbour Experience Center, Port of Rotterdam design by Kossmanndejong and MVRDV page welcome