MVRDV - MVRDV designs temporary observation platform spelling HVH for Hook of Holland

MVRDV designs temporary observation platform spelling HVH for Hook of Holland


Visitors to the Hook of Holland can enjoy a historical late summer. Diorama Nieuwe Waterweg, one of the most important pieces from Rotterdam’s city collection, is being presented in a special way to mark the 150th anniversary of the Nieuwe Waterweg canal.

A replica of the 100-square-metre painting by Dutch artist Jaap Gidding can be seen on the roof of iCOON. This former bunker, once part of the Atlantic Wall, currently serves as a museum and is located at the far end of the Hook of Holland. MVRDV has designed a viewing platform, in the shape of the letters HVH (after the Dutch name Hoek van Holland), from which visitors can see the work – with the real Nieuwe Waterweg in the background.

© Bas Czerwinski

Diorama Nieuwe Waterweg by Jaap Gidding (1887-1955) is considered the Rotterdam equivalent of Rembrandt’s famous Nightwatch. It is a symbolic work in the sense that it connects central Rotterdam to its surrounding districts all the way to the coast – including the Hook of Holland, which is officially a district of the city. Measuring 5 by 20 metres, the canvas is larger than life but, partly due to its size, is rarely put on display. The last time it was shown was during the celebratory exhibitions during Rotterdam’s stint as Cultural Capital of Europe in 2001. The 150th anniversary of the Nieuwe Waterweg canal is an excellent opportunity to draw attention to the diorama and the importance the Nieuwe Waterweg has had on the development of Rotterdam as a world port. The exhibition on iCOON also anticipates the new metro station, opening this autumn, that will connect the centre of Rotterdam directly to the beaches of the Hook of Holland, boosting the development of the area and further emphasising the relationship between the two cities that was established by Gidding’s work.

The design for the viewing platform is a nod to an earlier MVRDV study in which a collection of buildings bearing these letters was proposed as an advertisement of sorts for the Hook of Holland. Visitors can walk and climb through it and experience Gidding’s artwork from various angles. HVH is a temporary installation in the best MVRDV tradition: playful, suitable for a wide audience, and designed to generate attention for undervalued places. Previous MVRDV installations include The Stairs to Kriterion, the Rooftop Walk, and HNI Podium.

For Rotterdam, this is a way to celebrate the city's history. Since the closure of Museum Rotterdam in 2020, the city has been considering a new historical city museum. In the run-up to this, pop-up exhibitions and events will be organised at various locations in the city, under the title You too! - The Story of Rotterdam. In this way, the city's collection remains visible and alive, and its history is interwoven with that of the Hook of Holland.

Dates and times
The lookout point is located at Badweg 1B in Hoek van Holland and has free access.
Opening hours: Saturday 10th September to Sunday 9th October 2022 (11.00-sunset).

The viewing platform at the Hook of Holland is being constructed in partnership with Dutch Steigers and PanelPrint.