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The Tijdtrap: free exhibition about archaeology of Rotterdam

You are moving through time on the escalator experiencing the history of Rotterdam. The Tijdtrap is a permanent exhibition in the escalator section and parking lot underneath the Markthal Rotterdam, showing the archaeological artefacts that were excavated from the construction pit.

The Markthal is at the heart of the city, near to Hoogstraat, below which the remains of the dam in the Rotte lie. The site of the origin of the city of Rotterdam.

The exhibition is open daily and entry is free of charge.

A brief history of medieval Rotterdam around the Markthal

The Markthal is located near the Hoogstraat. This is the spot where the city of Rotterdam came into existence around 1270, on a dam that was constructed in the river Rotte. In the construction pit of the Markthal, archaeologists of the municipality of Rotterdam conducted excavations during 2009 and 2010. Many hundreds of artefacts dating back to the Middle Ages and later periods were retrieved, as well as parts of the houses and yards that made up the medieval dictrict Westnieuwland. Remains of older houses, predating the city of Rotterdam, were also revealed. They can be ascribed to the settlement Rotta and are approximately 1000 years old!

Many finds, such as weapons, tools, jewelry, kitchen utensils, and food remains, paint a vivid picture of what daily life was like in Rotta and in medieval Rotterdam. As the excavations progressed deeper and deeper, the further the archaeologists went back in time. For Rotterdam this is unique since, due to the bombardment which took place in May 1940, nothing of the medieval city has been preserved above ground, with the exception of the Laurenskerk.

The Tijdtrap exhibition

Every floor in the parking lot (-2/-3/-4)of the Markthal corresponds with a specific period from the rich history of Rotterdam. Descending the ‘Time Stairway’ one travels back in time. Using the escalators you literally move back in time: from the present day, passing a thin, compelling layer representing World War II, to pre-war Rotterdam and the Golden Age. Subsequently you will find yourself in late-medieval Rotterdam and finally at the settlement Rotta that thrived approximately 1000 years ago.

Were open at opening ours of the Markthal and entrance is free. 

For more information about The Tijdtrap or guided tours, please contact