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Inside the Plan to Build a Giant Luxury Windmill in Rotterdam

There's a hotel, a sky lobby, and even a massive roller coaster inside The Dutch Windwheel, from architects DoepelStrijkers.
April 23, 2015, 5:00pm
Images courtesy of DoepelStrijkers, via

A version of this article originally appeared on The Creators Project Netherlands.

Sometimes it's no fun to be from Rotterdam when everyone around you is from Amsterdam. Chauvinism isn't new to me, but it's not something I can take pride in when it comes to football. Fortunately, there is one thing my city dominates, and that's the future of architecture. The heart of the port city is grinding away at numerous sites with new icons including the Market Hall and The Rotterdam (a Rem Koolhaas building). Now, architects DoepelStrijkers, with partners Meyster's and BLOC, are raising the bar even higher with their design for The Dutch Windwheel, a nearly 600 foot high wind turbine which includes a hotel, apartments—and even a roller coaster.

"Well, roller coaster is a strong word," Duzan Doepel of DoepelStrijkers tells The Creators Project over the phone whilst drinking a beer on a sunny terrace. "It's more like a Ferris wheel with 40 cabins riding around on rails. Like the London Eye, but different. The attraction first begins underwater, you can stop off at the sky lobby, or finish your round and enjoy the harbor and the view of Rotterdam." Clarification: the building consists of two rings. The outer houses the ride, while the interior houses a hotel, apartments, and the sky lobby.

The Dutch Windwheel would mainly be a tourist attraction, with economic gain for the city as a result. "Many Chinese citizens make a European tour. They go through London, Paris, Brussels and visit the Kinderdijk indeed, but often skip Rotterdam." According to a calculation of the Dutch Board of Tourism & Conventions, the windmill is projected to bring one and a half million visitors each year "but that's still a very conservative estimate," says Doepel.

The architectural feat requires durability, with the implementation of EWICON being one of its biggest pillars. EWICON is a new wind-generating technique designed by professors John Smit and Dhirad Djairam TU Delft, that uses hollow steel tubes filled with water to generate energy with wind and friction. To date, the technique has only been proven on a small scale, wnd will have to evolve to realize the Windwheel. "We're working on it," says Doepel.

Ultiamtely, the question arises: Will it ever be real? "Our phone is red-hot, a lot of parties are interested," says Doepel. "We are first working on a feasibility study and we are in talks with several parties, like the municipality of Rotterdam, developers, and universities to advance the plan." Overall, it would take around two years, he says, but if Rotterdam is canceled, there are always other options. "We also have an interest in Las Vegas."


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