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The living room of entrepreneurial Rotterdam

The iconic Holbein House located at Coolsingel 65, corner of Stadhuisplein in Rotterdam is being renovated and made ready for the future.

Kraaijvanger Architects is once again involved. Previously, between 1951 and 1954, the Rotterdam architectural firm designed the Holbeinhuis for the 'Basler Transport Versicherungs Gesellschaft'. Now Kraaijvanger is creating a distinctive, exclusive signature that combines historic, classic elements with a contemporary, urban interior with a tough Rotterdam touch. Together with CBRE Development Services, they are turning the Holbeinhuis into a leading workplace for professional companies in Rotterdam. Users will be able to move in by mid-2023. CBRE Advisory & Transaction Services Office Rotterdam is responsible for the lease.

The Holbein House was built between 1951 and 1954 for the "Basler Transport Versicherungs Gesellschaft". The design was in the hands of the Kraaijvanger brothers. The building is named after the German painter Hans Holbein the Younger, who portrayed Erasmus four times. The 34-meter tall building was determined primarily from the urban design of the Coolsingel. In order to make the post-war Coolsingel (even) wider, but retaining the pre-war Hotel Atlanta, a double building line was devised. A number of taller buildings pushed forward followed the Atlanta building line, and in between came lower buildings on the receding building line, creating wide sidewalks. The building has a low-rise section as a transition to the lower buildings of City Hall Square and a set-back roof structure. This emphasizes the line of sight to the Town Hall and marks the passage from the Town Hall Square. The geometric layout of the Holbein House emphasizes the verticality of the design. The washed gravel concrete of the facade clearly anchors it in the 1950s. On the facade, the mosaic of 14 by 6.80 meters, created by Louis van Roode, covers three floors. It depicts two cities linked by the Rhine, at the top of Erasmus' native city "Roterodamum", below his place of death "Inclyta Basilea", where he lived for a long time and published his most important works, and in between Erasmus on horseback, as he traveled from Italy to England when the idea for the Praise of Folly was born. The entire first floor, the basement, and the first floor were programmed by a café-restaurant when it was occupied. The well-known Amsterdam restaurateurs Dikker and Thijs, from the Leidsestraat, took up residence here with café-restaurant Belmont. There was a beer cellar, a café and, on the first floor, a restaurant and a flamingo bar. Over the years, the combination of offices and catering establishments made the building a magnet for commerce and the outgoing public.


The objective is to create a building that meets the user requirements of contemporary office users and the owner's sustainability ambitions. In this way we try to make the building sustainable and future-proof, and thus more attractive to office tenants. The upgrade of the buildings and the public space in the immediate vicinity emphasize a contrast with the rundown appearance of the Holbeinhuis. The building is in need of a quality impulse that will enable it to regain its former allure. The above objectives can be achieved by making strategic, technical and architectural interventions in the building, such as a substantial improvement in the shell finish level of the office spaces, the renewal of the entrance areas including other common areas in the building and an upgrade of the facade.


The ambition is to tackle the overdue and outdated impression that the building gives and to realize a contemporary office building that is also ready for the future - while retaining the 'monumental' character of the facade. The idea is to sustainably improve the spatial quality of the general (multi-tenant) areas of the building and to rejuvenate the technology.

After the renovation, the Holbeinhuis will have 9 high-quality office floors ranging from 450 to 1,100 m² GLA. In addition, upon completion the office will have two roof terraces, one of which will be communal, a mezzanine with coffee facilities and landing areas, flexible meeting facilities and meeting places in the basement, and a hospitable host. After the renovation, the building will have energy label A and BREAAM Very Good thanks to the installation of LED lighting, heat recovery and the use of green roofs, among other things.










Athora Netherlands N.V.


David Hess, Chantal Vos, Jan-Hein Franken, Jason-Brouwer-Broekhuizen, Joon Hung Park


1100 sqm

The beginning of wisdom is to know yourself. - Erasmus