The Maastunnel in Rotterdam is having a birthday soon! On 14 February 2017, the Maastunnel will be exactly 75 years old. To coincide with the 75th anniversary of ‘Our Tunnel’, the Kunsthal Rotterdam, in collaboration with the Municipality of Rotterdam, is devoting an entire exhibition to the oldest tunnel in the Netherlands.
The Maastunnel, with its exceptional ventilation building designed by architect Ad van der Steur, has been a protected and popular ‘Rijksmonument’, a Dutch national monument, since 2012. What role does the tunnel play in the history of Rotterdam and how do the people of Rotterdam feel about this icon connecting North and South Rotterdam? The people of Rotterdam all have their own experiences and memories of the tunnel, whether it’s taking their bikes up the wooden escalators or driving through the yellow light that bathes the tunnel. The Kunsthal brings the history and the future of the Maastunnel to life through films, photographs and stories.
Experience the tunnel at the Kunsthal
The exhibition examines the tunnel’s preparation and construction, the usefulness and necessity of having a second cross-river connection, the engineers involved, and the design. The Kunsthal exhibition features a mock-up tunnel wall, including parts from the original wooden escalators, the typical yellow sodium lighting, and the mosaic, and offers the option to cycle through it, all of which give visitors a real ‘tunnel experience’. They can experience the tunnel with the stories of people that have lived through special moments in or near the tunnel, such as the story of three young scamps from Charlois who in 1942, just before it opened, entered the tunnel wearing worn-out shoes and torn clothing. Authentic film material about the building, repairs to the characteristic escalators and the placing of the artwork ‘HIER’ (here) and ‘DAAR’ (there) by architect Vesta Kroese illustrate what goes on in and around the tunnel.
Ready for the future
With major renovation and restoration work in store from mid-2017 to mid- 2019, the exhibition provides a glimpse of the future of the Maastunnel. Using virtual reality glasses, visitors will be able to see what is going to change in and around the tunnel. You can read more about the tunnel renovations at www.maastunnel.nl (online from 14 January 2017).