How the Euromast began
Euromast, since 1960
The Euromast was built in 1960 by architect H.A. Maaskant and contractor J.P. van Eesteren to mark the occasion of the very first edition of the Floriade, the international flower and garden exhibition, taking place in Rotterdam.
From Euro Tower to Euromast
In November 1958, Rotterdam newspapers made the announcement that the tower was to be called Euromast. ‘Euro’, because Rotterdam lies at the heart of the European Economic Area and ‘mast’ because this term is known not only to the Dutch, but also to the English, Germans, Swedes, Norwegians and Danes. The word is nearly the same in other languages as well. In Poland it is written ‘maszt’, in Finland ‘masto’ and in France ‘mât’. The Spanish use ‘mastil’ and the Portuguese refer to ‘mastro’. Mast is even similar to the Russian word ‘matsjta’ and the Japanese ‘masuto’.
The first pillar
The first pillar was hammered in on December 10, 1958 by Mayor Van Walsum, dressed in a slicker and with a hard hat on his head, as described by the newspaper, Het Vrije Volk. Students of the Werf Wilton-Feyenoord Business School cheered on the workers, chanting: ‘Hey-ho! Hey-ho with those 130 posts!’
100-meter high ship’s mast with bridge and crow’s nest
At a height of 32 meters, Maaskant provided the tower with a replica of a ship’s bridge, complete with navigational equipment and a map room. Here, the visitors could experience what it is like to navigate a ship at sea.
Above that in the crow’s nest, at 100 meters in the air, came two restaurants. The Rotisserie, with an exclusive menu, silver cutlery and a luxurious ambiance. A restaurant for the public with views in all directions. Designed as a theater and furnished in various shades of orange. On the ground floor, there was a cafeteria where visitors could order microwave meals. (Quite unique for that time!)
Sizing up the Euromast
The tower, made from reinforced concrete, has an inner diameter of 9 meters with walls that are 30 cm thick. The foundation is made up of 131 concrete pillars. Resting on this foundation is a solid block of reinforced concrete that weighs 1,900,000 kg, as a counterweight for the structure towering above the ground. This gives maximum stability, pulling the center of gravity underground. The crow’s nest is a steel construction of 240,000 kg. Its floor hangs 96 meters above the ground. The crow’s nest was put built at the foot of the mast and, after just 5 days of construction, was hoisted up to the top of the tower. The ship’s bridge was positioned at 32 meters high. Elevators in the Euromast move at a speed of 4 meters per second. Meaning that in just 30 seconds you are carried 100 meters up in the air!
Restaurant hoisted in five days
With this headline on July 11, 1959, the Nieuwe Rotterdamse Courant newspaper reported on the hoisting of the crow’s nest restaurant. This 240-ton monster was lifted up to the top in an ingenious way in just five days. Hundreds came to watch on those warm summer evenings as it glided along the mast at a steady speed of 15 cm per quarter hour. When the restaurant had reached 100 meters, the operation was complete and had taken exactly 131 hours.
On March 12, 1959, the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper called upon its readers to guess the exact time the Euromast would be built up to it’s highest point. By adding an extra 50-cent postage stamp to their submission, participants in the contest were able to make a contribution to the Princess Beatrix Polio Fund. The context was a success. On March 26 at 2:59 p.m., the sirens could be heard from across the harbor; this signal announced the completion of the first phase of the construction. The contest raised an amount of 67,000.– Dutch Guilders and the four winners were invited to collect their prizes: car, scooter, television set and washing machine.
The highest building of Rotterdam
In the sixties, the Euromast was 101 meters tall. High enough to stand out against the skyline of this city along the Maas. It wasn’t long before other buildings caught up to this pride and joy of the city of Rotterdam. In 1970, the Euromast made a comeback. With the placement of the Space Tower, the Euromast grew another 85 meters. This made the Euromast, once again, the highest building in Rotterdam.
The Euromast was not Maaskant’s only contribution to the Rotterdam skyline. In the 1950s and 60s, he had a significant influence on the reconstruction of the city. Already in 1949, he built the apartment building Zuidplein and, in the early 50s, the Zuidwijk homes. Later on, his office produced the designs for the Groothandelsgebouw, the Hilton Hotel and the flats along the Lijnbaan. With the Euromast, he gave the port of Rotterdam an eye-catching maritime monument.
Faraway cities in view with clear skies
Over the first ten years, more than 6 million visitors came to enjoy the view. On a clear day, they could see as far as the cities of Antwerp, Moerdijk and The Hague. And even when the weather is not as nice, Rotterdam lies below to admire in all of its glory.
Euromast – did you know?
In August 1962, 6 employees were arrested for suspicion of fraud with the entrance tickets • In March 1964, the Euromast hostesses received new uniforms designed by Rotterdam couturier Cargelli. A golden-yellow suit with black blouse and a hat in the shape of a round box of bonbons • On April 25, 1964, the Euromast surprised its 2,5 millionth visitor; Mrs. Groot from Aerdenhout was given a bouquet of flowers and a complimentary lunch and weekend stay in Rotterdam • In May 1964, a commercial radio channel from Luxemburg set up in the Euromast to broadcast their Sunday afternoon programme: ‘Teener Topper Tijd’ (meaning Teen Top Times). The reason for this location is symbolic: it embodies the European ideology. Stars such as Françoise Hardy, Adamo, Anneke Grönloh, Wil Tura and Ciska Peters joined for the programme • In September 1965, Feyenoord won from Real Madrid and triumphantly waves the red-white Feyenoord flag from the Euromast.
The Euromast nearly lost it’s title as highest building in the country in the 1990s with the ambitious plans for the Parkhaven Tower. A tower 392 meters high, designed by the London architect practice Kohn Pedersen Fox, was to become the new tourist attraction of Rotterdam. As the largest building of Europe, it would be equipped with living space, workspace and a touristic function. In the end, the Municipality of Rotterdam prevented the plans from being further developed.
A new beginning in 2004
Thanks to the involvement of the Hotel New York Group, the Euromast underwent a total transformation in early 2004. Their verdict: everything but the view was to be renewed. The restaurant was given the allure of an inviting brasserie with a new, contemporary interior (designed by Jan des Bouvrie) and an international menu. Rotterdam could now add this to its list of fantastic dining options at a unique location.
On this website you can learn all about 37 towers throughout the world that have joined forces in the World Federation of Great Towers (WFGT), of which the Euromast is a member.