It's time to celebrate, because the Koopgoot is 25 years old. Wow! Do you remember when the Koopgoot was built? Or how many years have you been walking up and down those somewhat uncomfortable stairs, to shop in some of the nicest shops in Rotterdam?
A real Rotterdam icon, the Beurstraverse, uhh... The Koopgoot of course! The start of your day in Rotterdam. Where you can score beautiful outfits, shop for gifts or enjoy a tasty snack. Where previously in the summer the water fountains provided a cooling atmosphere, where great events are organized every year and where the Christmas lights give you the real holiday feeling in winter.
It was in 1996 when the two main shopping streets, Hoogstraat and Lijnbaan, were connected. This is how the Koopgoot was born. A sunken shopping street that officially bears the name 'Beurstraverse'. It didn't take long before the inhabitants of Rotterdam gave it a new name.
But where did that name come from? It actually started during the construction, when the inhabitants of Rotterdam were disapproving of this new development in the city. A nickname with a negative tone.
The Beurstraverse remained the official name for a long time, and is still the street name to this day, but a few years ago it was decided to use the Koopgoot as a brand name. The name stuck in popular speech and in the meantime no longer had a negative connotation. Now we hardly know any better: it's just the Koopgoot!
Nevertheless, the people of Rotterdam still like to take part in some healthy complaining. Every time they walk up and down the stairs of the Koopgoot, for example. Mini passes or, if you like to fly, giant passes when skipping a step. Recognizable?
Fortunately, this is not a design flaw, but a conscious choice of the makers. Did you know that the stairs are made in such a way that the ambulances or fire engines can easily go down? Very smart, actually!
Perhaps the most famous shopping street in Rotterdam. Here you will find the world famous chains, but also cool pop-up shops and nice gift shops. Fun events are also regularly organized and you can feast your eyes here every winter thanks to the Christmas lights.
You are in the right place for your outfit. Because at the Urban Outfitters, H&M, Zara, Cotton Club, and of course the Bijenkorf you will find the most beautiful items.
Looking for a (Christmas) gift? Then go to the KKEC. Here you will find everything. Think of crazy mugs, fun fill-in booklets or planners, funny games (for example about the Friends series), posters and much more.
For a tasty snack head to Dunkin' Donuts, or of course Belicio Cheatday, which will delight any sweet tooth.
In short: the Koopgoot has become the starting point for a visit to Rotterdam, where you can easily spend a few hours.
KKEC has been in the Koopgoot from day one. We asked entrepreneur Peter Muller how this started.
"As soon as there was talk of renting out, we registered in this project with Multivastgoed and were one of the first stores to open in August 1996. We were convinced that the Koopgoot would become a good retail location because it would connect the Lijnbaan with the Hoogstraat. And in a very attractive way, because you no longer had to cross the busy Coolsingel. The project radiated a previously unknown ambition in style and use of materials and promised to become the new heart of Rotterdam."
But when Peter got the key it was still a bit scary. The stairs had not yet been completed and there was still no working elevator.
"I remember very well the first time I walked down the stairs under construction and thought ... Just my luck! Those stairs are not easy to walk on and I am now at the bottom of these stairs!"
But luckily that didn't stop the shoppers and Peter's prediction has come true.
"In the 25 years that we have been in the Koopgoot, there are many good memories," says Peter. "The opening was unbelievably spectacular and I can still see Wim Kok coming down the stairs first. It seemed as if he had people running after him all over the Netherlands, commercially it was just right at the start!"
Peter has a lot of great memories of the Koopgoot, it was and is the place to be when it comes to creating experiences. For example, the collaboration with the Circus School, with spectacular acts. Or the Kookgoot events where visitors were surprised by real Rotterdam restaurants at long tables in the street.
Another milestone for Peter and KKEC was four years ago when the store got a complete makeover. And after all these years, it is still the store where they sell surprising and distinctive products.
Peppernuts is in the Koopgoot for the second year already. A location that is ideal for such a seasonal shop.
"We have chosen the Koopgoot because it is always nice and busy and the area is decorated very nicely for the holidays. Now also with that great Christmas tree and the gift box. Something you will not see anywhere in the city," says founder Miguel.
The coming period is very important for Peppernuts: "This week Black Friday and after that we are getting ready for Sinterklaas, a big moment for us. Then we pack our things again and come back next year at the end of August!"
Don't want to miss the Peppernuts shop? The sister of Peppernuts, De Peanut Butter Shop, is in the same street! Soon they will also have a completely renewed breakfast and lunch menu here, they will start giving peanut butter workshops and they will sell a real Rotterdam peanut butter.
"Last year we accidentally had bags with Amsterdam on it. When someone saw that, he asked for a thick marker, crossed it out and put Rotterdam on it himself, haha. That was fun!"
The real Lush enthusiasts may remember when the store was on the Hoogstraat. In 2015 they made the choice to move to the Koopgoot.
"Our shop in the Koopgoot is also a lot bigger than the old shop, so we have more space to welcome customers and expand our collection. All in all, we are very happy with the space we have obtained in the Koopgoot! " says employee Levi.
"I think that the Christmas period makes for the best memory every year. It is nice and busy around that period, customers are very happy and the entire Koopgoot is decorated with beautiful lights and Christmas attributes. Christmas music through the speakers makes the atmosphere pleasant and people are mainly looking for a gift for someone special. This often leads to fun, special conversations between the customer and employee."
These small moments with customers can also turn into a pleasant memory. For example, Levi tells that a colleague recently had a client who was getting married and was looking for presents for her bridal night.
"She herself didn't want to know what was in it as she wanted to be surprised, so my colleague selected some nice presents herself that she thought the customer would like very much. Later this customer sent beautiful photos of her wedding and how happy she was with the gifts my colleague chose. We loved this so much! We love it when customers tell us about their experience with our store."
Have you tried their special bath bomb 'The Great Hidden Book' yet? The entire proceeds of this will go to The Black Archives, a historical archive and cultural centre where people can go for inspiring conversations, substantive activities and books from Blacks and other perspectives that often remain underexposed elsewhere. In this way, Lush tries to make the hidden Black history more visible.
The Koopgoot has put a smile on almost everyone's face. That is why the Koopgoot is looking for the most beautiful, funniest or most special memories of the visitors. Memories of this special place, such as maybe a marriage proposal, or a beautiful day with your parents.
Do you have a nice story about the Koopgoot? With a memory you won't forget? Send it in via the Instagram of the Koopgoot or via this link. And who knows, you might have a chance to win a very cool gift package.