independent school for the city

Practical Stuff

The Independent School for the City is an interdisciplinary and proudly independent education platform that offers unique opportunities for ambitious professionals from all over the world to delve into the issues at the very forefront of contemporary Urban(ism) theory and practice through an educational programme of Stories, Strategies and Action. The Independent School for the City offers various stand-alone courses, ranging from a 4-day crash course on filmmaking in relation to architecture and the city, to an intensive 12-week programme on contemporary urbanism. The activist and multidisciplinary approach of the Independent School is strongly embedded in all activities, whether you participate in one single course or sign up for all of them.

The School is open to all personalities that deal with the City - not only those with a background in Architecture and Planning - but also History, Sociology, Art, Psychology, Film, and other urban studies. - the more diverse the backgrounds of the students, the more interesting things will get!


We are located in the heart of Rotterdam (NL), next to the Central Station in Rotterdam Central District - East. Our neighbours include Het Schieblock, Annabel, Biergarten Rotterdam, Roodkapje Rotterdam, Burgertrut, De Dépendance, Opperclaes and OMI Rotterdam. The school is situated in a wonderful modernist building, by the illustrious Rotterdam architect Hugh Maaskant which was originally designed in 1955 for the Boekman firm and served as an office building, conference center and cafe-restaurant. 

Rotterdam is a young and dynamic port city, internationally renowned for its innovative drive, unpolished charm and its distinct character. A fascinating place to study because of its rich history of architecture and urban planning, and the varied transformations that are now occurring across its rapidly changing landscape. The Independent School for the City is strongly rooted within the city of Rotterdam and within more than a century of architectural and urban renewal at an international level, from Michiel Brinkmans' Justus van Effen block in Spangen via the Lijnbaan by Jo van den Broek and Jaap Bakema up to OMA’s De Rotterdam and MVRDV’s Markthal. To understand Rotterdam, it is important to recognize that it is not a city that excels through coherence, harmony or even the beauty of its architecture. It is special because of its experimental nature and the fact that things are being built here that can only happen elsewhere much later. This has to do with the concentration of architects in Rotterdam, but especially with the extraordinary challenges that Rotterdam has always posed to architects and urban planners. Read more

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