Ronald McDonald Sophia House

A temporary second home for families of seriously ill children in Rotterdam

Escaping the hospital environment in a cruise ship

The Ronald McDonald Sophia House offers a home for families of young patients at the Erasmus Sophia Children’s Hospital. A place where people can relax, talk with other families, or withdraw for privacy.

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The Ronald McDonald House in Rotterdam is located right beside the Erasmus MC-Sophia Children’s Hospital. Parents of children kept in hospital can stay in accommodation in a building that does not look anything like a hospital or part of the Erasmus MC-Sophia complex. Both inside and outside, the design exudes a maritime feel in honour of Rotterdam, a port city of global importance.

A home far from home

Both inside and outside, the Ronald McDonald Sophia House is reminiscent of a cruise ship. Inside this nautical world, the parents and siblings of a children committed to hospital find a ‘home far from home’ and can stay close to their child. Parents can sleep, cook and eat here, just like at home. In this way, family life is maintained as far as possible.

Nautical feel

The site of the Ronald McDonald House is relatively small (c. 400 m²) and triangular in shape. This shape was translated architecturally as the hull of a giant ship, built in brick and with railings and round windows. An incision in the triangle offers a view of the guestrooms located inside the ‘ship’. The theme of the building is ‘Rotterdam World Port’ and this is reflected in the appearance of the building. This has resulted in a design full of character, firmly anchored in the city. And with its nine storeys, it offers wonderful views of Rotterdam.

Far away from the bustle

The 'ship' contains 28 guestrooms with bathrooms, various living rooms, a central kitchen and dining area, play areas and a Ronald McDonald Living Room. This room serves as a day space, where the families of sick children can relax in a domestic atmosphere. The play deck on the second floor offers day room for the siblings of sick children. A large roof terrace provides a pleasant, quiet place where parents and children can sit outdoors to escape the bustle of the hospital.  


The nautical style continues in the interior, which is the work of VFD architects. This firm also designed interiors for the cruise ships of the celebrated Holland Amerika Lijn.