We live in the world’s most vibrant melting pot, with over half the population being foreign-born. One of these cities is Rotterdam. The diverse neighborhoods are guarded by “the wide gates” of its port, which opened centuries ago to trade with the world. The city is the heart of the Dutch canal system.
The city is famous for its canals, in which all kinds of boats are sailed in varying styles. Docks line the river, where it meets the Rhine, the Meuse, and other bodies of water.
Rotterdam is also known for its modern architecture, which is rightly associated with Rem Koolhaas. The entire built area has around 250,000 inhabitants in 17 neighborhoods. The city consists of several districts: Oude Zuid (the oldest district), Nieuw-Sloten (a historic neighborhood), West ultimately New Flower Quarter, and Vredepark Forest District.
In autumn 1831, the first steam locomotive in Belgium was used on the railway line linking Antwerp and Rotterdam. The city was also the first one to get running water and electric lighting.
Rotterdam is known for its vibrant culture, which includes a great deal of music, art, and theater. The city has many museums like Kunsthal (Art Hall), which is a flexible exhibition space with different themes every year. The Boijmans van Beuningen (Boijmans van Beuningen Art Museum) offers an artistic view on history and culture from all over the world. Design lovers should head to Motel Mozaique for exhibitions and performances by young designers and artists. The public library has more than 12 million books. Rotterdam is also the home of the “Kunstakkoord”, which brings together all outstanding artists when they are in the city.
Rotterdam is considered to be one of Europe’s best cycling cities, with 5,000 km (3,100 mi) of bike paths all across the city. Cycling is also a popular mode of transport in the Erasmus University area, which consists of several campuses. The main campus is located near the Erasmus Bridge and includes several faculties, such as social sciences and law. The location of the Erasmus University and its many faculties and activities makes this an ideal place for students and graduates to open their own businesses.
The city also has a large student population, which provides a thriving nightlife full of pubs, clubs, and restaurants. At the Poelestraat you will find student bars like Poelestraate Duycker (PD) as well as the famous “De Maegd” (the maid) there you can enjoy live music. There are several local football clubs in Rotterdam, such as Excelsior and Feyenoord. But the most famous of all is Sparta Rotterdam, which is considered one of the strongest teams in the Dutch premier league.
The city is also very active culturally. The famous Zomer van Rotterdam (Summer of Rotterdam) kicks off every summer with a lot of open-air activities from street art to dance and music performances. The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra performs at the famous De Doelen concert hall. Culture lovers will not want to miss the appelpop music festival, which takes place every year at the “Fort Blijdorp”.
About 10 km (6.2 mi) south of the city center is Euromast, a 165 m (541 ft) high-rise tower with an observation deck, which offers a spectacular view of the city and its surroundings. It’s also possible to see ferries and other ships enter and leave port from the observation deck. The “Witte Huis” is an office building on Prins Hendrikkade, which was designed by famous Dutch architect Johan Otto Schoemaker. The building was constructed in the 1930s and is characterized by white façades and pillars.
The Koopmansbuispoortbrug, which is 172 meters long (564 ft) and 26 meters (85 ft) wide, is the longest bridge in the province of South Holland. It connects Rotterdam with Hook of Holland, where there are ferries to Great Britain. The bridge itself used to house a terminal for trains that were bound for Belgium and France before it was converted to a bridge in the 1960s.
From Rotterdam Central Station it’s also possible to catch trains to Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brussels, and Paris. The travel time to Amsterdam is around 40 minutes. To plan your train trip, download the 9292 app from the Appstore/Playstore, it’s what Dutch people use to plan their trips.
The city of Rotterdam is considered to be one of Holland’s best food cities and its many restaurants will show you why. The bustling neighborhood of Dansaert Street is home to the student quarter and is well known for its food and a large variety of pubs and bars. In 1994, the city even played host to the World Gastronomy Summit.
The biggest and most popular food market in Rotterdam is located on Blaak Street. The market is open every day and sells a wide variety of fresh, high-quality products from vegetables to flowers and fish. The flea market “Vlooienmarkt” takes place once a month and attracts many visitors with its large assortment of second-hand products.
The Mövenpick Hotel Rotterdam – Euromast offers unique views of the port and the harbor area from its restaurant on the 35th floor. The hotel is located near Euromast (Euromast Inn) on Prins Hendrikkade. The hotel has 216 rooms, including 3 suites. The restaurant offers delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes in a casual atmosphere with stunning views of the harbor.
The Hotel New York is located in the heart of Rotterdam’s city center, near the Dom Church and the Hofplein. This budget hotel offers rooms with modern amenities, free WiFi, and a breakfast buffet. Some rooms have views of Blaak Street while others overlook Hofplein Square. The hotel also has meeting facilities that can accommodate up to 70 people.
The B&B Houseboat is an apartment houseboat moored at Blaak 301 in Rotterdam’s central district. It has several apartments from which guests can enjoy a stunning view of the city center.
If you are looking for a spot with unbeatable views of Rotterdam’s city skyline, the top deck on Euromast is the place to be. It’s one of the most popular places in the city to take a drink or a bite to eat. From the top deck, you can see domes of churches and skyscrapers, as well as ferries coming and going on a daily basis. The restaurant is located on level 35 and offers a great view of Dutch architectural marvels such as Lloyd tower. The 26 m wide (85 ft) glass-fronted elevator will bring you up from ground level to Euromast in 30 seconds flat.
The Rotterdam Golf Club is located on Koningin Wilhelminalaan, right behind Beursplein in Rotterdam’s city centre. The golf course was designed by world-renowned golf architect Donald Steel. The club has various membership categories, but the ability to play 18 holes for € 29 per person is open to everyone. The course has many well-kept paths spread over 120 acres. With all the inspiring nature in Rotterdam, Golf lovers will love it here!
The Vondelpark is located right behind Rotterdam’s city center and can be reached via public transport: metro and buses. The park is famous for its lake and flower gardens, making it one of the largest parks in the Netherlands. On summer evenings, there are various concerts throughout the park.
Rotterdam’s many beaches are located on the banks of the river Maas. The beaches are clean and safe for swimming, with outdoor showers available at some spots to rinse off after bathing. However, because of silicosis, explorers should not enter Rotterdam’s water unless wearing a protective suit. Rotterdam has many other lakes dotted around the city which offer safe swimming after heavy rainfall. The city also has several canals which are great for biking or walking along.
A selection of Rotterdam’s many museums can be found within the city center, including the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, the Kunsthal, and De Doelen. You can also take a boat trip up or down the Maas to experience Rotterdam’s many bridges. The Maasboulevard is one of Europe’s most important cultural boulevards with its 19th-century buildings. This boulevard connects the Stoomgouden Leeuw (Golden Lion) castle on top of Castle Hill with an elegant canal along which you can see barges and trams. The canal is lined with museums. The museums are so eclectic that you will be compelled to linger long into each one. You can read about the history of Rotterdam in the Stoomgouden Leeuw castle on top of Castle Hill or learn about the art of printing at “De Adriaan Fokker Haarlemmermeer”. Rotterdam has even created a book fair to rival Frankfurt’s book fair. The Stroomtent is a tent-like architectural structure located next to Stroomtoren which houses several shops and restaurants inside.