Rotterdam is a modern-yet-historic picture-perfect city in the Netherlands that offers you bits of everything you enjoy about travelling. We travel for different reasons.
Many of us wander the world to escape and explore new cultures, taste an entirely new cuisine and seek adventure, among other things, according to Travel Earth. The good news is you can do all these things and more while here. Here are just 10 top reasons to visit Rotterdam.
The best form of escape and to immerse yourself in all things beautiful. Rotterdam’s amazing city architecture lets you step inside a whole new world.
Rotterdam was bombed hard in WWII. Instead of rebuilding, the city reinvented itself and transformed the city layout and skyline as some of the best and most unique in Europe. A case in point is the row of eccentric Cube Houses.
From a distance, the sight is surreal, as if you were looking at a magazine picture. Architect Piet Blom designed the cube houses on Overblaak Development in the late 1970s to resemble trees in the forest. The eccentric architect succeeded.
The yellow homes are topped with cubes tilted at a 45° angle and resting on a hexagonal pylon. One of the houses has been transformed into a museum so you can look inside and imagine how it is like living in a modern architectural wonder. Each house is an actual residential building.
Markthal is Rotterdam’s newly built market hall that looks like a giant upside-down horseshoe. It is really eye candy.
You would love to see the painting on its ceiling called the “Horn of Plenty”, which is actually one of the largest artworks in the world.
Other than for its architecture and artistry, visit Markthal to shop at its stores or grab a bite from the restaurants and food kiosks.
You can’t miss Erasmus Bridge when travelling from the southern part to the northern part of the city. It is one of the longest bridges in the country, genuinely representing Rotterdam as one of the city’s most iconic landmarks.
People have nicknamed it “The Swan”, because its looming mast resembles the graceful neck of a swan. Designed by architect Ben van Berkel in 1996, Erasmus Bridge is 800 metres long and 139 metres high.
Completed in 2013, this is one of the newest architectural wonders in the city. Named after one of the original ships on the historic Holland America Line, De Rotterdam is the biggest building in the Netherlands and is now dubbed as a “vertical city”.
It consists of three towers that house hotels, restaurants, offices and residences. The building design is so unique that you would think you are looking at a different building when viewing it from another angle.
Art and culture
As you tour the city on foot or bicycle, don’t be surprised to see outdoor sculptures, installations and street art all around. Rotterdam is known to highlight Dutch art and culture in its many museums, the most popular of which is Museum van Boijmans Beuningen.
Museum van Boijmans Beuningen
This is one of the oldest and most well-known museums in the Netherlands and one of the finest in all of Europe. Come here to see an impressive permanent collection that includes works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Monet, Mondrian, Magritte and Dalí.
An entire exhibition room in the Surrealism wing exclusively features the works of Dalí, displaying one of the largest collections of his works outside France and Spain.
Located at the Museumpark in the Dijkzigt district of Rotterdam, the museum got its name from its two benevolent benefactors, Frans Jacob Otto Boijmans, who donated his personal collection in 1849, and later industrialist Daniël George van Beuningen. The museum also houses a fine display of sculptures and decorative arts
Maritime Museum is a harbour museum and one of the largest of its kind in the world. A huge collection of artworks, cartography, and maritime objects are displayed, such as figureheads from various ships, different navy uniforms, sea battle flags, and historic vessels and cranes.
You will be transported to Rotterdam’s maritime past, which played an important role in the city’s development and economy.
This is a national institution located in a former warehouse down on the riverfront. The Nederlands Fotomuseum boasts of having over 5 million amazing photographic images from major Dutch photographers such as Ed van der Elsken, Aart Klein and Cas Oorthuys.
Check out the ground floor galleries to see pictures from big-name photographers from around the world. The museum also hosts special exhibitions featuring young up-and-coming talents.
In addition to being an architectural landmark, Markthal is the first indoor market in the country. Inside are more than 100 stalls selling fresh produce that you can sample. There are also restaurants and cooking classes.
Enjoy local Dutch favourites, as well as Spanish tapas, exotic Indonesian dishes and so on.
This is a two-Michelin-starred restaurant named after its owner, Francois Geurds, a former sous chef at Heston Blumenthal’s famous Fat Duck in Britain. People have different favourites here, but mostly FG’s Bonbons. They are A-grade bonbons, prepared with Valrhona Guanaja 70%.
FG is also popular for its specialty drinks. Its wine list has been awarded The Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence. FG also boasts of having the most extensive champagne list in the country, with over 170 types of champagne and over 140 different magnums.
You haven’t sampled local Rotterdam foods without visiting Bazar. This place has the authenticity of a bustling souk, serving North African and Middle Eastern cuisines, from falafel pita sandwiches to Royal Persian lamb accompanied by sweet mint tea.
Windmills of Kinderdijk
The Netherlands is world-renowned for its amazing windmills and 19 of the most magnificent ones are found in the humble village of Kinderdijk, within biking distance from Rotterdam. The windmills of Kinderdijk were built by hand in the 17th to control the flow of water and prevent flooding.
This place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its cultural and historical significance. Seeing these gigantic and ancient structures is quite an experience. They are impressive, magical and a definite must-see.
Need more reasons to visit Rotterdam? The city has a lot more in store for you. Remember, travelling is the best time to lose yourself, escape, go on an adventure, learn new things and immerse in a new culture. You can get all these and more while in Rotterdam.
Ask The Dutch Guy is your go-to guide when it comes to The Netherlands. The goal of Ask The Dutch Guy is to showcase the beauty of The Netherlands and to inspire others to explore the country. Read more about Ask The Dutch Guy. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.