10 Reasons to visit Rotterdam

by admin

Rotterdam, located an hour South of Amsterdam, and the second biggest city of the Netherlands, has recently received quite some international attention. It has been named by Rough Guides as one of their Top 10 Cities and by the New York Times as one of the 52 Places to Go in 2014. But why is that?! Here are 10 reasons to visit Rotterdam!

  1. Architecture
    On May 14th 1940, the German Luftwaffe bombed the entire center of Rotterdam. The heart of the city was almost completely destroyed, but it spectacularly rose from the rubble! Wherever you are in this city, beautiful modern architecture is always nearby! The Erasmus Bridge and the Cube Houses are two of the most famous examples. More recently, the Central Station was beautifully renovated and ‘De Rotterdam‘ and the ‘Markthal‘ were built. ‘De Rotterdam’ consists of 3 connected towers and is designed as a ‘vertical city’: you can live, work, shop, and eat there. The ‘Markthal’ is about to open in October and is a huge indoor food hall. It is shaped as a massive arch and is on the inside decorated with gigantic food photo’s.

Kubus woningenDe Rotterdam

  1. Skyline
    Rotterdam is often referred to as the ‘Manhatten on the Maas’. The Maas is the river floating through the city, and together with the great architecture it offers an unique setting for a beautiful skyline. Especially the 2 bridges, the Erasmus Bridge (aka The Swan) and ‘Willemsbrug’, together with the ‘Kop van Zuid‘ stand out. The ‘Kop van Zuid‘ is a new neighborhood located on the South bank of the Maas river. It contains some of the tallest skyscrapers of the country, including ‘De Rotterdam‘ as mentioned above, and the Montevideo. You can enjoy the beautiful skyline from pretty much every angle on the boulevard and of course from some of the tall buildings, such as the Euromast.

Skyline Rotterdam

  1. The Euromast
    Almost every major city in the world has a unique, high, viewpoint, and so does Rotterdam. The Euromast is 186 meters high, with a 180 degrees observation desk and restaurant located at 96 meters. From the observation desk you can enter the ‘Euroscope’: a slowly rotating elevator which will bring you up to 185 meters! If the weather is clear, you can see as far as 30km. Apart from the spectacular view and the restaurant, the real dare-devils can enjoy one of the ‘thrills’: abseiling or rope sliding. The Euromast is the only venue in Europe where you can go abseiling, and from a personal experience I can totally recommend it. If this is not your piece of cake, but you do have big budget, you can always decide to stay overnight in one of the two exclusive suits.

EuromastEuromast view

  1. Art
    The center of Rotterdam is filled with art projects and statues, but the city also has some famous museums. The Boijmans van Beuningen is the main art museum of Rotterdam. The collection ranges from medieval to contemporary art, with a slight focus on Dutch art. Among its best known artists are Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Monet, Kandinsky and Dalí. The Kunsthal (Art Hall) is located nearby, and is an art museum without a permanent collection but a wide range of temporary exhibitions. Other famous museums in Rotterdam include the Dutch Photography Museum and the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, with modern and contemporary art. De Doelen is Rotterdam’s concert hall and home to the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Rotterdam Schouwburg is the cities main theater.

Boijmans van BeuningenRotterdam art

  1. History
    As Rotterdam was completely destroyed by a bombing at the beginning of WWII, you won’t find many traditional historical buildings in this city. However, a couple of places still exists, and they are well worth visting! First of all, the historical part of Delfshaven, a borough on the bank of the river, which was established in 1389. The Dutch East India Company had important wharves and warehouses here. Secondly, the Laurenskerk, a protestant church built between 1449 and 1525. It is the only medieval remnant in Rotterdam. Last but not least, the Old Harbor, which was built in 1350. It was the first part of what is nowadays the largest port of Europe! The White House, Europe’s first skyscraper, is located here as well. The Old Harbor is nowadays a popular spot, filled with restaurants and night life.

Historisch Delfshaven

  1. Restaurants, Festivals and Night Life
    Its scattered across the city, but there is something for everyone. Stadhuisplein (Cityhall square) has many bars, the Old Harbor has cozy restaurants and the Witte de With area is a bit more alternative. Some popular places include Biergarten Rotterdam, Bar, BED, Bird Jazz Club, Cinema, Blender, Toffler, Club Vie, Rotown, and De Witte Aap. This last one was chosen by Lonely Planet as the best bar in the world. Some famous festivals include the International Film Festival Rotterdam, De Parade, Metropolis Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Boothstock Festival, and the 3-day Rotterdam Unlimited city event! Rotterdam Unlimited includes (international) performances, acts and the Carnival Street Parade! Don’t miss it!

Festival RotterdamOude Haven

  1. Cycling
    The Netherlands is known for it’s incredible amount of cyclists and has more than 20.000 km of cycle paths. But even more than other cities, Rotterdam is perfect to discover by bicycle! The cycle paths are usually new, broad, and just everywhere! Cycle along the boulevard and enjoy the skyline, through the city center or through the parks. It’s all very safe as the cycle paths are most of the time separated from the car lanes, so you don’t need to wear a helmet. Bicycles can, among other places, be rented at Rotterdam Central Station. You can also park your bike here in the underground bicycle parking, with a capacity of 3.800 bicycles.

Fietsen

  1. Central Hub
    Rotterdam is an hour South of Amsterdam, an hour North of Brussels and 2,5 hours North of Paris. Next to that, Rotterdam The Hague Airport gives you the opportunity to fly across entire Europe with airlines such as Transavia, KLM, British Airways, Turkish Airlines and Cityjet. Schiphol Amsterdam Airport can also be reached by direct train in 26 minutes. This makes Rotterdam a perfect hub for traveling around Europe! If you want to stay in the Netherlands, you can easily catch a train to nearby cities such as Delft (13 min.), The Hague (32 min.), Utrecht (38 min.) and Amsterdam (42 min.).

Centraal Station Rotterdam

  1. Parks
    Rotterdam has some beautiful parks to enjoy. ‘Het Park‘ (The Park) is probably the best known and is located under the Euromast. You can find various statues, a fountain, the Norwegian Sailors Church, and restaurant Parkheuvel (the first Dutch restaurant with 3 Michelin stars), here. The Kralingse Plas is another nice, peaceful spot to enjoy. It is a lake next to the Kralingse Bos forest, where you can enjoy some swimming, water sports and fishing. Two traditional windmills can be found on the East side of the lake. Close to the Rotterdam Zoo, you also find the Vroesenpark.

Het parkKralingse Plas

  1. Shopping
    If you love shopping, Rotterdam is the place to be. The Lijnbaan and the unofficially-called ‘Koopgoot‘ (officially ‘Beurstraverse‘) include stores such as H&M, Zara, Pull & Bear, G-Star Store, Mango, Levi’s, Hollister, Swatch, Lush and The Body Shop. Some other streets that provide good shopping opportunities are Meent, Witte de Withstraat, Oude Binnenweg, Nieuwe Binnenweg and Karel Doormanstraat. Shops are open all week, including Sundays, and on Fridays until 9pm.
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