Rotterdam is a city in South Holland, and the 2nd largest in The Netherlands with a population just under 650,000.
Rotterdam has Europe’s largest port, and offers quite unique and modern architecture. In fact, it is the only Dutch city with a real skyline.
If you are traveling to this dynamic city, be sure to follow our recommended to-do’s!
See the Cube Houses (Kubuswoningen)
Rotterdam’s Cube Houses were designed by Dutch architect Piet Blomin the 1970’s as an innovative way to reallocate space in a cluster of buildings, to maximize both space outside and usage inside. The buildings, narrow at the base and expanded at the top, mimic trees in a forest. Except in Blom’s interpretation, they are bright yellow and perfectly geometric and modern!
The collection includes forty cubes, one of which has now been named a museum for visitors. Inside, notice that there are three distinct floors:
- The first floor is a triangular space for a living area
- The second floor holds bedrooms and bathrooms
- The third floor is most commonly a garden or spare room
Stroll down Witte de Withstraat
The Witte de Withstraat is one of Rotterdam’s iconic shopping streets, filled with local designers, boutiques, and restaurants and cafes. Here you will get a true feel of the culture and take home some of its innovation.
If the weather is nice, sit outside on the large terraces and enjoy some people-watching, too!
Go to the NederlandsFotomuseum
The NederlandsFotomuseum is a massive collection of over 5 million images. The museum celebrates both past and present, famous photographers and up-and-comers, and local and international.
You can find every type of photo here; the dynamic collections can appeal to any visitor. Plus, the museum frequently hosts exhibitions and productions with partners from around the globe.
Shop in GROOS
GROOS is a store that embraces the creativity of the city – only offering locally made products. Support local innovation and artistic nature by picking up something to remember your trip by. The store sells furniture, home products, clothing, jewelry, stationary, and more!
Walk across Erasmus Bridge
The Erasmus Bridge, connecting the north and south, is a cable-stayed and bascule bridge in Rotterdam. It is named after humanist, priest, and teacher Desiderius Erasmus. Note that Erasmus University, also based in Rotterdam, is named after him as well.
The bridge is commonly referred to as ‘The Swan’ because of its blue arching structure supporting the cables on one side.
Only about 20 years old, this bridge is a significant landmark in Rotterdam and has already earned its part on the city’s logo.
Eat at the Fenix Food Factory
The Fenix Food Factory is an old warehouse that has been repurposed to become a food market. The building embraces its industrial design and is dressed in vintage furniture and hip accents.The space, predominantly concrete with some graffiti and mixed material support, features local eateries that change frequently– a bakery, a cheese shop, a meat shop, and even a brewery.
The Fenix Food Factory is open every day of the week, except Mondays.
Go to the Markthal
The Markthal is truly a work of art; a sight for sore eyes from both the inside and out. This exceptional horseshoe-shaped building has office and residential space within the thick frame of the arch, and a marketplace in the open center. Throughout, it is adorned in artwork, modern architectural influences, and plants.
Visitors can walk through over 70 stalls in the market, offering a blend of local food and shopping.
Go inside the St. Lawrence Church
The St. Lawrence Church is Rotterdam’s only medieval building that was not completely destroyed in World War II – standing as Rotterdam’s oldest building.
This church greatly contrasts with the rest of Rotterdam’s modern architecture, and is widely appreciated as a symbol of strength and endurance.
Enjoy the view atop the Euromast
The Euromast, built in 1960, is a 185-meter-tall tower over Rotterdam. Rather than just offering an observation deck at the top, the Euromast has something to do along the way up.
A visit at the Euromast can include:
- Reaching the top for breathtaking views of the city
- Sharing a meal at one of two restaurants on the way up
- Abseiling down the building on a rope and pulley
- Staying overnight in one of two available hotel suites
Take a Boat Ride
As home to Europe’s largest port and surrounded by water, a boat ride is the perfect way to get to know Rotterdam from a different perspective. Learn about the trade system, architecture, and history and making of the city.
Or, you can take a 30-minute ferry to the Kinderdijk windmills – a Dutch classic and another UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Books on Rotterdam
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Keira is a business development professional with a passion for travel, writing, and fitness. After she earned her Bachelor’s degree and committed to a New York City apartment, she promised herself that she would leave the state at least once per month. Since then, she has moved to Europe and shifted her goals to embrace new countries – their food, culture, music – all of it. And with great travel comes great responsibility to share stories.