Rotterdam is one of Holland’s coolest cities, with a chilled-out vibe similar to that of Amsterdam, but with fewer crowds. This is a young, dynamic city which constantly reinvents itself with a constantly changing skyline and buildings.
During the Second World War, large swathes of Rotterdam were destroyed by German bombing campaigns. Instead of restoring the city’s old architecture, the council took the opportunity to build a new city and develop a modern port.
The city has plenty of modern, daring and innovative architecture which has helped to create a bustling and optimistic atmosphere within the already-progressive Rotterdam. The city’s skyline is sometimes referred to as Manhattan on the Maas due to the large, modern buildings.
What to do in Rotterdam
Euromast (185 m. high) is the place to go for the best view in town where you can enjoy a panoramic view over the whole of Rotterdam and its incredible skyline.
The Erasmus Bridge, is one of the best examples of the city’s mighty architecture and is known locally as The Swan because of its graceful pylon.
The Overblaak Development is one of the city’s most interesting architectural achievements. All of the houses are designed to look like trees, giving the impression of an urban forest right in the middle of the city.
There are a number of fascinating museums for tourists in Rotterdam including the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, which includes works by Bosch, Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Dali. The Nederlands Fotomuseum provides an insight into all aspects of photography. The Maritime Museum tells the story of the city’s harbour.
If you’re travelling as a family, then a visit to Blijdorp Zoo is a must. Blijidorp also includes Oceanium, a large public aquarium packed with marine wildlife which doubles up as a centre for research on conserving coral. The Kids’ Marina is great for children and is Rotterdam’s most enjoyable water attraction, although the Familiepark Plaswijckpark is also a great day.
You should also visit De Ster and De Lelie mills. They date back to the 18th and 19th centuries and are located on the banks of the beautiful Kralingse Plas lake.
Sandy Hoek van Holland beach which is 30min train ride from the centre of Rotterdam. If you prefer the atmosphere of a bigger city beach, go to Scheveningen beach closer to the city.
Shopping and dining
Rotterdam also has a lively shopping culture. The well-known shopping streets in Rotterdam are located in ‘Lijnbaan’. The major department store is the ‘Bijenkorf’. Around the city centre you'll find many unique boutiques. If you are keen on bargains, take a stroll around the market.
As a major international port - and the largest in Europe - there's also an electric range of cuisines on offer in Rotterdam's many cafes and restaurants. Parkheuvel is one of the best restaurants in Rotterdam. Bazar offers delicious Mediterranean and Oriental food. STROOM is built in an old power station and allows you to watch the chefs in action.