Rotterdam wasn’t on my first list of places to visit during this month in the Netherlands. However ever since the Eurostar made a stop at Rotterdam central on the way to Amsterdam, I have not been able to get the Beautiful South song out of my head so I gave in. There was also a direct Flixbus ride from Leeuwarden so it made sense to visit ahead of The Hague.
The first impression on walking through the centre of Rotterdam was that it is nothing like Amsterdam. The skyline is much higher and it feels so vast whilst Amsterdam for me felt cultural and cosy with all the canals leading into each other and I never felt like I was in a capital city.
So let’s forget Amsterdam and give Rotterdam it’s moment in the limelight which it so deserves. I’m going to take you through a few of the activities I enjoyed during my 4 night stay but I have to say that there is so much more to do and see depending on your interests. During my stay, I got a Welcome Card for €5 which gave me a discount in certain places and was certainly worth purchasing.
Cube Houses: You can’t help but notice this set of houses as you look out from the Market Hall or walk through the centre. They stand out amongst all the other architectural projects within the centre and they are interesting to visit and photograph. Luckily, one of them is open as a museum and only costs €3 to visit. It’s a great example of a tiny house and inside is bigger than I expected it to be. The houses form a great project where the houses look like a forest thanks to the architect Piet Blom.
Erasmus Bridge: Crossing the Erasmus Bridge over the river Nieuwe Mass is a great experience in itself especially when all the traffic stops and the bridge rises to allow water traffic to pass. You can cross the river by boat or water taxi or you can take the tram across the bridge, however none of those can beat the experience of walking across and being blown in all directions. It is worth crossing the bridge and river to visit the Hotel New York which used to be home to the Holland American Line where the Dutch took liners to their new home in New York. There is a left luggage depot art piece which captures the idea of them having left their lives behind in Holland before heading off to fulfil their dreams.
Fotomuseum: For €14 this is a wonderful museum to visit as it houses 4 separate exhibitions which will keep you focussed for about 2 hours. It doesn’t open until 11am so you may wish to explore other areas nearby. There is the ‘This is Cas’ from Cas Oorthuys exhibition which includes various photo collections from the countries he has visited and photographed as well as many other parts. The Charlotte Dumas collection was especially interesting when you hear how she chose which photo to use from the museum and the links it shares with her own experiences. You can also visit ‘The Mix’ which shows themes portrayed by 2 artists in different decades.
The Market Hall: This is great to look at from the outside especially when you realise that there are apartments around the outside too. Inside the artwork will attract your attention as will the varying food and drinks on offer.
Free walking tour: The walk started in the rain with Willem the guide and a small group of tourists from various countries and we walked around for over 2 hours taking in the sights and history of Rotterdam. Very informative and enjoyable and I love the concept of these walks as you learn so much from the enthusiastic local guide.
There are many more museums and sights to see that I’m sure everyone can find something to occupy them no matter what your interests are. There are shopping areas, the church is worth a visit and you’ll see Erasmus statues and his name dotted around. There is also the Erasmus Experience in the library which I really enjoyed and wrote about it here Debating with Erasmus in Rotterdam.