Renowned for its industrial heritage and its working class roots, the city of Rotterdam has become a dynamic, energetic and innovative metropolis brimming with a host of architectural and cultural gems.
The country’s second largest city provides a dramatic contrast to its arch rival Amsterdam, replacing typically quaint Dutch buildings with visionary structures, and oozing a cosmopolitan yet down to earth character that is sometimes lacking in its neighbouring nemesis. With the intercity train delivering you from the capital’s Central Station in just 45 minutes, Rotterdam offers a fascinating excursion from your Amsterdam apartment that is certain to leave a lasting impression.
Originating as a small fishing village in the mid 13th century, the city developed its trade and commerce through the construction of shipping canals and eventually became one of the largest and most important ports in the world. Devastated by a shattering bombardment during World War II, Rotterdam’s historical core was almost entirely destroyed, resulting in an inspirational reconstruction that aimed to establish a radical and forward thinking future, still evident in its current cityscape.
The harbour remains the largest in Europe and is certainly worthy of discovery for nautical buffs, with the elegant Erasmus Bridge affording splendid views across the water and opposing islands. Boat tours along the Maas River or use of the superb Watertaxi are also recommended for an engaging and unique perspective of the impressive port and its surrounding neighbourhoods.
Another obvious highlight to add to the trip’s itinerary, particularly on clear days,
is the soaring Euromast, a 600 foot observation tower that grants its guests stunning panoramas across the metropolis. A restaurant, a revolving glass elevator, and a selection of adrenaline inducing activities, such as abseiling and a terrifying zip line, are also available for a memorable encounter.
Cultural attractions within the city are vast and varied, ranging from the endearingly retro Sonneveld House Museum to the ever changing modern world of Kunsthal to the architectural wonders of the tilted cube houses, which can be explored in more detail at the adjoining Kijk-Kubus or Show Cube. Art enthusiasts short on time should definitely check out the phenomenal Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, an iconic institute that showcases a superlative collection of artworks selected across the centuries, beautifully located within picturesque grounds.
Another option to consider, especially for those travelling with children, is the wonderful Rotterdam Zoo, consistently voted the best zoo in the Netherlands due to its spacious enclosures, verdant aesthetic, rich diversity and its admirable breeding program.
Restaurants, bars, and boutiques are also in abundance, with a great assortment of all three present on the eclectic Witte de Withstraat, an artistic setting that houses endearing establishments with an alternative vibe. The equally bohemian Pannekoekstraat and its environs host a myriad of vintage stores and trendy cafes, perfect for a pit stop amidst the sightseeing.
For an extended stay in this absorbing city, head here for an excellent range of holiday apartments, available within Rotterdam itself. Detailed advice on how to reach Rotterdam from Amsterdam can be found here. For further information regarding the city and its actions, please visit this website.