Innovative and inspiring nicely sums up Rotterdam, the major port city in the Dutch province of South Holland. The Netherlands' second largest city has a diverse community, a captivating maritime history, and an abundance of excellent museums.
The city is like an exhibition of futuristic architecture, an achievement made even more remarkable given Rotterdam was literally razed to the ground during World War II. The north side of the city is easy to discover on foot. The Maritime Museum has vintage ships and exhibits that trace the city's seafaring history, while the Pilgrim Fathers Church is the site where pilgrims worshipped before embarking for America.
The rapid expansion of Rotterdam’s art scene, and the surge of quality dining and drinking venues make the port one of Europe's most exciting cities. The 17th century Delfshaven neighbourhood is home to canal side boutiques and shopping, and is one area of Rotterdam that still offers an impression of what the city looked like before the bombings. [ReadMore]
Split by the imposing Nieuwe Maas shipping channel, the city is crossed by a collection of tunnels and bridges, notably the dramatic Erasmusbrug – nick-named “the swan”. The innovative Cube Houses, tilted at 45 degrees, are a quirky discovery, as is the Schouwburgplein square. The renowned Blijdorp Zoological Garden, is also worth a visit.
The Windmills at Kinderdijk
The UNESCO-listed Windmills of Kinderdijk were built in 1740 to keep the low lying lands of Alblasserwaard dry. The 19 beautiful windmills stand
as part of a larger water management system to prevent floods and today they represent the wonders of the Dutch water management program.
The medieval city of Delft is lined with narrow canal streets full of stunning architecture and fascinating history. Famous for its Delftware, the unique blue and white pottery which was originally duplicated from the porcelain made in the 17th century by Chinese artists.
If you love architecture then a visit to Rotterdam – with its patchwork of architectural styles – is a must. Icons of the Nieuwe Bouwen era stand beside the typical reconstructionarchitecture from the sixties, seventies and eighties. They clash cheerfully with the hypermodern landmarks that have been built in recent decennia: the Erasmusbrug, Rotterdam Central Station, De Rotterdam, the Timmerhuis and of course the Markthal. The unique Cube Houses are one of the city’s most iconic architectural attractions. Designed by Dutch architect Piet Blom, this residential development stands apart as its homes are literally cubes, tilted over by 45 degrees.
Known as Europe’s busiest port, Rotterdam has a rich maritime and seafaring history. The Rotterdam Maritime Museum brings this important history to life with a permanent collection, special exhibitions and historic ships and cranes that allow you to experience how Rotterdam’s world port began on this very spot.