A city full of surprises…
If you were in two minds whether to visit Rotterdam or not, then just stop right there and go and book your flight.
First impressions portray a very modern architectural outlook, which initially may feel to lack the quaint charm of other Dutch towns and cities. However, woven in between the striking contemporary lines is a city rich in history with a vibrant culture.
An open mind
Gary and I have visited Holland on a few occasions and in 2017 headed there for a mini road trip. However, it wasn’t until we travelled to Rotterdam for the Traverse18 conference, that we delved deeper into Netherland’s second largest city.
What did we find?
As you may expect with Rotterdam’s location being so close to the sea, it has a large maritime influence. In addition to the iconic canals so often found in the Netherland’s, it also has busy working waterways and harbours.
Any sign of water and I’m in my element, so to watch Dutch barges old and new manoeuvring around the rivers and quays was calming to see. One of Rotterdam’s museums is dedicated to all things “maritime” and gives a glimpse into its nautical past.
Not to be overlooked is Oude Haven (yes, I know another harbour) but you’ll be pleased you headed here, full of restaurants and bars, this area is a great place to relax and watch the world go by.
From here you can’t help but notice the impressive White House (Witte Huis) built in Art Nouveau style in 1898 and one of the few buildings in Rotterdam to survive the WWII bombings on 14 May 1940.
When the White House was built at the height of 43 metres (141ft), it was Europe’s first sky-scraper and sat only one metre above sea level.
Alright, so perhaps there is another eye-catching piece of architecture around here, the Cube Houses.
Designed by architect Piet Blom in 1977, the 39 houses are tilted at 45-degree angle and are pretty amazing to see. However, not too sure if I could live in one.
Spot of lunch
Just a short stroll from the Cube Houses and you are into another vibrant part of the city, Rotterdam’s Market Hall.
You must step inside to see the incredible artwork painted within the arched roof.
Opened in 2014, this colourful food hall has something for everyone especially if you are a cheese lover.
A reminder of the past
Just beyond the Market Hall is a significant part of Rotterdam’s history, St. Lawrence Church. After partially surviving the WWII Rotterdam Blitz, during which the church was heavily damaged, restoration was carried out as a mark of resilience to the city.
It just works
Life of the city
Any town or city that Gary and I visit we love to search out their local street art & sculptures, it really wasn’t difficult to find in Rotterdam.
The artwork brings a place alive and gives an insight into the culture behind the city.
A must see
From here wander down to the riverside to get an incredible view of the iconic Erasmus Bridge (nicknamed “The Swan”) which spans 802-metre-long (2,631ft) across the river.
It was also used in the opening stage of the Tour de France in 2010; however, it’s probably best we gloss over the contenders in that race.
Take your time to enjoy it
Just like most cities the best way to see and feel the life of a town is just to stroll around and Rotterdam is no exception.
Wander the streets, admire the shops and boutiques and take the weight off your feet along Witte de Withstraat and enjoy a local beer.
Where we stayed
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