Places to see in Rotterdam, Netherlands

Places to see in Rotterdam, Netherlands

That Holland has more to offer than Amsterdam quickly becomes apparent during a visit to Rotterdam. Only an hour separates the Dutch capital from the popular port city and yet everything is different.

It is no wonder that Rotterdam has topped lists of the most exciting cities in the world for several years now. This is due to the truly unique architecture, sky-scraping skyscrapers and colorful nightlife that draws many Europeans to the city of Meuse.

Rotterdam is constantly changing and is now more in demand than ever.

1. Euromahasta

Normally you can only enjoy the view because of the glass windows, but at the Euromahasta you really stand outside.

And as if that wasn’t enough, the architects added an 84-meter high top to the 101-meter tower. There, a rotating gondola rises up and provides another very special view.

2. Cubic Houses.

The bright yellow cube houses clearly stand out among all the modern skyscrapers and the huge harbor of Rotterdam. They are without a doubt one of the main attractions of Rotterdam.

The cubes were designed in the 70s by the Dutch architect Piet Blom and were meant to be an innovative housing concept that made the most of available space. But first, of course, we had to find furniture that fit inside the sloping cube.

You can find out what other obstacles come with living in a cube by taking a tour of the cube.

Places to see in Rotterdam, Netherlands - Photo 2

2. Cubic Houses.

3. laurenskerk.

Laurenskerk is one of the few old buildings to be found in Rotterdam. In fact, it is the only medieval building that survived the 1940 bombing, although it was badly damaged.

Laurenskerk is commonly referred to as Grote Kerk, which means “big church,” and it is true.

There are several highlights inside . Among them are the dollhouses, the carillon, and four huge organs.

You can buy tickets online in advance, which will also give you access to the church tower, from where you can enjoy a great view of Rotterdam.

Places to see in Rotterdam, Netherlands - Photo 3

3. laurenskerk.

4. Hotel New York

Of course, a hotel is not usually one of the typical places in the city. But in this case, we are happy to make an exception.

Until the early 1970s, the Wilhelimapier building was the headquarters of the Holland-Amerika Lijn . Tens of thousands of people migrated to America by boat from here.

Today you can enjoy the historic atmosphere of the hotel with both a delicious dinner in the restaurant and an overnight stay in the hotel, as much of the original architecture has been preserved.

By the way, the New York Hotel is a great starting point for a trip around the city, as it is very close to many attractions, such as the Erasmus Bridge or the Museum of Photography.

Things to see in Rotterdam, Netherlands - Photo 4

4. Hotel New York

5. Port of Rotterdam

The best way to discover the port is to take a boat trip, which is undoubtedly one of the main attractions of Rotterdam.

On the two-hour tour offered by Spido, you’ll pass the container handling areas and docks and can catch a glimpse of the huge container ships.

It’s also worth renting a bicycle and exploring the harbor on a leisurely bike tour.

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5. Port of Rotterdam

6. De Kuip: Feyenoord Stadium

Feyenoord’s stadium impresses more than just true soccer fans. It seats 51,117 people and is the second largest soccer stadium in the Netherlands, after Ajax Arena in Amsterdam.

Although it is not the largest stadium it is still the most legendary and most beautiful in Holland. The stadium is also called De Kuip, which translates to “tub”.

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6. De Kuip: Feyenoord Stadium

7. Luchtsingel Bridge.

Yellow is quite common in Rotterdam. And, in addition to the cube houses, there is another striking landmark in the city since 2015: the Luchtsingel Bridge.

The bridge was built to connect the city center and Rotterdam-Nord, which were previously separated by a railway line. The connection should help to revitalize the area around Central Station.

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The three wooden arms of the bridge stretch for 390 meters and look like long octopus tentacles from above. It is worth making a small detour while walking through the center of Rotterdam to fully enjoy the beauty of this city.

Things to see in Rotterdam, Netherlands - Photo 7

7. Luchtsingel Bridge.

8. Rotterdam Central Station

The Rotterdam Central Station is already one of the most important transport hubs of the Dutch railroads. Every day around 100,000 passengers travel to and from Rotterdam. And the trend is growing.

Not surprisingly, the architects of this ever-changing city also turned to avant-garde architecture for this building. Because of its huge, futuristic-looking roof, Centraal Station has also been nicknamed “the bag”.

Not only are the train tracks located here, but also restaurants and some retail outlets. Just a few meters away is the Lijnbaan and Stadthuisplein pedestrian area with various pubs, bars, and some hotels.

One of the most popular bars is De Witte Aap , which also attracts fans of selected drinks.

Things to see in Rotterdam, Netherlands - Photo 8

8. Rotterdam Central Station

9. Rotterdam Market

One of the most coveted attractions in Rotterdam is also one of the newest buildings in the city, a stunning testament to the city’s innovative architecture.

It has always attracted creators, young entrepreneurs and pioneers who want to try their luck in a city of 650,000 inhabitants. The indoor market is inspired by its European predecessors in Barcelona, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

Located in the heart of the city, the Marktal, which was not completed until 2014, is impressive in its horseshoe shape, with space inside for an oversized mural on the ceiling.

About eight dozen stalls offer everything foodies could want, including cheeses, nuts and assorted meats. On top of the horseshoe, by the way, you can live. Designer lofts line the place with apartments with rooftop terraces.

Things to see in Rotterdam, Netherlands - Photo 9

9. Rotterdam Market

10. Phoenix Food Factory

In a very short time, the market hall has become a crowd favorite and foodie favorite among locals and vacationers.

The Alternative Market Hall, as it is also called, especially attracts creative people and young Rotterdamers. The building’s simple architecture and industrial charm by Rotterdam standards make up for its waterfront location.

Here you can taste freshly brewed beer overlooking the water or try delicious burgers. You can reach this special food factory on foot from the Wilhelminaplein stop.

Tip : On weekends there are tables from Phoenix Food Factory, breakfast treat tables or “Brunch Table” in the late morning.

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10. Phoenix Food Factory

11. SS Rotterdam.

The Rotterdam, or SS Rotterdam, brings historic splendor to the port of Rotterdam. After all, the passenger ship is not only the largest of its kind ever built in Holland, but has long been a symbol of Dutch history.

Between 1959 and 2000, the former flagship of the Holland-America Line was in service, carrying thousands of passengers across the Atlantic. The luxurious interior used to attract mostly wealthy travelers.

Today, vacationers can still be captivated by the special atmosphere aboard . Explore the sports fields, the radio room or the engine room.

If all that isn’t enough for you, you can also book a cabin on an old luxury ocean liner and spend your city cruise in Goose City.

Things to see in Rotterdam, Netherlands - Photo 11

11. SS Rotterdam.

12. the Chabot Museum

Rotterdam is not only home to some pretty crazy architecture, but also the work of many famous artists such as Henk Chabot.

The artist and sculptor is one of the most important expressionists in the Netherlands and spent most of his life in Rotterdam. Today his work is on display in the “white villa” of the Museum Park.

From landscape paintings to portraits, the art here is very diverse.

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12. the Chabot Museum

13. Museum of Photography.

As photography lovers, of course, we must include the Fotomuseum Rotterdam on this trip.

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Here you can admire more than a century of Dutch photographic history and photographs of all kinds, from glass negatives to auto-chrome plates. There are exhibitions of famous and lesser-known artists.

A highlight is the dark cellar room, where you can immerse yourself in the photographic process of earlier eras.

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13. Museum of Photography.

14. Kunsthal Rotterdam

Kunsthal Rotterdam is a work of art in itself . The building is an architectural masterpiece by Rem Koolhaas, in which he incorporated many innovative materials and cool design elements.

The museum has no collection of its own. That’s why there are changing exhibitions on a variety of topics. From photography, sculpture and fashion to cinematic elements, everything can really be here.

Kunsthal is located in close proximity to Museum Park, so you can combine your visit with other attractions or just relax in the park in nice weather.

15. Maritem Museum.

In addition to SS Rotterdam, there is also the Maritem Museum Rotterdam in the same location, where you can learn a lot about life at sea.

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15. Maritem Museum.

The Maritem Museum is particularly suitable as an activity for rainy days or fun with children. Because the concept of the museum focuses on one thing: participation. A special exhibition has also been created for younger visitors.


Rotterdam is a city in the Netherlands and the largest European port. Until recently, it had a similar world title, but at the beginning of the new century gave way to Shanghai. However, Rotterdam attracts tourists not only and not so much with the achievements of shipping – here there is something to see and wonder.

Save on a trip to Rotterdam!

Video: Rotterdam


Today Rotterdam is part of the Randstad agglomeration, and in terms of population – 631 thousand in 2016 – it is the second largest in the country after the capital. An interesting fact is that a third of the local population has no Dutch roots, and even the mayor, Ahmed Abutaleb, is a Muslim of Moroccan origin. Incidentally, he is the first adherent of Islam to occupy the post of mayor in a large Western European city.

The Markthal shopping center Rotterdam’s renovated railway station

Rotterdam’s most significant sector of activity is petrochemicals and general cargo handling. The port is the most important center for handling bulk, liquid, containerized and other cargo both within the European continent and around the world. In addition to maritime transport, Rotterdam is connected by road, rail, river and air transport.

The Timmerhuis complex in Rotterdam The Vertical City complex in the Delfshaven district


Rotterdam occupies an area at the confluence of major rivers, a place strategically advantageous even from the point of view of our distant ancestors. Not surprisingly, where the beds of the Rotte and the Meuse (the French call the latter the Meuse) meet, settlements have been around for a very long time. The first documentary evidence of this is the chronicles of the XIII century. Already in 1299 Rotterdam received, and four decades later significantly expanded the special city rights and privileges, which allowed the free growth and development.

During the Middle Ages, the city was an important fishing center, herring caught by local fishermen successfully “traveled” along the trade routes of the continent. In the XV century, artisans took up the production of cloth. Another 200 years later, “the dam on the Rotte” (so literally translates the name) began to be considered a major trading port, through which from the Mediterranean coast were delivered exotic for northern latitudes fruit, fine wines and salt, which was highly valued at the time. But only the construction of a 28-kilometer canal New waterway in 1866-1872 years allowed Rotterdam to occupy a special place in the system of river transport in Western Europe. Henceforth, from the source of the Rhine to the North Sea, there was a route through it, without which the full development of industry, particularly in the Ruhr region of Germany, would have been impossible.

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The dates given above can give tourists a sense of anticipation for the imposing historic center, where they can admire examples of architecture from different eras. Alas! The heraldic lions on the coat of arms of Rotterdam do not by chance support the shield under which the inscription “Sterker door strijd” is placed. The city is indeed “Strengthened in the struggle” as it has experienced many tragedies in its history. In 1489 Rotterdam was besieged by the army of the future Holy Roman Emperor, then German King Maximilian I. In 1563 there was a large-scale fire, just nine years later an attack by the Spanish, who fought the unruly provinces in the Eighty Years’ War. World War I, in which the Netherlands retained its neutrality, passed without major upheavals, although the city became a temporary “capital” of espionage activities.

The last and perhaps the most devastating blow to the legacy of bygone generations was the Luftwaffe’s air raid on May 14, 1940. Despite the surrender of the Dutch leadership, fifty German bombers dropped 97 tons of bombs on the center of Rotterdam, causing enormous destruction and thousands of deaths. To commemorate the tragedy, the Scream Monument, otherwise known as the “Wasted City,” was erected at the site of the maximum concentration of fallen shells. A huge bronze figure with a hole in his chest stands, raising his hands to the sky, where death came from.

Rotterdam in the early 20th century Ruined Rotterdam in 1940 Rotterdam in the 1970s

The sights of Rotterdam

As mentioned above, Rotterdam had to be rebuilt from the ruins after the end of World War II, so it is a fine example of modern urban architecture. Take for example the famous Cube Houses on Overblaak Street: 38 futuristic structures are connected together in such a way that from a height they look like a Penrose triangle, one of the so-called “impossible shapes.” If you’re lucky, you might be able to get inside an unusual structure-some residents agree to give you a tour and show you how life flows in a house where the walls are at an angle of 54.7º to the floor.

Next to this place stands another object of tourist interest in Rotterdam – the Church of St. Lawrence, or simply the Great Church. Unfortunately today visitors do not see the original late Gothic building from the turn of the XV-XVI centuries, but a copy restored after the war damages on public demand with the help of old drawings and photos. The bronze doors, called “Gates of Peace and War,” were cast in the second half of the 1960s by the outstanding Italian sculptor Giacomo Manzù. The main pride of the cathedral today is four organs, the main one of which was created by the Danish company “Markussen” and is considered to be the largest musical instrument in the Netherlands. Not only divine services are regularly held here, but also concerts of secular music. If you have a chance, you should definitely go – the experience is simply unforgettable!

In Rotterdam it is worth taking a walk on the famous Boulevard of Stars, an avenue of fame immortalizing the names of 200 celebrities from all over the world.

Do you like to be above the rooftops? Then go to Euroscope. It’s not often that travelers get the chance to take a ride in a rotating panoramic booth that moves along the spire of the tower at heights ranging from 112 to 185 meters. Look for the Euromast on the maps, a concrete structure erected for the 1960 flower show. The event passed, and now the brainchild of Huig Maaskant is interesting to view the city from the mentioned capsule or from the windows of the restaurant located in the “Crow’s Nest” at a height of 96 meters.

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Visitors to Rotterdam simply can not ignore the modern construction, which for only 20 years has become the unofficial symbol of the city and is shown on numerous souvenirs. We are talking about the cable-stayed Erasmus Bridge, thrown across the river Maas by architect van Berkel. The asymmetrical pylon supported by steel cables immediately evoked associations with the curved neck of a water bird, so in parallel with the official name in honor of the famous humanist scientist is known as “De Zwaan”, the Swan.

Not far from the bridge was built a new building of the popular Rotterdam theater “Luxor”, where in several halls you can see samples of various stage genres: opera, variety, concerts, cabaret, dancing.

Static art is extraordinarily well represented in the Boijmans van Beuningen art gallery. There are paintings by recognized geniuses such as Salvador Dali, Rembrandt, Claude Monet, Titian, Wassily Kandinsky, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne and others, as well as collections of decorative objects in silver, glass and majolica. If you are specifically interested in Expressionism, be sure to check out the Hendrik Szabó Museum, which includes works by not only the “titular” master, but also his associates.

Luxor Theater in Rotterdam Boijmans van Beuningen Art Gallery

Also prominent among Rotterdam’s museums are the Entomology Museum, the Historical Museum and the Maritime Museum, with over half a million pieces from various countries.

Port of Delft in Rotterdam

The atmosphere of medieval Rotterdam can still be felt in the harbor area of Delft, where narrow streets, river canals, old buildings and even windmills have been preserved. Here stands the Het Witte Heiss, a 45-meter building, considered to be the first “skyscraper” of the Old World. It was built in 1898.

Tired of the city and longing to get closer to nature? The Plaswijk Park is justly known as a favorite leisure spot of Rotterdam’s residents. This small green island has attractions for children and adults, a lake with ducks and pelicans, barbecue areas, and a modest zoo with rabbits and deer. Another great attraction is the botanical garden Trompenburg-Arboretum, which will help you take a break from the busy life and enjoy the peace.

Plaswijk Park Rotterdam Blijdorp Zoo

For those who want to see more animals from around the world, we recommend a visit to Blijdorp on the coast of the same name. This zoo is both the oldest in the country and the best in terms of equipment and modernization. The spacious aviaries are decorated with eye-catching decorations of the inhabitants of the zoo, and the climatic conditions inside are as close as possible to what they are used to. The zoo has a research center, which aims to create programs to restore populations of rare and endangered species. Good conditions are confirmed by nature itself, because elephants, giraffes, tigers, lions and other animals regularly enjoy healthy offspring. Spectators love the well-thought-out organization and convenience of observation, that’s why there are a million and a half visitors every year.

Entertainment industry

Rotterdam is ready to offer its guests a rich evening program, as there are many diverse bars and nightclubs. The first ones are concentrated in the crowded Eendrachtsplein, but experts recommend finding good discos near the subway station Stadhuis; they are rarely mentioned in guidebooks, so if possible, ask your fellow Dutch beforehand for tips and passwords.

There are a lot of coffeeshops in the city, licensed to sell cannabis, by the way, the prices in most of them are more loyal than in the capital. As in the whole country, this product is legal, but it is important to remember that even regular nicotine cigarettes are forbidden to smoke in public places and, of course, trying to take cannabis out of the Netherlands will be considered against the law.

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Coffee shops in Rotterdam

Interesting Facts

  • The lowest point of the Netherlands is located near Rotterdam, at 6.76 meters below sea level.
  • Since November 1955 the headquarters of the World Esperanto Association, formerly located in Great Britain, has been located in Rotterdam. The entire headquarters occupies a two-story house on Nieuwe Binnenweg, built in 1887 – the same year the first Esperanto language textbook was published. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the World Esperanto Association, the World Esperanto Congress was held in Rotterdam in the summer of 2008 with the support of the city. The logo of the event has a schematic representation of the Erasmus Bridge as the new symbol of Rotterdam.
  • Rotterdam is home to three clubs in the Dutch soccer league: Feyenoord, Sparta and Excelsior. “Feyenoord is one of the most titled clubs in the Netherlands, repeatedly won international tournaments, in particular, in 1970 it was the first Dutch winner of the European Cup and the Intercontinental Cup.

Transport system

So how does one get around Rotterdam? Locals and tourists alike benefit from an extensive network of surface and underground transportation. Eight streetcar routes successfully carry passengers through the city center, and the main task of the four subway lines remains a link with the suburbs. For the sake of justice it is worth specifying that the classical “underground” sections here are few, the geographical situation affects: many areas lie below sea level, and the tunnels are simply constantly flooded. Since 2006, between Rotterdam and The Hague runs a light rail RandstadRail, which is connected to the subway in the first and the streetcar line in the second.

You can also use cabs or exotic tuk-tuks, and the most authentic way to get around would be a regular bicycle. There are plenty of rental stations, and the city’s infrastructure is perfectly adapted to the needs of cyclists.

Rotterdam Tram RandstadRail

Hotels and accommodation

Sometimes called the “Manhattan on the Maas,” Rotterdam is a haven for architects who have been creating masterpieces here for centuries. Travelers have the opportunity to choose a hotel to suit your taste – Rotterdam offers a wide range of hotels, from cozy hotels to ultra-modern hotels of glass and steel. With you can book the room you like with a discount of up to 60%.

One of the most practical options is the three-star Holiday Inn Express Rotterdam – Central Station, located in the heart of Rotterdam and near the shopping area of the city. The Urban Residences, a 2-minute walk from the main shopping street Lijnbaan, also has a good reputation for offering luxury designer apartments with French windows, spacious kitchens and private parking in the garage. Young people often stay at the budget hotel The Student, just outside the center of Rotterdam, which offers stylish rooms with free Wi-Fi, a restaurant, lounges, places to work, and a fitness center. Billiards and table tennis can be played in the games room for an additional fee. The hotel also has a bicycle rental service.

Room at Urban Residences Rotterdam Room at The Student Hotel Rotterdam

The five-star Rotterdam Marriott is considered one of the best hotels in Rotterdam. It is located in the Millennium Tower skyscraper, directly opposite the Central Railway Station. The hotel has 230 spacious rooms with views of the cityscape, air conditioning, 42-inch flat-screen TV, high-speed Internet access, minibar and tea/coffee making facilities. The marble-clad bathroom with separate shower is complete with luxury toiletries. Valet parking, sumptuous dining and brunch are also available.

How to get there

Rotterdam airport has international status and receives flights from the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy. The train station receives trains from various parts of the Netherlands (say, it takes less than an hour to Amsterdam) and neighboring countries. The Russian tourist will need to make a connection in one of the major cities of Western Europe.

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