The Ultimate Visitor’s Guide to Rotterdam
It may be the Netherlands’ second city, but the giant port of Rotterdam is a world capital when it comes to architecture. Revolutionary living spaces, awe-inspiring commercial buildings and the occasional medieval masterpiece jostle for space in this ever-expanding metropolis.
Best Place To Stay: Hotel New York
Hotel New York is located in the former headquarters of the Holland America Line, which from 1873 to 1989, was a Dutch shipping, passenger, and cruise line operating primarily between the Netherlands and North America. As part of this rich legacy, it was instrumental in the transport of many hundreds of thousands of immigrants from the Netherlands to North America. And that means a wonderful mix of old and new that makes this place unique!
Throughout the hotel, the nostalgia is palpable: high ceilings, authentic Holland America Line details and a beautiful wrought iron staircase. To “own-way” is the service, belonging to a 4 star hotel, shaped: no keycards modern but old-fashioned key bobbins and no tight minibar but 24 hour personalized service.
Hotel New York is on the river and most rooms have views over the water. Hotel New York has 72 unique rooms , including the two green towers , the former caretaker’s house on the roof and the boardroom. To make a reservation for Hotel New York, click here.
For Cool Architecture…
Architecture aficionados come from all across the globe to admire the city. The attraction is unsurprising: the city’s story, the bombardment and reconstruction, plus the courage involved in commissioning big-name architects to contribute to the cityscape, past and present, makes a visit to Rotterdam fascinating and intriguing.
- Erasmusburg: This Rotterdam icon is a suspension bridge nicknamed “The Swan.”
- Kubuswoningen: Innovative cube shaped houses designed by architect Piet Blom.
- Euromast: Highest observation tower of the Netherlands. Writer’s note: try abseiling!
- Markthal: This is a must see! It is an indoor market in a perfect architectural setting. The hall offers kiosks offering fresh foods, vegetables, meats and artisans selling their crafts. I recommend the Spanish tapas restaurant BasQ Kitchen.
- Laurenskerk: The only still remaining late-Gothic building from the originally medieval Rotterdam.
- Schlelandhuis: The only seventeenth century building in the city center to have survived the bombing of Rotterdam.
- Stadhuis: City Hall was built between 1914 and 1920 and among the few buildings that survived the bombing of Rotterdam.
- Bibliotheek Rotterdam: This isn’t your average library. With striking construction with steel tubing running from the roof down the glass frontage, it is often compared to the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
For Dope Art…
The museums in Rotterdam are certainly worth a visit: Rotterdam offers a wide variety of museums and permanent exhibitions. Some of the museums in Rotterdam are internationally reknowned, but there are also lesser known quite specialized museums that are certainly worth a visit!
- The Martitime Museum: Visit vessels and cranes and experience how the world’s leading part of Rotterdam began at this spot.
- Kunsthal: Rem Koolhaus designed the 3300 square meter exposition space in incredible design. It hosts changing exhibitions.
- Nederlands Fotomuseum: With a rich gradated exhibition program of historical and contemporary Dutch and international photography treasures, the Netherlands Museum of Photography is the place to be for photography aficionados.
- Boijmans van Beuningen: World-class collections of old masters, modern and contemporaneity art, applied arts and design.
- Witte Huis: A 10-story National Heritage Site building in 1898 in the Art Nouveau style and the first ‘skyscraper’ in Europe.
For Great Food & Drinks
Rotterdam offers a wide variety of cuisines and dining experiences. Try dining high above the city or riverside. From
- The Harbour Club: A 100 year old villa in the park turned into a high class restaurant.
- C.E.O: Rotterdam’s best steakhouse housed in a former butchery.
- Gusto: Ecological and biological Mediterranean cuisine.
- Dudok: Famous for their Dutch Apple Pie.
- NRC: Try out eating and drinking in the former newspaper head office.
- Biergarten: Outside-only bar with beer, barbeque, and music.
- Fenix Food Factory: Daily traditional fresh market with multiple outlets in an old factory building
- Ter Marsch & Co.: Awarded “Best Burger in Rotterdam” and the Netherlands. A must try!
- Het Eigendom: A wine bar with over 130 wines from around the world, of which 35 are available by the glass.
For The Best in Dutch Fashion…
Rotterdam is a famous shopping city, with a lot of diversity. An extraordinary fact is that you can find a big part of the famous shops under street level in the Beurstraverse, better known as the Koopgoot (which literally means: buying gutter). Rotterdam has a good connection with new designers that graduate from the Willem de Kooning Academy and open their shops in the city center or sell their products through different local shops. Rotterdam also has a big indoor shopping mall called Alexandrium that brings together more than 130 shops.
- Bijenkorf: A department store where you can shop the world’s most exclusive brands, such as Burberry, Max Mara, Kenzo, and Mulberry.
- Supertrash!: By the Dutch designer Olcay Gulsen. Affordable luxury.
- Scotch & Soda: Amsterdam couture for everyone.
- Nikkie: By the Dutch designer Nikkie Plessen. Feminine, sexy, elegant, and cool designs.
- Imagine by Kim: A cute little shop with High street fashion and affordable prices/
- SHPPR: Fashion boutique by young, talented, up-and-coming designers.
- Marlies Dekkers: Lingerie shop by the Dutch designer Marlies Dekkers.
- Oger: Dutch family owned men’s fashion company seeking to “beautify the man in Latin style.”