Visiting Rotterdam - What to See and Do
(Rotterdam The Hague Airport RTM, Netherlands)
The Dutch city of Rotterdam
is often eclipsed by Amsterdam
when it comes to reputation. However, this coastal metropolis has spent the past few decades under immense development, now overshadowing Holland's capital as the fastest growing city in the country. A blanket of modernism reflects the city's post-WWII landscape, with many remarkable contemporary attractions found in the city.
Even though Rotterdam is a relatively modern city, it still 'remembers' its intriguing past through the dozens of museums around the city. From cultural centres like the Kunsthal to the historical Maritime Museum, this city's museum ambience is one to be reckoned with. Sightseeing the many monuments and landmarks like the City Hall, Rotterdam Zoo and St. Lawrence's Church is a memorable experience for travellers.
The sights and sounds of the city's harbour can be uncovered by cruise tours. Alternatively, tourists can get their excitement kicks by watching local, top division football teams play at the Feijenoord Stadium (De Kuip). Bars and clubs also welcome visitors every night of the week. In fact, Rotterdam's night scene rivals any city in the Netherlands
Ten things you must do in Rotterdam
- Established in 1849, the fascinating Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is one of the finest art museums in the Netherlands. Boasting both modern and historical artistic pieces, this attraction possesses several interesting wings. The Old Art wing includes a variety of breathtaking masterpieces, such as The 'Little' Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel, while the Modern Art wing is a timely reminder to patrons that contemporary art can be equally impressive.
- The Kunsthal is Rotterdam's main exhibition hall. What makes this place stand out above other exhibition centres throughout Europe is its boldness and creativity. Each year, some 25 or more exhibitions are displayed across the 12-month calendar. Tickets are relatively cheap for adults, and entrance is free for children under six years old.
- Extremely popular, and therefore crowded during the summer holidays and other school holiday periods, the Maritime Museum is the perfect place to learn all about the city's intriguing maritime past. Get taken back hundreds of years to explore life around the harbour of this city. The Museumschip de Buffel is a highlight in the museum.
- Although the City Hall is not one of the older buildings in Rotterdam, it certainly is an important part of this famous cityscape. The intricate Art Deco-style building is a great place to stroll around. Some of the rooms are out of bounds, but you can explore much of the building, as public areas are clearly designated.
- Although this appealing Dutch city is often overshadowed by Amsterdam, the city's zoo is one of Holland's most prized possessions. Rotterdam Zoo boasts various different global zones, enabling visitors to experience aspects of Africa, South America, Australia and Europe, all while spending the day in Rotterdam. The Oceanarium is another magnificent feature of the zoo, with its puffins and tropical marine life.
- Named after the city's patron saint, the Great Saint Lawrence Church dates back to the 15th century. There is a large and cavernous interior supporting the facade of the church, and the monolithic organ found inside is of particular note. Cultural and musical events are hosted by the church each year, and so tourists should visit when these festivities are taking place.
- The Pilgrim Fathers Church is one of the Netherlands' most historic religious attractions. Even though the church is not open all day every day, it is possible to visit the site Monday to Friday between 11:00 and 17:00, or on Saturdays between 13:00 and 16:00. Concerts are held in the church on a regular basis.
- Rotterdam is a magnificent harbour city, so why not see the sights via its magnificent water features? Harbour cruises usually only travel for roughly 9 km / 6 miles, meaning that customers rarely make it all the way out to the North Sea. Nevertheless, there is plenty to see and lots of time to relax while cruising the harbour.
- Even though Rotterdam isn't an overly large and renowned European city, it still hosts the International Film Festival once a year. Held in January, the film-themed event brings in thousands of critics, filmmakers and avid movie enthusiasts. Commonly referred to as the IFFR, this festival sees many cinemas and theatres around the city become packed.
- There are three professional football teams playing in the city of Rotterdam, so tourists have plenty of opportunities to see Premier League Dutch football at its finest. The Feyenoord club draws many thousands of spectators to every home match, particularly when Sparta and Feyenoord play each other. Games are held at the Feijenoord Stadium - Feyenoord's main home ground.