Rotterdam Day and Night: An Itinerary for Photographers

Heather Tucker, Tuesday, March 5, 2013 , 1,817 Views

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Cube Houses, the largest bascule bridge in the world and the tallest building in the Netherlands - there is a reason that Rotterdam was named the City of Architecture 2007. If you enjoy taking photos, then this is one Dutch city not to miss. Spend the day pounding the pavements, gazing at unique architecture and taking some dynamic photos of this modern city.

Daytime Shooting

Hotel New York

Start your day at Hotel New York, which is located in the old Holland America Line’s head office on the Wilhelmina Pier. Even though it can be quite windy along the pier, the architecture is well worth it. Near the large parking area, you will find the Nederlands Fotomuseum at Wilhelminakade 332. This small photography museum is worth a stop before heading towards the Erasmusbrug.

Erasmusbrug area (Maastoren, Unilever building, Railway Lift Bridge)

The Erasmusbrug, nicknamed The Swan, is an icon of the city. Completed in 1996, there probably isn’t an angle that hasn’t been photographed but you can try and find one! Depending on how early you set out, you might want to explore a little further afield to see the Railway Lift Bridge, one of the few still in existence in the country; the Unilever Building which seems to almost only just fit over the more historical buildings and the Maastoren. Its 44-stories currently make it the tallest building in the Netherlands.

Cube Houses area (Wittehuis, Bibliotheek, Blaak, Laurenskerk)

Cross over the river and head towards the market area. Tuesdays and Saturdays are market days, so if you are here on either of these days, it can be the perfect stop for lunch. There are plenty of surrounding cafes as well for non-market days. Apart from photographing the bustling market, you can also find the famous Cube Houses, the library with its distinct yellow tubes running down it, the Wittehuis – the first Dutch “skyscraper” and Laurenskerk, which was heavily damaged but not destroyed during the World War II.

Museum Boijmans van Beuningen/Museumpark/Kunsthal

Located all within a stone’s throw of each other, these two museums and the park that is in-between them provide not only interesting art on the inside but plenty of leading lines, unique angles and patterns on the outside to make it worth pulling you camera out. Don’t miss the spiraling system of slopes that the Kunsthal is built on or the Scandinavian inspired architecture of Boijmans.

Euromast area (Shipping and Transport College, Floating Chinese Hotel)

The Euromast was specially built for the 1960 Floriade event and offers some of the best views of the city. The Euroscoop, a rotating elevator that will take you to the top of the Euromast, will allow you to take in the views while learning about the city of Rotterdam.

Night Shooting


The lights of the city will gradually go on and can make for some wonderful shots. So you might want to stay at the Euromast a little bit longer. It can be cold and windy at night, especially during fall and winter, but at least then the lights come on a bit earlier.

Water Taxi to Luxor

It is possible to walk from the Euromast back to the Erasmusbrug but if you want to save some energy and time, take a water taxi. There is a stop just next to the Floating Chinese Hotel and you can go to the stop by the Luxor Theatre, which is across from the Erasmusbrug. You can either book the water taxi in advance or call for one when you arrive. Whichever way you arrive at the Luxor, this building looks great at night and is worth a few minutes of your time.

Erasmusbrug area (Maastoren, Unilever building, Railway Lift Bridge)

Now we are back at the Erasmusbrug area that we were at during the day. Notice how everything takes on a new dimension when the sun has gone down and the lights have been turned on?


A walk along the river towards Leuvehaven, if you have the time, can be nice at night, especially to catch the light reflections on the water. At Leuvehaven, you will find an old harbor full of boats and harbor equipment. Many have colorful lighting so there are some unique photography opportunities here if you are willing to look for them.


After your time at the harbor, head towards the Netherlands Architecture Institute. The building itself is interesting but the best bit is the slightly curving hallway just behind it. With pillars all along the hall and colorful lights, this is a photographer’s favorite.


If you still have some energy left within you, then head on over to Schouwburgplein where the theatre, cinema and concert hall are all located. This is the perfect place to grab a coffee and pack up your gear before heading back “home” to see what images you managed to capture.

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Rotterdam Day and Night: An Itinerary for Photographers