10 not-to-be-missed festivals in Rotterdam


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Architecture, films, opera – there’s something for everyone during the Rotterdam festival summer. From large international crowd-pullers such as NN North Sea Jazz festival to the unique Roffa Mon Amour film festival. Architecture lovers will be in seventh heaven in June during the Rotterdam Architecture Month that is packed with events and tours. The hip hop festival Get Loose and the Gin Festival in the Cruise Terminal will be debuting this year.

  • Visit the bustling city of Rotterdam this summer.
  • Festivals for each and every interest.
  • Music, culture and architecture.

1. Rotterdam Architecture Month

Rotterdam will revolve around architecture in June. It will feature Architecture Day and tours of the Timmerhuis (OMA) provided by De Rotterdam Tours and ZigZagCity. You can visit some 50 extraordinary roofs during the popular Rotterdam Roof Days. The roof of de Bijenkorf department store will be transformed into a big lavender garden and the roof of a downtown residential tower will be turned into a gigantic ball pit.

An ‘MVRDV special’ will take place on Architecture Day. An architect from this well-known architectural firm will give a tour of the Markthal and the Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen that is currently under construction. The tour will end at the architectural firm where its latest projects will be presented.

2. North Sea Jazz Festival

D'Angelo, Earth, Wind & Fire, N.E.R.D and Emili Sandé are just some of the artists featured on the line-up for the international North Sea Jazz Festival on 13, 14 and 15 July 2018. Each year this three-day festival attracts world-class stars to Ahoy Rotterdam. It is the world’s largest indoor jazz festival. The fringe festival North Sea Round Town will showcase a diverse and free jazz programme at venues across the city from 28 June to 15 July 2018.

3. DÂK

Table tennis, social barbecues, DJs and salsa parties. The annual pop-up park on top of the Westblaak Parking is a favourite with locals. The festival can best be described as a block party on the roof and takes place from 19 July through 12 August 2018. The location is just around the corner from the buzzing nightlife street Witte de Withstraat.

4. Get Loose hip hop festival

Get Loose provides a stage for both international and Rotterdam-based artists – from big names to up-and-coming talent. Alongside new hip hop, the festival presents other elements from hip hop such as graffiti, break dance and spoken word. The first edition of Get Loose will take place on Sunday, 24 June 2018.

5. Gin Festival Rotterdam

This year will see Rotterdam’s first real Gin Festival in the Cruise Terminal. Hundreds of brands from the Netherlands and abroad will present their gin. Speakers will shed light on all the ins and outs of distilling, developing and packaging gin. Visitors will also be able to try an array of different combinations and garnishes in their quest for the perfect Gin and Tonic. Gin Festival Rotterdam will take place on 23 June 2018.

6. Film festival Roffa Mon Amour

Roffa Mon Amour is moving to Kop van Zuid this year. The sixth edition of the Rotterdam film festival will take place in the Drijvend Paviljoen and LantarenVenster. Roffa Mon Amour will present an eclectic film programme from Wednesday, 18 July through Sunday, 29 July 2018.

7. Operadagen Rotterdam

An international opera and musical theatre festival showcasing innovative and ground-breaking productions at unique locations. There will be performances at locations including the roof of de Bijenkorf department store, Westblaak Parking and the TP Loods in M4H. Other performances will take place on a boat ride and mini operas will be performed in living rooms. The Rotterdam Opera Days will be held from 18 through 27 May 2018.

8. Blijdorp Festival

The fifth edition of Blijdorp Festival. A mix of music and art will transform the Roel Langerakpark into a festival ground.

9.  Internationale Architectuur Biënnale Rotterdam

IABR-2018-2020-The Missing Link is a diptych in two cities, Rotterdam and Brussels. The upcoming two biennials will focus on the climate goals. The main exhibition of the eighth IABR will take place from 1 June through 8 July 2018 in the HAKA building, a listed building in the up-and-coming M4H district.

10. Rotterdam Unlimited

This is one of Europe’s largest street parties and attracts 750,000 visitors each year to the Rotterdam city centre. A mosaic of cultures mix to create a colourful festival during Rotterdam Unlimited. The Summer Carnival Street Parade and The Battle of the Drums are permanent and very popular fixtures of this event. Rotterdam Unlimited will take place from 24 through 28 July.

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10 not-to-be-missed Festivals in Rotterdam