Rotterdam is known primarily as a bustling metropolis. After large swathes of Rotterdam’s inner city had been destroyed in WWII, a new, modern city arose from the ashes. Despite the widespread destruction, however, you can still find remainders of the inner city as they stood before WWII today. We have listed a few special sites for you.
- Discover the last pieces of ‘old city’ that remain.
- See the link between old and modern Rotterdam.
- Experience the atmosphere of pre-war Rotterdam.
Sint-Laurenskerk (St. Lawrence’s Church)
This important symbol of Rotterdam is an excellent spot to start your time travel. Sint-Laurenskerk is the only building that remains from the medieval center of Rotterdam. At the time, the church was the center around which the city revolved, hosting many activities. It houses the biggest church organ in Holland. Although the church is still standing, it was heavily damaged in 1940. The church can now be visited from Tuesday through Friday.
Het Schielandshuis Museum
The Schielandshuis is the last remaining seventeenth-century building in the center of Rotterdam. It is now surrounded by modern high-rise buildings and stands as a historical icon. Today it serves as the perfect place to find inspiration for a day on the town in Rotterdam, as it houses Rotterdam Tourist Information.
In this beautiful, elegant 19th-century building on the Willemskade, you will find a comprehensive collection of art and utilitarian objects from other cultures and distant civilizations. The collection reflects 160 years of exploratory travel that began in Rotterdam. You will be able to trace the colonial past of Rotterdam through thousands of objects from places like Asia, Oceania and Africa at Wereldmuseum Rotterdam.
Rotterdam’s City Hall
The City Hall of Rotterdam on the Coolsingel is an exquisitely beautiful building. It was built between 1914 and 1920 and miraculously survived the 1940 bombings. Stroll around the building and discover the countless special sculptures. Have you always wondered what the city hall looks like inside? You can register for a guided tour or look around the establishment’s inner garden, which is freely accessible.
Delfshaven is a piece of the old city that came through the bombardment unscathed. The historical canal buildings house lovely souvenir shops, jenever (Dutch gin) pubs, and welcoming eateries. As you walk through Delfshaven you should definitely not forget to visit the Pelgrimvaderskerk (Pilgrim Fathers’ Church), a 15th-century building. Your historical tour of Delfshaven is complete after viewing De Delft, a replica of an 18th-century war ship.
Travel through time
Miniworld Rotterdam is the biggest indoor miniature world in the Benelux countries. There are plenty of things to see, including reproductions of several historical buildings that were completely destroyed by the bombardments. Experience great pre-war Rotterdam in miniature.
With the aid of personal stories, overwhelming audio, and incisive images, the ‘40 – ’45 NOW experience at Museum Rotterdam puts you right in the middle of Rotterdam around May 1940. Take a seat at the eight-meter touchscreen table and experience the war up close during this impressive experience. Or discover the museum’s collection of uniforms, weaponry and ordinary objects with special, poignant stories.