Rotterdam. This city on the river Meuse with its impressive skyline is perhaps the most dynamic city in the Netherlands. Flattened by bombs during World War II, today it is one of the most modern, innovative and unique cities in the Netherlands.

Like a local
Boat tour around the harbour

Boat tour around the harbour

Cyclists in front of the Diepeveen Building Rotterdam

Rotterdam is a young, dynamic city known for its modern architecture and impressive harbour. Although only a fraction smaller than Amsterdam, it has a completely different look and feel than the capital. The city is characterised by an imposing skyline of skyscrapers and modern design, but also by icons such as the Erasmus Bridge, Rotterdam Central Station and of course the Euromast observation tower, which offers breathtaking views of the city and surrounding areas.

Home to Europe’s largest port, Rotterdam was a prime target of the Germans during World War II and was almost completely destroyed by the Luftwaffe. Rising from the ashes of war, the current iconic skyline clearly reflects the modern character of the city. In recent decades, the city on the Meuse has grown into a dynamic metropolis that is internationally known for its innovative developments and architecture, but also for its port.

Skyline of Rotterdam with view of the Nieuwe Maas River

The port of Rotterdam

Children playing on a roof at Maritiem Museum Rotterdam

The port of Rotterdam is a major international hub and a symbol of trade, innovation and maritime history. As one of the largest ports in the world, a boat tour around the harbour or a visit to the Maritime Museum Rotterdam is definitely recommended. Water plays a major role in the city, as evidenced by the water taxi or the Wikkelboats – tiny houseboats in which you can spend the night. Located in the middle of the Maritime District, the Port Pavilion is the ideal starting point to really discover the port for yourself.

Whether you’re a local or a tourist, Rotterdam offers so much to see and do. The Witte de Withstraat has traditionally been the most popular and well-known place to go out, but it now has some stiff competition from the Nieuwe Binnenweg with its trendy shops, cafés and restaurants. Also highly recommended is the Fenix Food Factory on Katendrecht, a food hall with a craft brewery and stalls for meat, vegetables and dairy products.

Quay of the Fenix Food Factory Rotterdam

You will also find numerous cultural attractions here, such as the Melly contemporary art gallery and Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, where visitors can enjoy the impressive art collection of the temporarily closed Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Sports enthusiasts should of course stop by De Kuip, the large stadium of Feyenoord football club.

Flora and fauna in Rotterdam

Floating Farm Rotterdam overview with cows and solar panels

Despite its modernity, Rotterdam is a very sustainable city where lovers of nature, biodiversity and flora and fauna can marvel at the city’s innovative, new ways of using greenery. Take, for example, the Floating Farm, a unique, circular farm on the water, or The Dakakker, the largest 'open-air roof farm in the Netherlands' in the heart of Rotterdam. Also not to be missed is Blue City, a true international icon in the field of circular economy.

Top tip: Amsterdam, Utrecht, The Hague and Eindhoven offer direct train connections to Rotterdam. Why not enjoy a multi-city holiday?

The city on the Meuse is greener than you think

The city on the Meuse is greener than you think

Home to the largest port in Europe, this modern metropolis is also one of the greenest and most sustainable cities in the Netherlands. One of the most striking initiatives in this regard is the Dakpark, an elegant roof park established on a former railway line in the west of the city. The park offers panoramic views and is a green urban oasis, with various plants, trees and flowers. It’s also a model of sustainability, with rainwater collection, solar panels and even a bee hotel. For those wanting to learn more about sustainability and nature conservation, the nearby Educational Garden offers a wealth of information.

View of the Science Tower from the Roof Park Rotterdam
Kralingen-Crooswijk: Recreationists walk across a jetty at Kralingse Plas

Another green hotspot in Rotterdam is the Kralingse Bos, a vast city park with forests, water features and walking paths. The park not only offers a beautiful environment for relaxing, but also has numerous sustainable initiatives, such as a water playground with sustainable water filtration and an organic farm. Keen runners will enjoy the parkrun that takes place there every Saturday morning.

Largest city park in the Netherlands

We can’t talk about sustainability without mentioning Zuiderpark in South Rotterdam. It’s the largest city park in the Netherlands and ideal for a nice walk or picnic. Or stop by the Park at the Euromast and visit the 'secret garden' Schoonoord. Finally, why not hop on the metro and head towards Hoek van Holland? Hollandse Duinen National Park is a beautiful coastal nature reserve and a great place for cycling or walking.

Chilling in The Park at the Euromast
Hidden gems
Unconventional Rotterdam

Unconventional Rotterdam

Young people at a greenhouse at the Keilewerf Rotterdam

Having escaped the bombing by the Luftwaffe during the war, Delfshaven is one of Rotterdam’s undisputed gems. Located just next to the bustling city centre with historic Delfshaven as its highlight, this district in the western part of Rotterdam is a melting pot of diverse cultures and nationalities. It’s home to authentic Rotterdam cafes and small shops, but also trendy, new shops.

The old Rotterdam

The Middelland district in Delfshaven also has a rich architectural history with beautiful buildings from the 1920s and 1930s, many of which are still in their original state – a rare sight in Rotterdam.

The area has not yet been ‘discovered’ and that’s why it is so special. It’s the perfect place to experience modern city life with an authentic Rotterdam vibe. There is a reason why the late politician Pim Fortuyn lived in this special environment, which is now home to about 80,000 Rotterdammers.

A waterfront terrace in historic Delfshaven Rotterdam

Delfshaven is also home to another highlight: the monumental Justus van Effen complex, a former block of workers' houses now serving as a living and working space for artists and other creatives. Definitely worth a visit.

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