Rotterdam holds a special place in the hearts of those from The Netherlands. The port city was where its ships first ventured out into the world, having been established as early as 1270 by some accounts. From those origins, Rotterdam has grown into a bustling metropolis as well as being home to Europe’s biggest cargo port area. But there is also a great deal more to the city nicknamed “Gateway To Europe”, and travelers will have a blast engaging in these activities throughout Rotterdam.
1. The Euromast
First built in 1960, the Euromast is a striking fixture on the Rotterdam skyline. It stands at 338 feet (103 m) in height, and is the tallest structure in the city after some renovations were made in 1970. It functions as an observation tower, and in recent years has added a restaurant. For those looking for a unique visit, arrangements can be made to book one of the two suites, named Heaven and Stars for an overnight stay complete with room service and access to the balcony.
Address: Parkhaven 20, 3016 GM Rotterdam, Netherlands
Price: from 10.50 USD / ~9.75 EUR
Opening Hours: 10 am to 10 pm daily.
Duration: around 2 hours required.
Access: 18 minutes south via transit and walking
Contact: +31 10 436 4811
Near by Food: Parquiet
This village east of Rotterdam is home to one sight that The Netherlands is known the world over for — windmills. To be precise, nineteen of them. These windmills have been standing since 1740, and help to drain the water from the surrounding land thanks to a central pumping station. They are the oldest collection of windmills in the world, and were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Visitors can make a day out of walking or biking around the grounds, and also checking out the Wisboom Visitors Centre for workshops and short films about the history of the area. Another activity is the Museum Mill tour, which takes guests through the preserved interior of a windmill with décor from the 1950’s.
Address: Molenkade Nederwaard 1, 2961 AS Kinderdijk, Netherlands
Price: from 8.65 USD / 8 EUR
Opening Hours: 9 am to 5:30 pm daily.
Duration: visitors spend 4 hours here normally.
Access: 1 hour via transit from Rotterdam Centraal Station
Contact: +31 78 691 2830
If you are a horticultural person, then Keukenhof will be a boon to your Rotterdam vacation. Keukenhof, or “kitchen garden”, came to life in the 15th century as the private garden of a countess. As time moved on, it became attached to a castle and grew in size. In 1949, it was turned into an official park and since then has become one of the largest flower gardens in the world. The grounds are bedecked with all manner of tulips and other flowers, making for a highly vivid pastoral scene. Visitors can also get a chance to tour the garden on a “whisper boat”, which runs through the park’s waterways or rent a bicycle and take one of four cultivated routes through Keukenhof.
Address: Stationsweg 166A, 2161 AM Lisse, Netherlands
Price: from ~17 USD / 16 EUR
Opening Hours: 9 am to 5 pm.
Duration: visitors can spend up to 6 hours here.
Access: 1 hour and 49 minutes via transit from Rotterdam Centraal Station
Contact: +31 252 465 555
4. Rotterdam Zoo Biljdorf
Situated in the northwest part of the city, the Royal Zoo of Rotterdam has been in existence for 150 years. It moved to the Biljdorf area during World War II in order to maintain the safety of the animals during the massive bombing campaigns. The zoo is home to multiple animal habitats, including a massive aquarium that holds various species of marine life found in the Americas, with guests even being able to walk through an underwater tunnel through one section filled with sharks. Visitors to the zoo have numbered up to close to two million on an annual basis, even in the winter when the zoo constructs a “winter square” filled with fun activities for all ages. Read our article to find out more.
Rotterdam Zoo Biljdorf
Address: Blijdorplaan 8, 3041 JG Rotterdam, Netherlands
Price: from 24.50 USD / 23 EUR
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm. Saturday, Sunday & Monday 9 am to 6 pm.
Duration: around 3 hours required.
Access: 15 minutes west from Rotterdam Central Station.
Contact: +31 900 1857
Website: Rotterdam Zoo Biljdorf
5. Rotterdam Cubic Houses
Designed by Piet Blom and constructed in 1977, the “kubuswoningen” are viewed as a geometric masterpiece of architecture. These houses are actually the second such project — a series of similar homes were built in another town, Helmond. The homes were conceptualized as composing an abstract forest, and 39 of them were built out of a proposed 55 ordered by the council. Sitting right above a subway station, the Cube Houses do attract a lot of attention, so much so that an owner turned one into a showcase for tourists to marvel at as they traverse the three floors. In addition, there’s a museum of chess pieces that is underneath that has been there since 2006.
Rotterdam Cube Houses
Address: Overblaak 70, 3011 MH Rotterdam, Netherlands
Opening Hours: 11 am to 5p m daily.
Duration: visitors can spend up to 1 hour here.
Access: 9 minutes from Rotterdam Centraal Station.
Contact: +31 10 414 2285
6. Maritime Museum Rotterdam
Rotterdam prides itself on its maritime history, and nowhere is that more evident than in the Rotterdam Maritime Museum. The scholarly institute dedicated to naval history was founded and built in 1874. Within the museum there are a number of antiquities like the world’s oldest model ship. The present day complex also includes the Maritime Museum Harbour, an open-air exhibit which has a series of restored vessels in the water that visitors can tour as well as the last grain silo elevator in operation among other curiosities. The Maritime Museum also offers tour packages that include perks like lunch on the S.S. Rotterdam.
Maritime Museum Rotterdam
Address: Leuvehaven 1, 3011 EA Rotterdam, Netherlands
Price: from ~12.25 USD / 11.50 EUR
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10 am to 5 pm. Closed on Mondays.
Duration: around 3 hours required.
Access: 6 minutes via transit from Rotterdam Centraal Station.
Contact: +31 10 414 2285
Website: Maritime Museum Rotterdam
Kunsthal is among the newer museums that have sprung up in Rotterdam over the past couple of decades. Part of its interest is in its eclectic design, which was the brainchild of globally-known architect Rem Koolhaas and built in 1992. It was built to convey a mixture of instantaneous sensibilities with smooth marble surfaces contrasting steel beams and a bright orange girder adorning its roof. The Kunsthal sits adjacent to the Museumpark, which links the museum to other artistic institutions around the glade. There are no permanent exhibitions, but there’s a number of exhibits that are held throughout the year there, which contain works from past and present artists, mainly in a vast gallery space that allows for exhibitions to be held parallel to each other.
Address: Westzeedijk 341, 3015 AA Rotterdam, Netherlands
Price: from ~13 USD / 12 EUR
Opening Hours: 10 am to 5 pm Tuesday to Saturday. Sunday 11 am to 5pm. Closed Mondays.
Duration: around 2.5 hours required.
Access: 8 minutes from Rotterdam Centraal Station.
Contact: +31 10 440 0300
Near by Food: Lunchroom Wereldmuseum
A final ramble through Rotterdam
The city of Rotterdam has a sense of style that preserves the old traditions and also promotes new and bold outlooks. Visitors who like a mixture of that sort to be present as they explore a new city will be delighted to have the chance to experience both ends of this spectrum.
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