16 best things to do in Rotterdam

16 best things to do in rotterdam

I usually try to stay objective when writing a post, but I can’t help it with Rotterdam. It is, indeed, my favorite city. Is not just about all the interesting things you can do, but the vibe of the city and its people. I have spent so many good moments and met so many cool people in here.

Rotterdam was bombed during the second world war, and it was technically rebuilt from scratch. The city has a perfect mix between old & new, with ultra-modern, futuristic architecture, plus the laid back attitude that characterizes the dutchs.

Rotterdam is also home to Early hardcore or Rotterdam hardcore, a style of electronic music and a subgenre of hardcore techno, and it played a role in the evolution of electronic music.

Aside from the way I feel about it, Rotterdam features a broad list of activities & attractions, that I will talk about below (besides of course, try its food and go to an electro party):

Markthal rotterdam

Located in the historic Laurenskwartier in the heart of Rotterdam, the Markthal is a residential and office building, a market and a parking. It features a 40m high archway, 228 apartments with windows overlooking the market, a huge colorful artwork  featuring fruits, grains and vegetables and more than 200 restaurants and stallholders.

The building offers an innovative solution for the integration in architecture, tasty, high-end, seasonal fresh food and it is a must see for the foodies (and everyone else).

Nothing like a fresh stroopwafel! (my favorite).

The erasmus bridge in rotterdam

The Erasmus Bridge

The Erasmus (or Erasmusbrug in dutch) is 800-metre long cable-stayed bridge that spans the Maas River and links the northern and southern parts of Rotterdam. An innovation in architecture and engineering, it is the second largest bridge in the Netherlands, a must see of Rotterdam for sure.

The cube houses in Rotterdam

One of the most iconic attractions of Rotterdam, the cube houses were designed by architect Piet Blom with the purpose of “optimise the space”. This residential development stands apart with its 45 degrees design and expand the horizons of modern architecture.

Central Station

Located right in the heart of the city, The Central Station is the main railway station of the city, with an average of 110,000 passengers daily. The station was renovated to meet the needs of the city, but it still preserved some elements from the former station. With a modern and open design, the central station is part of the innovative architecture that Rotterdam stands for.

Euromast tower in rotterdam

Euromast tower

Euromast, where the best view of Rotterdam is guaranteed. Built in 1960 and inspired from the mast of a ship, this tower provides panoramic views of the city, and it is the highest tower in the netherlands. Experience the city of Rotterdam from a height of 100 meters from the outdoor accessible platforms, the rotating glass elevator and a luxury restaurant!

De Rotterdam

One of the most iconic skyscrapers of Rotterdam, De Rotterdam is made up three connected towers, conceived as a vertical city. accommodating offices, apartments, a hotel, conference facilities, shops, restaurants, and cafes. They are part of the redevelopment of the old harbour district of Wilhelminapier and a perfect example of Rotterdam’s urban architecture.

luchtsingel rotterdam

The Luchtsingel is a wooden 390 meter long pedestrian bridge that connects three districts in Rotterdam and is the world’s first piece of public infrastructure to be accomplished through crowdfunding. For every €25 donated, supporters could have their name inscribed onto one of the wooden boards that line the edges of the bridge.

witte huis rotterdam

The Witte Huis (White House in dutch) is a building and National Heritage Site in Rotterdam, as it was one of the few structures that survived the bombs from WWII. It was the tallest office-building in Europe when it was built in 1898. Definitely worth a visit.

Kinderdijks Windmills

Kinderdijk Windmills

Nothing but your favorite dutch postcard. The windmills at Kinderdijk are a group of 19 monumental windmills just 25 minutes away from Rotterdam. The highlight of these moleans is their ingenious system of windmills and pumping stations that has been keeping the soil dry here for nearly a thousand years. A unique piece of history and a UNESCO-listed site.

Santa Claus statue rotterdam

Santa Claus Statue

This Christmas & controversial statue made by american sculptor Paul McCarthy has seen more of Rotterdam than most tourists. It was originally commissioned for the Schouwburgplein square near De Doelen, the city’s orchestra building. No one liked it and the statue generated a lot of controversy, as they found the tree in its hand to be too sexual. The statue gained the nickname “the Butt Plug Gnome,” and it was moved from place to place until it found a permanent home on the Eendrachtsplein.

kapsalon in rotterdam

Kapsalon is nothing but a dish (I like to call it a bomb of calories) made out of fries, cheese, kebab meat, garlic and chili sauces, topped with a lettuce-cucumber-tomato-onion salad. It could also be served in a kebab bread. Created in Rotterdam thanks to the turkish influence, is one of Rotterdam’s most popular late-night snacks and a must try. I only now about it thanks to my dutch friends. It is a local thing. 

The project ‘Bobbing Forrest’ is a concept of artist Jorge Bakker, and is designed to allow to recover trees with the use of pre-existing and recycled marker buoys. Now, 20 float in the port of Rotterdam making the first floating forest in history

Grote of sint-laurenskerk

Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk (or Church of St. Lawrence)  is a Protestant church in Rotterdam and is the only remaining building from the medieval age in Rotterdam. It was severely damaged during the WWII, but restored from the people of Rotterdam in 1952. A perfect example of late gothic architecture with a magnificent interior.

The Pauluskerk rotterdam

Not as well known as it should, these church is just another piece of the innovative architecture of Rotterdam. It served as a refuge for asylum seekers, homeless people and drug addicts in the 50’s. In 2007, it was renovated with an abstract and futuristic look, but keeping its main purpose. Nowadays, it features a thrift store, a coffee shop and a kitchen that serves three meals a day to the homeless.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Located at the Museumpark in the district Rotterdam Centrum, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is an art museum featuring collections of Frans Jacob Otto Boijmans and Daniël George van Beuningen. In the collections are works of RembrandtClaude MonetVincent van Gogh, and Salvador Dalí. This is a must see and truly gave a glimpse of what the art, the people and city of Rotterdam had been through and how they had survived

hotel new york rotterdam

Hotel New York

Located in the former head office of the Holland Amerika Line on the ‘Kop van Zuid‘, which operated the shipping connection between Rotterdam and New York. Just like in the old days, ships still depart and arrive next to the Hotel. The nostalgic building symbolizes the departure of many emigrants with hope and tension of their new homeland. It remains as authentic as when it was built, offering its guests with a high-end restaurant and scenic views of the river.