Rotterdam is located in the southern Netherlands and is the second largest city in the country after the capital Amsterdam with a population of approximately 630,000. Rotterdam has been a major city for many hundreds of years and has always served as a large port as it lies on the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt river delta.
Since the 1300’s the port of Rotterdam has developed and served as a major port of the Dutch East India Company. During WWII Rotterdam saw extensive bombing and its center was almost completely destroyed, however after this the city was slowly rebuilt and once again stands as a modern port.
Aside from its fascinating port, Rotterdam also features some fantastic architecture like the modern cube buildings and the Euromast Tower, but also has a wonderful variety of museums, eateries and activities to enjoy.
Below a list with the Top 12 Best Things To Do in Rotterdam:
1. Markthal Rotterdam
The market section of the Markthal contains a huge array of shops, stalls, restaurants and bars such as a Tea bar, a tapas bar, a “world of drinks” shop and over 70 other different businesses. It really is a cool and vibrant place to explore and sample some find food and drink.
2. Rotterdam Zoo
The zoo is split into several different themed areas including a Chinese garden, a Malayan Forest, Mongolian Steppes and a crocodile river. Animals include the Black Rhino, Greater Kudu, Sumatran Tiger, Asian Elephant and the Amur Leopard. This zoo really is a fantastic place for both children and adults alike and the wide variety of enclosures and interactive elements will provide hours of fun.
3. Euromast Tower
The Euromast Tower is an observation station that was created in 1960 to provide panoramic views of the Rotterdam Cityscape. The towers stands at 606ft and with its antenna it is the tallest building in Rotterdam. The tower features a restaurant, a conference room for business meetings, a hotel suite and of course the observation deck.
This is the perfect way to see the sprawling expanse of Rotterdam and its ports and the entrance fee is quite modest for both adults and children. If you are looking for a little adrenaline action you can even zip-line or abseil from the tower!
4. Erasmus Bridge
This monumental bridge spans the Nieuwe Maas distributary of the Rhine and runs from the confluence of the Noord and Lek rivers. The length of this impressive bridge stretches to an immense 802m making it the second largest in the Netherlands. The bridge is nicknamed the Swan due to its large upright mast that resembles the neck of a swan.
In the centre of the bridge there is a bascule section that opens to allow larger ships passage through the waters. This feat of modern engineering creates an impressive backdrop to the port of Rotterdam and is a fine construction to admire and walk across.
5. Rotterdam Central Station
The clock and the large letters that are set in the station entrance were transferred from the old station to retain some of its memory. The station connects to many other destinations in the Netherlands including Amsterdam, Den Haag, Groningen and Tilburg and sees 100,000+ passengers come through its doors on a daily basis.
6. Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk
The church was one of the first all-stone buildings to be created in Rotterdam and has served as a place for many important events. Located in the old town centre, near the Maritime Museum and the Erasmus Bridge, the church stands out against the relative modern skyline of Rotterdam.
The interior of the church is quite beautiful with many decorated arches, high vaulted ceilings and a variety of stone reliefs and rich religious decoration.
The port is huge beyond belief and is a fascinating place to visit, to understand its importance and the role it plays in the cities and countries economy.
Boat tours are a great way to view the port and you will see many immense cargo ships, the large number of quays, storage facilities and boat yards and be blown away by the sheet scale and operation of this industrial marvel.
8. Maritime Museum
The Maritime Museum is one of the largest of its type in the world with a huge collection of cartography, maritime memorabilia and art. The museum is located in central Rotterdam near the Markthal and the Cube houses.
Some of the interesting exhibitions include a controversial paiting of the Battle of Trafalgar, a collection of figureheads from various ships, different navy uniforms and flags from sea battles.
This really is a place full of interesting objects relating to the maritime world and the artefacts you can find here are world-class.
9. Kinderdijk’s Windmills
Windmills are an iconic structure that has come to define the Netherlands and is one of the main things people associate with the country. Around 20km to the east of central Rotterdam lies the small village of Kinderdjik which is a charming place to visit in its own right. What makes this village an especially magical place however is the many windmills that line the canals here. The 19 windmills stand proudly and have been restored to their original condition and are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This truly is a delightful place to visit and the surrounding countryside and network of canals is extremely impressive.