Rotterdam’s attractions are mostly modern facilities, as well as numerous museums and a typical harbor atmosphere. There are not too many historic buildings here, because during the Second World War the city was almost completely bombed. So in Rotterdam we won’t experience a typical old town, but the coastal streets should reward us for it. The largest sea port in Europe is located here.
Rotterdam stands out from other Western European cities with its modern architecture, business character in the form of high-rise office buildings and fairs and exhibitions organized here, as well as rich nightlife. It is an ideal place not only for fans of visiting museums, but also football lovers (there are about 68 football clubs here). It will appeal to creative people and admirers of contemporary art. Rotterdam’s attractions will also be of interest to the youngest participants of the trip, as there are many places interesting for both children and their parents.
See also Amsterdam’s sights and attractions.
Attractions of Rotterdam
This city is a place for everyone who likes to visit larger metropolises and are no strangers to multicultural societies, colorful street-art and hipster pubs. Next to Amsterdam, it is the second such place in the Netherlands that attracts crowds of tourists. Rotterdam’s attractions have been recognized around the world and have been awarded several times as one of the most interesting cities to visit (including by the prestigious New York Times or Lonely Planet).
Sightseeing of Rotterdam
Visiting Rotterdam is not complicated, because the area with the greatest attractions is not very extensive. Thus, the city can be explored on foot or, for example, by renting a bicycle. We can reach slightly more distant places using public transport. In Rotterdam, we have a choice of subway, buses and a water bus in the form of a catamaran.
You need at least two or three days to visit Rotterdam to see everything calmly. It is an ideal city for a weekend getaway or a so-called city-break. You can come here with a group of friends, with children or just for two. Certainly no one will be bored here.
The best times to visit Rotterdam are spring, summer and the beginning of autumn when the weather is most favorable. Then the whole city is teeming with life until late at night. High temperatures make it easier to spend time outdoors, be it in nearby parks or beer gardens, which is also eagerly used not only by tourists, but also local residents.
See also current prices in the Netherlands.
Sights in Rotterdam
Let’s start our visit to Rotterdam from the most interesting and important monuments.
One of the landmarks in Rotterdam that resisted the bombing in 1940 is the City Hall. Erected in 1920, it took 6 years to build. The town hall is currently surrounded by a vast courtyard, and its shape stands out in the city panorama with a 71-meter bell tower, at the top of which stands a statue of a golden angel.
It is here that most often various state and local holidays and celebrations are celebrated. Inside the town hall, the interiors are decorated in the Renaissance style, but the wall paintings were already made in the Art Nouveau style, fashionable at the beginning of the 20th century. Noteworthy are the half-columns and flat pillars that decorate the internal facades.
See also prices in Amsterdam.
St. Lawrence’s Church
Another monument in Rotterdam, which was the only sacred building to survive the Second World War, is the Church of St. Lawrence. Built at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries in the late Gothic style, it is currently the most important Protestant temple in the city. Its old age is clearly visible in the modern urban landscape here.
In the Church of St. Lawrence, it is worth paying attention to the doors, made of bronze in the 1960s, decorated with war and peace motifs. Inside, the huge mechanical organ (the largest in Europe) and the tombs of eminent Dutch people make an impression. Above one of them is the model ship ‘De Liefde’, which was the first European ship to reach Japan in 1600.
Yet another monument that survived the bombing of war is Witte Huis, or the White House. It was erected in 1898 in the Art Nouveau style and was to be one of the office buildings that were built in the USA at that time. At one time it was the tallest building of this type in Europe.
Witte Huis is 43 meters high and has 10 floors. At the time when it was built and commissioned, it was an extremely modern building, due to the telephone exchange that was located here, as well as electricity and gas installations. Inside, there were also two elevators. Today, the White House in Rotterdam is accessible to tourists as there is an observation deck on top of it.
Tourist attractions in Rotterdam
The monuments are already behind us. Now it’s time for Rotterdam’s biggest tourist attractions.
Markthal market hall
One of the tourist attractions in Rotterdam is the Markthal market hall. Its futuristic shape immediately attracts attention while exploring the city. The Markthal market hall is shaped like a horseshoe with a market inside. Interestingly, its exterior houses normal flats and offices. On the other hand, a four-story car park for over 1,200 cars was arranged in the basement.
Inside the Markthal Market Hall, there are stands where we can buy all local products. From sweets, to seafood, pastries and of course various types of cheese. The most impressive, however, is the hall ceiling, as it is entirely covered with colorful graphics, made with the help of the Pixar studio program. On an area of 11,000 square meters, the work entitled “Horn of Plenty”, so you can see various vegetables, fruits, insects and plants. The whole thing is simply to refer to the goods that are sold in Markthal.
Euromast observation tower
Another tourist attraction in Rotterdam is the Euromast Observation Tower. Its height is 186 meters in total, but initially it was only 101 meters. The second part was added due to competition. In addition to the typical viewing function, the tower also houses a TV transmitter, a hotel and a cafe.
There is a restaurant on the first level, called the crow’s nest. On the second level, there is a round mobile platform – Euroscoop. It is it that turns around its axis, slowly rising to the very top of the Euromast Observation Tower. From above, you can admire the entire architecture of Rotterdam, as well as local parks, bridges and of course the port. The Hague itself is said to be visible in good weather.
Cube Houses – Kijk Kubus Houses
One of the biggest attractions for tourists in Rotterdam are Cube Houses. These unusual buildings have already become a symbol of this city, because their image decorates every second postcard, or almost every tourist guide. Unusual cube-shaped houses mounted on concrete poles were designed by Pieta Blom and built in 1984.
There are 38 of them in total, and each of them is divided into three floors. Cube Houses have an area of 100 square meters each, but unfortunately, due to the curvature of the walls and numerous slants, it cannot be fully used. In order to manage the cube houses somehow, you need to use the offer of custom-made furniture. You can see it with your own eyes, because one of the Cube Houses has been made available to tourists.
What’s worth seeing in Rotterdam?
Apart from tourist attractions and monuments, is there anything else worth seeing and visiting in Rotterdam?
In Rotterdam, it is worth visiting the Maritime Museum, which was opened in 2014 after the merger of two institutions. This place will appeal primarily to fans of maritime history, but not only. There are over a million exhibits here that show the rich history of the maritime conquests of the Dutch nation.
In the Maritime Museum in Rotterdam you can see replicas of historic boats, old fishing boats and sailing ships, and even the preserved originals of old ships. In addition, port tugs and pushers, as well as cranes and lighthouses are shown here. In addition, at the Maritime Museum, there is a chance to see what work on oil rigs looks like, or experience work as a port crane operator.
Also check the highways in the Netherlands.
Erasmusbrug suspension bridge
While visiting Rotterdam, the Erasmusbrug suspension bridge is also worth seeing. It connects the northern and southern parts of the city, which is divided by the Nieuwe Maas river. The Erasmusburg Bridge is the heaviest and largest drawbridge in Europe. It was put into use in 1996, and its name comes from probably the most famous inhabitant of Rotterdam, Erasmus – a famous humanist who lived during the Renaissance.
The Erasmusbrug suspension bridge is 808 meters long and is called the White Swan because of its spectacular 139 meters high white pylon. It was used several times as a background for action movies or cycling races, but also as a venue for Red Bull Air competitions. From the Erasmusbrug bridge you can admire the Rotterdam skyline with its modern skyscrapers, as well as the harbor district with its huge standing cranes and container ships.
Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum
A place that is also worth seeing in Rotterdam is the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, one of the six largest in the Netherlands. There are over 125,000 works in it, from the Middle Ages to the present. Its collections include paintings, graphics, sculptures and photographs. The museum was established in 1841, and a few years later its collection was supplemented by the private collection of lawyer Frans Jacob Otto Boijmans.
The building of the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum is modern and located in the so-called Museum Park, where there are more museum objects. Inside, you can admire works by Titian, Hubert, Van Gogh, Jan van Eyck, Rubens, Hieronimus Bosch, Monet and Veronese. Sculptural art is represented here by artists such as Degas, Rodin and Man Raya.
Interesting places in Rotterdam
What other interesting places can you find in Rotterdam?
One of the interesting places in Rotterdam is the Feijenoord Stadion. It was built shortly before the Second World War and today it is the home of the famous football team Feyenoord. It is here that the most important sports events take place, including the football matches of the national team of the Netherlands.
As part of the Feijenoord stadium tour, you can see the players’ changing rooms, the tunnel through which they enter the pitch, and the pitch itself. Over 51,000 fans can sit here.
An interesting place in Rotterdam is also the Rotterdam Zoo. This zoo is the oldest of its kind in the whole of the Netherlands. The whole thing is divided into individual continents, and the animals are kept in conditions as close to natural as possible. So while walking around the Rotterdam zoo, we can see both the savannah, the tropical forest and the ice grotto.
The Rotterdam Zoo is home to a wide variety of animals. From gorillas to bats, crocodiles, elephants and polar bears. There is also a butterfly house on site and probably the biggest attraction – the aquarium. You can see sharks, various fish and other sea creatures through a special underwater tunnel. In addition, there are also penguins, turtles, seals, otters and puffins.
One of the most interesting places in Rotterdam is also Rotterdam MiniWorld, a city depicted in miniature models. The whole thing is 200 square meters and is made in 1:87 scale. Mini Rotterdam is fully automated, which means that the lights are on, the communication of the place runs, etc. Not only that, it takes a normal day in the city and dusk slowly follows every 24 minutes, so you can also admire the metropolis at night.
In Rotterdam MiniWorld, you can see all the major tourist attractions of this city, scaled down accordingly. From the center, through green areas, to the port quay. When viewing mock-ups, it is worth taking a closer look at the details, thanks to which we will catch such Easter eggs as favorite animated characters – pokemons or teletubbies. In addition to Rotterdam in miniature, you can see here for some time, also the areas of Scotland and England in the appropriate reduction.
Also check out the official website of Rotterdam.
Rotterdam tourist attractions map
On the map of tourist attractions below you will find the most interesting places and monuments in Rotterdam: