3 Things To Do In The Port Of…Rotterdam
Whilst Amsterdam is the most popular Dutch river port, the country is home to many other riverside destinations that reveal the history and culture of the Netherlands.
The Belgian and Dutch Waterways wind their way from the North Sea to join up with the Rhine, creating a navigable passage all the way to Lake Constance. Along the way, you’ll stop in the charming city of Rotterdam where there is plenty to see and do. Here are just a few ways to spend half a day in port.
On the 14th May 1940, the German Luftwaffe descended on Rotterdam to conduct what is now known as the Rotterdam Blitz. The majority of buildings were reduced to rubble, hundreds of people were killed and the results of this event can still be seen in the city today. Because of this, modern architecture dominates the skyline, creating a wealth of interesting buildings and quirky bridges across the canals.
One of the most famous projects has to be the Cube Houses, a block of homes built at strange angles and designed by Piet Blom. From the outside, it’s hard to believe that people actually live in these, but you can see for yourself by venturing inside the house that’s open to the public. Other popular pieces of modern architecture include the emblematic Erasmus Bridge, the Tetris-like Timmerhuis and the striking new train station.
Not all was lost on that fateful day in 1940, though. The Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk (Great or St. Lawrence Church) is the one remaining medieval structure in Rotterdam and the first stone building to be built in the city. As well as the ornate vaulted ceilings and beautiful arches, the church features a tower that offers brilliant views.
One other historical building of note is the Witte Huis, built in Art Nouveau style with a whitewashed façade that stands out from street level. This was the first building in Europe to be considered a skyscraper and is now listed as a National Heritage Site.
Savour Local Flavours
Belgium may be better known for its delicious food, but Dutch cities like Rotterdam still have some delicious local flavours to try. The best place to do this is in the giant Markthal, a food hall that features over 70 different bars, restaurants and stands around which you can create your own personalised food tour. Located on various levels, you’ll find Stroopwafels, cheese, croquets and other Dutch delights, alongside world cuisine from Greece, India, France and Morocco.
If you still haven’t had your fill, head to the Fenix Food Factory for more tasty morsels. Under one roof, a range of different street food vendors will show you how their produce is made and provide tantalising menus for you to consider.
Muse At Museums
If you want to spend your time wandering the halls of museums, there are some great options when you arrive in Rotterdam during your river cruise. The first place to try is the Musuempark, an area in the city centre dedicated to five museums that focus on different things. You can even buy a Museumpark Ticket which gives you access to all of these for one discounted cost. The museums here are Museum Boijmans - Van Beuningen, featuring art from the likes of Van Gogh and Monet; the Netherlands Architecture Institute, telling the story of modern architecture in Rotterdam; the Chabot Museum, displaying paintings by Dutch artist Hendrikus Chabot; De Kunsthal, featuring art from some of the world’s top museums; and the Natural History Museum.
However, perhaps the most interesting museum in Rotterdam lies outside of this park. In the old harbour, close to the Cube Houses, you’ll find the Maritime Museum, displaying the city’s proud history with the sea. It is one of the largest maritime museums in the world and features collections of art, naval uniforms, ship figureheads and information about various battles at sea.
If you would like to visit Rotterdam on one of our Belgian and Dutch Waterways cruises, call the team to discuss the itineraries available. You can contact us on 0800 954 0064 or click here to submit an online enquiry.