Rotterdam is the second largest city in the Netherlands and also the world’s largest port. The city was almost completely destroyed by German air attacks in 1940, but the city was energetically rebuilt after the war and re-planned with modern shopping streets, residential districts, and high-rises, making it one of the most modern and architecturally interesting cities in Europe. The city is a popular holiday destination with its vibrant entertainment options as it is for its many fine museums and splendid architecture.
TOP 8 PLACES TO VISIT
1.GROTE OF SINT-LAURENSKERK
The only medieval building left in Rotterdam but most of it was destroyed during WWII. Built on once marshy ground during the 15th century giving the building a peculiar lean that was only halted after its foundation was rebuilt in 1650. Some of the highlights of the church is the bright interior, an effect heightened by the colored glass of its windows, the three Danish organs, the bronze door of the main entrance, a piece by the Italian artist Giacomo Manzu “War and Peace” and a statue of Rotterdam's most famous son, Erasmus. Guided tours and special tower climbs are available.
The Village of Kinderdijk is just 23 kilometers east of Rotterdam. It is named after the legend that describes a baby's cradle being stranded here during the St. Elizabeth's Day flood of 1421. As one of the most visited places in Netherlands thanks to its 19 perfectly preserved 18th century windmills, each designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built between 1722 and 1761, the windmills comprise the largest surviving concentration of the country, a history that's celebrated during special Mill Days when their sails are once again set in motion.
3.THE CUBE HOUSES
Due to the devastation of WWII the city is home to many examples of architecture. The cities most famous Cube Houses was designed by Dutch Architect Piet Blom - this block of houses with their unique cube-shaped upper stories can be enjoyed as part of a walking tour of the city. On display in the Show Cube is the design and history of the buildings. You can also visit the museum at the Netherlands Architecture Institute outlining the development of various architectural movements over the decades.
4.SEA-THEMED MUSEUM: MARITIME MUSEUM ROTTERDAM
The museum was established in 1873 and provides a fascinating look into the cities connection to the sea and its many waterways. On display is a large collection of material on the history of shipping and seafaring, including ship models, a reconstruction of a 2,000-year-old vessel, and numerous seafaring paintings.
5.KUNSTHAL: ROTTERDAM’S ART HALL
Opened in 1992, the trendy gallery hosts a variety of constantly changing exhibits of visual arts, design, architecture, and culture from across the globe. You can also visit the Chabot Museum featuring the works of Dutch painter and sculptor Henk Chabot, housed in a superb white villa built in 1938. Another museum to visit is the Netherlands Photo Museum highlighting a broad collection of historical images by numerous Dutch photographers.
6.THE CHURCH OF OUR LADY – GROTE KERK, DORDRECHT
The church has one of the most picturesque settings of any Dutch church. The church was built on an earlier 15th century church, overlooking a quaint canal that dissects the old town center. The tower began to sink as a result of a fault in construction, resulting in its present half-finished appearance. Interior highlights include its magnificent oak choir-stalls, carved in Renaissance style in 1541 and the finest of their kind in the Netherlands, along with stained glass windows depicting important events in the town's history, the large organ, built in 1671 and decorated with the coats of arms of Dordrecht.
7. THE EUROMAST
At the north entrance to the Maas Tunnel lies one of Rotterdam’s most distinctive landmarks, the Euromast. The 185-meter-high tower was built in 1960 and offer superb views over Rotterdam. For thrill seekers there’s the chance to abseil down the building. English language guided tours are available.
8.MUSEUM BOYMANS-VAN BEUNINGEN
As one of Netherlands most important art establishments, the museum is known around the world for its superb collections of paintings, sculptures, and applied and decorative arts from across Europe. Painters from the 14th, 16th and 17th century is well represented, with works by Hubert and Jan van Eyck, Hieronymus Bosch, and Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Rembrandt and Rubens, Monet, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Picasso, Matisse, and Chagall. You can also visit the Wereldmuseum with its excellent displays of artifacts from ancient and modern cultures from around the world.
OTHER PLACES TO SEE
Rotterdam has an excellent public transport system, provided by the RET. You can get all over the city by bus, tram, waterbus and metro.Average temperatures in Rotterdam vary little and are seasonally temperate.
The best times to visit Rotterdam for ideal weather areMay 21st to September 23rd.