Rotterdam is home to the largest port in Europe, bold architecture, has a knack for re-using neglected building and trying them into working masterpieces and after spending a weekend in Rotterdam. I realised there is more to the city of Rotterdam than you might have guessed.
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Here are five reasons why you should visit Rotterdam (aka Amsterdam’s little brother).
Rotterdam’s Street Art and Where to Find the Coolest Street Art in Rotterdam
My hotel was on the hip and artsy Witte De Withstraat. I came across remarkable street art like the street art you see in Shoreditch London. I also found that a lot of the street art in Rotterdam was along Witte De Withstraat and its side streets. If you’re looking for things to do in Rotterdam, then high on your list should be to visit Rotterdam’s street art.
There’s even an app, from Rewriters artist collective for the city. I saw one of the guys doing a tag of the conference I was attending in Rotterdam and was so impressed.
The app gives you a map of each art piece and the route of the best street art in Rotterdam and is a self-guided walking tour.
Here are some of the street art in Rotterdam, you will see using the Rewriters app.
Unique Architecture of Rotterdam
The audacious architecture that fills Rotterdam skyline can’t be denied, far from the quaint canal houses of Amsterdam. After the heart of Rotterdam was utterly bombed during the second world war.
The city of Rotterdam decided to rebuild from scratch doing away with the old European style of architecture, engaging with visionary architects like Peit Blom to bring about a more modernist feel to the city.
Peit Bloom is also the architect behind the eccentric 45 degrees tilting yellow cube houses that draws people far and wide to see it. Whether along the harbours or dancing above the city skyline, Rotterdam is packed with iconic architecture waiting to discover. Like the reconstructed Central Station which has kept some of the historical elements while introducing a striking modern design.
The 800-metre suspension steel cable Erasmus Bridge -that some say looks like a swan, though I think it sort of looks like the ears of a Pharaoh's cat. My favourite is the next dimension portal Markthal (Market Hall), is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Walking into the market hall, I wanted to squeal beam me up, Scotty.
History of Rotterdam
Even though Rotterdam is considered a new city compared to cities in the Netherlands like Amsterdam, The Hague or Utrecht. Due to the bombing that destroyed the heart of Rotterdam during the second world war. There is still so much about the city’s history that can be discovered.
Like the first skyscraper in Europe (Wit Huis), harbours and ports in Rotterdam that connects it to the rest of the world.
If you want to learn more about the history of Rotterdam, I would suggest visiting their tourism office which is open to the public. Where you can get travel information about Rotterdam, watch a brief history of Rotterdam redevelopment and get tourist day passes for the city.
I also did the Rotterdam Pages walking tour around the city and was astounded by the knowledge and enthusiasm of my local guide and would recommend their tour of Rotterdam city.
Rotterdam's Art, Culture and Nightlife
Staying on the Witte De Withstraat itself made me understand why it’s the busiest street in Rotterdam. Witte De Withstraat has it all - art, cultural and a great nightlife. There is a variety of café’s, bars, restaurants, hotels and hostels, giving you more options than you’ll know what to do.
With galleries like Galerie Ecce for contemporary art and Witte de With Contemporary Art - a space for exhibitions of modern and contemporary art. Restaurants from Vietnamese eatery vivu, Oliva for Italian and Bagel Bakery. Bars – Café De Witte Aap and Nieuw Rotterdam Café.
You will have a fun time on Witte De Withstraat.
The Food Scene
Visiting the Netherlands for the second time, I’ve noticed that the people in the Netherlands like their food fresh, locally sourced and colourful. Evident from the various food on offer at the Netherlands largest covered market (Markthal) with 100 food stalls serving up, meat, cheese, sushi, Lebanese and vegan dishes all under a glorious floral mural covered ceiling.
If you’re looking for something trendier, then look no further that Fenix Food Factory as recommended to me by one of the guys at my hotel. Fenix Food Factory housed in a once disused warehouse where whether you’re a died hard carnivore or a budding vegan there will be some to satisfy your carving.
So, there are my five reasons why you should visit Rotterdam, which will open you up to see a different side to the Dutch.