Welcome, explorers, to the dynamic city of Rotterdam! I’m delighted to be your guide as we venture beyond Amsterdam to discover the unique charms of this bustling metropolis. If you don’t understand it from this introduction, you are currently on a day trip to Rotterdam from Amsterdam, and your guide is already introducing the city to you! Pay attention, the city has a lot to show you are a first-time visitor!

Rotterdam, often referred to as the “Gateway to Europe,” stands as a testament to resilience and innovation. Unlike Amsterdam’s charming canals and historic buildings, Rotterdam boasts a modern skyline adorned with bold architectural marvels. This is due to much of the city being destroyed during World War II, leading to a remarkable rebuilding effort that has resulted in a vibrant urban landscape.

Now, let’s dive into Rotterdam’s rich history and compare it with Amsterdam. While both cities share a deep connection to maritime trade, Rotterdam has traditionally been more industrial, serving as one of Europe’s busiest ports. Its strategic location on the Maas River has shaped its identity as a hub for commerce, culture, and creativity.

A painting of Rotterdam in Rembrandt style.

As we explore Rotterdam, you’ll notice its distinct character and innovative spirit. Here are some highlights of our day trip:

  1. Erasmus Bridge: Marvel at the sleek lines of the iconic Erasmus Bridge, also known as the “Swan.” This architectural masterpiece connects the northern and southern parts of the city and offers stunning views of the skyline and the river.
  2. Markthal: Step inside the futuristic Markthal, a food market and residential building rolled into one. Admire the vibrant ceiling artwork, indulge in culinary delights from around the world, and soak up the bustling atmosphere.
  3. Cube Houses: Discover Rotterdam’s quirky side with a visit to the Cube Houses, a bold architectural experiment designed by Piet Blom. These tilted cubes offer a fascinating glimpse into innovative urban living.
  4. Euromast: Ascend the Euromast, Rotterdam’s tallest structure, for panoramic views of the city and beyond. Experience the thrill of the rotating Euroscoop, offering a bird’s-eye perspective of Rotterdam’s skyline. It was built in 1960, and the highest point is at 185 meters. A trip to the middle of the tower is cool, but it gets really exciting traveling with the Euroscoop to the top of the tower. It gives a stunning overview of the harbor and Rotterdam.
  5. Museums: Rotterdam boasts an array of world-class museums, including the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, where you can travel through the history of art, from the Middle Ages to the 21st century (with works from Bosch, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Dalí on display), and the Maritime Museum, which delves into the city’s seafaring heritage.
  6. Feyenoord Football Club: For sports enthusiasts, a visit to De Kuip, home of Feyenoord Football Club, is a must. Experience the passion of Dutch football as you immerse yourself in the club’s rich history and traditions.

If you come with kids, a great place to go is the local zoo where you can enjoy fresh air and beautiful animals in a harmonic combination.

Where and what to eat in Rotterdam?

These are some of the most important places to visit and discover in Rotterdam. But, if you are going to visit all these places, you are going to get hungry soon. Where should you eat? And what should you eat in Rotterdam? Here you have a couple of suggestions.

  1. Hollandse Nieuwe Haring: Dive into Dutch culinary tradition with a taste of Hollandse Nieuwe Haring, or “New Dutch Herring.” Served raw with onions and pickles, this fresh and flavorful fish is a local delicacy best enjoyed between May and July.
  2. Stroopwafels: Indulge your sweet tooth with Rotterdam’s version of this classic Dutch treat. Stroopwafels are thin waffle cookies filled with gooey caramel syrup, best enjoyed warm from a street market or bakery.
  3. Indonesian Rijsttafel: Explore Rotterdam’s colonial heritage with a feast of Indonesian rijsttafel, a Dutch-Indonesian culinary tradition. Sample a variety of small dishes, from spicy sambals to fragrant curries and satays, served with rice for a truly flavorful experience.
  4. Rotterdamse Kapsalon: Treat yourself to a hearty and indulgent Rotterdamse Kapsalon, a dish inspired by the city’s multicultural influences. This savory meal-in-a-box features layers of fries topped with shawarma or kebab meat, melted cheese, fresh salad, and garlic sauce—a true comfort food favorite among locals.
  5. Rotterdamse Oude Kaas: Cheese lovers rejoice! Sample Rotterdamse Oude Kaas, aged cheese with a rich and robust flavor. Pair it with a glass of Dutch beer or wine for the perfect savory snack.
  6. Surinamese Roti: Experience the flavors of Suriname with a plate of Surinamese Roti. This aromatic and spicy dish features tender chicken, potatoes, and vegetables served with roti bread—a true fusion of flavors that reflects Rotterdam’s multicultural identity.
  7. Seafood: Being a port city, Rotterdam offers an abundance of fresh seafood. Whether you’re craving oysters, mussels, or North Sea shrimp, you’ll find plenty of options to satisfy your seafood cravings at local restaurants and fish markets.

These are just a few of the culinary delights awaiting you in Rotterdam. It is often tempting to play the safe card and order something you know, but it is much cooler to take some risks and try something new. As you visit Rotterdam, go wild, go crazy, and order something that you haven’t tasted before. You will not regret it, even though you might end up buying something you don’t like! Bon appétit!

Rotterdam pictures

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