Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Rotterdam
The port town of Rotterdam, the second largest city in the Netherlands, lies on both banks of the Nieuwe Maas, the southern arm of the Rhine, here joined by the little river Rotte.
At this point, and for a good distance upstream, the Maas is still tidal, with a variation in water level between high and low tide of between 1.2 and 2.5m (4 and 8ft).Since the opening of the Europoort in 1966 Rotterdam has been the largest port in the world in the volume of goods handled, and in consequence has developed into a gigantic commercial and industrial center whose full growth potential is still very far from being realized. The major imports are oil, mineral ores, grain, timber and fats, the main exports coal and foodstuffs; and Rotterdam is also an important transshipment point for raw tobacco. The city's principal industries are shipbuilding (with the largest shipyard in Europe), engineering, the manufacture of railroad rolling stock, electrical engineering, petrochemicals (with the largest plant in Europe), semi-luxury foods and tobacco, clothing manufacture and papermaking. Rotterdam owes its rapid development to its fortunate situation on a navigable waterway with access to the North Sea throughout the year without the intervention of any locks. Its seaport can handle ships of up to 90,000 tons with a draught of up to 12m (39ft), and in addition it has the largest inland port in Europe.Central Rotterdam was almost completely destroyed by German air attacks in 1940. The energetic rebuilding of the city after the war, re-planned with modern shopping streets and residential districts and with numerous high-rise blocks, has made Rotterdam one of the most modern cities in Europe. Around the city center are the districts of Kralingen to the east, Delfshaven to the west and Feijenoord to the south, with an outer ring of suburbs (Overschie, Hillegersberg, IJsselmonde and Pernis) beyond this. Hoek van Holland (Hook of Holland) also lies within the city area; Schiedam, Vlaardingen and Maassluis are independent towns, though closely adjoining Rotterdam on the west. Together with its surrounding satellite towns Rotterdam now forms a highly industrialized conurbation with well over a million inhabitants.Rotterdam developed out of a settlement founded in early medieval times. A first period of prosperity began in the 13th century, when a dam was built to separate the little river Rotte from the Nieuwe Maas: hence the name Rotterdam. The town received its municipal charter in 1340. Soon afterwards a canal to the Schie linked it with the then important commercial town of Delft, from the prosperity of which it soon began to benefit. This first period of prosperity saw the birth of Rotterdam's most celebrated citizen, the famous humanist Erasmus (born ca. 1467, d. 1536 in Basle). In 1563 most of the town was destroyed by fire. A new phase of development began, however, in 1585, when many thousands of refugees from the Spanish Netherlands settled in Rotterdam. The manufacture of cloth and carpets in particular brought a further period of prosperity. The port was less important in the 17th century, with only about a fifth of the turnover of the rival town of Amsterdam. The rapid growth of the port began after the split with Belgium, when the Dutch dammed the Schelde (1830-39). The obstacle to the passage of large vessels by the steady silting up of the Maas estuary was removed in 1866 by the construction and constant deepening of the Nieuwe Waterweg, and at the point where it reached the North Sea the new suburb of Hoek van Holland (Hook of Holland) came into being.
Mariniersmuseum & Noordereiland
The southern districts of Rotterdam on the left bank of the Maas can be reached either by way of the busy Willemsbrug, parallel to which is a railroad bridge, or through the Maas Tunnel. The Willemsbrug leads to the Noordereiland, a long island in the middle of the river. Here, at Maaskade 119, is the Mariniersmuseum, which illustrates the history of the Corps of Marines from its establishment in 1665 to the present day.
On the far side of the Noordereiland is the Koningshaven (1km/.75mile long), with the oldest port installations on the left bank of the Maas (1873), which is spanned by road and rail bridges. To the south of this is the Feijenoord district, with the Binnenhaven, the Spoorweghaven, the large Maashaven (58 hectares/143 acres), built on the site of the old village of Katendrecht, and the small Charlois (pronounced Sharlóis) Docks.
To the west of the Charlois Docks stretches the large Waalhaven (310 hectares/766 acres), one of the largest dock complexes in the world. West of the Waalhaven is the suburb of Pernis, at the junction of the Oude and the Nieuwe Maas, where the Nieuwe Waterweg (Het Scheur) begins. From here the vast Europoort complex extends westward between the Nieuwe Waterweg and the Brielse Maas (Brielse Meer) to reach the North Sea at Hoek van Holland.
World Harbor Days
World Harbor Days in Rotterdam feature shopping and entertainment opportunities with a nautical theme.
Address: Box 6622, Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3002 AP, Netherlands
Northwest of the Central Station is Blijdorp Zoo (Diergaarde), established in 1857. The large Riviera Hall complex contains freshwater and saltwater aquariums, tropical plants and birds. Most of the animals are in open enclosures designed to resemble their natural habitat. The new section called Asia (1990), for example, includes a swamp forest with two large aviaries for exotic birds, a Mongolian steppe, a bat cave, Chinese fauna and a Chinese garden.
Address: Blijdorplaan 8, Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3041 JE, Netherlands
On the southeast side of the Kralingse Plas stands a windmill known as De Ster, a snuff and spice mill of 1740 (restored); closed on Sunday. Farther north are two other windmills, the Prinsenmolen (1648) on the Bergse Voorplas and De Vier Winden (1776) on the banks of the Rotte.
In northeastern Rotterdam, beyond the district of Kralingen, lies a large lake, Kralingse Plas, set in the Kralingse Bos, a wooded area (220 hectares/550 acres) much favored by the people of Rotterdam at weekends. There are several restaurants and facilities for water sports.
To the south of the Kralingse Plas is the Rotterdam Toy Museum, with a collection of rare dolls, dolls' houses and mechanical toys from 1700 to 1940.
Address: Groene Wetering 41, Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3000 PM, Netherlands
South of Kralingse Plas in Rotterdam (near the Maasboulevard), can be found the Trompenburg Arboretum, in the grounds of Trompenburg, an old country house (1820). In addition to beeches, oaks and rhododendrons there are thousands of trees and shrubs from all over the world.
Address: Honingerdijk 86, Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3062 NX, Netherlands
In Rotterdam, to the south of the Boymans-van Beuningen Museum is the Westzeedijk, which runs from the Leuvehaven to the Schiehaven. In this area are a number of smaller docks including the Parkhaven, the St Jacobshaven, the Schiehaven and the Coolhaven.
To be found at KunstHAL in Rotterdam are a variety of constantly changing exhibitions on visual arts, design, photography, architecture and cultures originating in the Eastern world.
Address: Westzeedijk 341, Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3015 AA, Netherlands
Gateway to Europe
Europoort, the "Gateway to Europe" is known for being one of the largest ports in the world.
Several events occur in Rotterdam throughout the year.
The Sunday Market in Rotterdam has numerous stands with books, art, antiques, and more.
Heineken Jazz Festival
Heineken Jazz Festival.This annual festival takes place in October and presents well known performers from all over the world.
International Film Festival
International Film Festival in Rotterdam.This annual festival takes place in January.
Pop Park Open-Air Festival
Pop Park Open-Air Festival.This annual festival takes place in September.
Poetry International Rotterdam hosts an annual Festival held in June.
The Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam was completed in 1996. It spans the River Maas and joins the north and south sections of the city. The bridge is a beautiful piece of architecture, particularly when lit up at night.
The Chabot Museum features the works of the Dutch painter and sculptor, Henk Chabot. The collection is housed in a 1938 white villa built by architect G.W. Bass and was originally a private residence.
Address: Museumpark 11, Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3015, Netherlands
Europort, held in Rotterdam, is a huge annual international maritime exhibition. The event takes place in 10 halls that cover 40,000 m2 in space. Europort takes place in November.
The Havenmuseum is a "working" museum located in the harbour in the heart of Rotterdam. In the Leuvehaven many ships, derricks and a steam elevator are moored and still intheir original, ready-to-operate state and open to visitors.
Address: Leuvehaven 50, Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3011, Netherlands
The IMAX in Rotterdam (Club IMAX) offers a highly advanced projection system giving the incredible sensation of being a part of the film in this audio-visual theater.
Address: Leuvehaven 77, Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3011 EA, Netherlands
Thermen Holiday Sauna and Beauty Center
The Thermen Holiday Sauna and Beauty Center in Rotterdam offers saunas with various themes, swimming pools, and cooling facilities all in a tranquil setting. In the summer the resort is enhanced by the outdoor gardens and sunbeds.
Address: Prinses Beatrixlaan 10, Schiedam, Zuid-Holland 3121 JN, Netherlands
Diamond Center Rotterdam is one of two diamond cutting workshops open to the public.
Address: Kipstraat 7B, Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3011 RR, Netherlands
Market of Antiques
The Rotterdam Market of antiques, curios and general goods, can be found in and around Mariniersweg.
Tropicana in Rotterdam is an aquatic center with all kinds of fun water based activities for all ages, including slides, sauna, spa facilities, and more.
Address: Maasboulevard 100, Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3063 NS, Netherlands
Commune: Nieuw LekkerlandBetween Rotterdam and Dordrecht, on the river Noord, is the village of Kinderdijk ("Children's Dike"). The name comes from a legend that during the St Elizabeth's Day flood in 1421 a child's cradle was stranded on the dike.Kinderdijk attracts tourists to the many windmills, which are on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and date back to 1740.
The 19 Kinderdijk windmills, ranging in date between 1722 and 1761, are the largest surviving concentration of windmills in the Netherlands. The windmills, originally used to drain the fenlands, are now protected as national monuments. Their huge sails have a span of up to 28m/92ft. One of the mills is open to the public from April to September, and in July and August 17 of the mills are set in motion on Saturdays (molendagen, "mill days").
The windmills of Kinderdijk operate on Saturdays during the summer months.
More on PlanetWare