Rotterdam, Netherlands

Sights of Rotterdam, Netherlands

In recent years, Rotterdam has become the number two city break destination in the Netherlands. The port city has transformed from a rough working-class town into a real crowd favorite, which knows how to appeal to a wide audience. As a shopping city, Rotterdam has a lot to offer, the diversity of the museums is an example for many other cities and the city seems to be in constant motion. Rotterdam is bustling, transforming and reinventing itself time and time again. An additional advantage is that the center of Rotterdam is compact enough to keep the distances between the sights manageable. As a result, you can discover quite a few highlights of the city during a day in Rotterdam.

According to, the second city of the Netherlands is an important logistics hub in which the port of Rotterdam plays an important role. The port is one of the most important ports in the world. Rotterdamis located on the Nieuwe Maas and is characterized by a lot of modern architecture. This is mainly due to the virtually flat bombing of the Rotterdam city center during the Second World War. Especially when you walk along the quays of the Nieuwe Maas you see how strongly the skyline of Rotterdam is dominated by modern buildings. Due to the partial lack of a historic center, Rotterdam is different from the average Western European city, but certainly no less worth a visit. The forced new start of Rotterdam after World War II has ensured that modern architecture has been given plenty of space within the heart of the city.

Top 10 sights of Rotterdam

#1. The port of Rotterdam

Between the years 1962 and 2004, the port of Rotterdam was the largest in the world. The port is still a major player when it comes to storage and transhipment, offering employment to more than a quarter of a million people. A nice way to get acquainted with the port of Rotterdam is a harbor boat trip from Spido. During a 75-minute cruise you can enjoy the skyline of Rotterdam from the water, visit the harbor with detailed explanations and sail past the steamship ‘SS Rotterdam’.

As a port city, Rotterdam is forever connected to the river Maas. The ubiquitous water creates a certain pleasant atmosphere in the city. It seems to be a kind of reference to a past in which Rotterdam occupied an important trading position. The Delfshavense Schie flows between the Spangen district and Rotterdam-West and De Rotte, to which Rotterdam owes its name, flows through the Crooswijk district. As a recreational area, the Kralingse Plas and the Kralingse Bos can always count on many visitors. It is therefore very popular with the people of Rotterdam themselves. The people of Rotterdam prefer to stroll along the Boompjeskade, Parkkade, Westerkade and Willemskade.

#2. Market hall

The Market Hallis a striking structure that has been put away in the center of Rotterdam. As a result, since the autumn of 2014, Rotterdam suddenly came into possession of one of the most beautiful covered markets in Europe. Within the Markthal you can enjoy food and drinks in all possible forms: beautiful ingredients, beautiful foods to take home and mouth-watering dishes to enjoy on the spot: the Markthal has it all! The architecture of the Markthal is special. The dome-shaped structure is characterized by the two largely glass sides, which give the Markthal an enormous sense of space and light. In the Markthal you will feel as if you are outside when there is sufficient light.

#3. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is one of the best art museums in the Netherlands. The museum has an extensive and very varied collection of visual art, applied art and design. The diversity within the exhibitions ensures that almost everyone feels at home in this museum, which was founded in 1849. The permanent collection includes paintings and drawings from different periods and in different styles, such as Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Impressionism and Realism. You will come across works by famous artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt van Rijn and Jheronimus Bosch. There is also room for creations by contemporary artists.

In 2021, the Depot Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen will be open to the public. With an online ticket you can visit this first publicly accessible museum art depot. For those who do not have a ticket, the design of the MVRDV architectural firm is already a sight in itself.

#4. Euromast

All the beauty that Rotterdam has to offer can actually be captured in one moment. From the 185 meter high Euromast you have an incredibly beautiful view of the city and everything it has to offer. The Euromast, which is located in the Scheepvaartkwartier, was festively opened on March 25, 1960. The flower and horticultural exhibition ‘Floriade; held. Architects Maaskant and van Eesteren are responsible for the design of the Euromast. Right from the first day, this watchtower has welcomed many visitors. A restaurant is also located at the emergency platform.

#5. Maritime Museum

Maritime life is the basis for the city that Rotterdam is today. Centuries of seafaring and logistics activities have shaped the city. There are several ways to discover maritime history. A visit to the port of Rotterdam is one way, especially if you do it under the guidance of a guide, such as with a cruise. A real recommendation to dive into the maritime history of Rotterdam is to visit the Maritime Museum. This harbor museum is located in the center of Rotterdam, on the Leuvehaven. It consists of an outdoor part and an indoor part. Outside you can see real boats and all kinds of port-related tools, such as a harbor crane, a locomotive and a lighthouse.

#6. Kunsthal

An art museum that is one of our favorite museums in the Netherlands is the Kunsthal. This exhibition space, which opened in 1992, does not have its own collection. As a result, only temporary exhibitions are held. There are always several exhibitions on display, which can illuminate a wide variety of topics. This always creates a nice mix of exhibitions. Sometimes a very specific subject is highlighted, while at the same time a broader exhibition is also taking place on another floor. About five exhibitions can be held simultaneously in the Kunsthal, which you can visit with one entrance ticket.

#7. Bridges

Where there is water, there are bridges. That certainly applies to Rotterdam. In the case of this port city, the bridges are sights in themselves. The Erasmus Bridge, designed by Ben van Berkel, is of course a good example of this. This cable-stayed bridge can now be counted as one of the icons of Rotterdam. Thanks to the beautiful lighting during the dark hours, it is a striking part of the Rotterdam skyline. The red Willemsbrug is also a cable-stayed bridge, but it is somewhat older than the Erasmus Bridge. This second variant of the Willemsbrug was built in 1981. A third bridge worth mentioning is the Koningshavenbrug. This steel bridge is better known as De Hef. It is a railway lift bridge that has now been decommissioned and has a headroom of no less than 46.5 meters above NAP. The bridge, which has now been renovated, is a well-known object in the port of Rotterdam and a protected national monument. De Hef will therefore remain standing, despite the fact that it has not been used since 1993.

#8. Blijdorp Zoo

We know the zoo of Rotterdam under the name Diergaarde Blijdorp. This zoo is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and most extensive in the Netherlands. Since Diergaarde Blijdorp has been at its current location in 1938, many expansions have taken place. The park is divided into parts. The parts are: Oceanium, Arctica, North America, South America, Africa, Europe and Asia. There are a number of catering facilities scattered throughout the park and there is a large outdoor playground for the children. Special guided tours can be booked for those who would like to take a look behind the scenes.

#9. Sculpture route Westersingel

You don’t have to visit a museum in Rotterdam to enjoy art. Thanks to the Sculpture Route Westersingel, for example, you can find art on the street. Along this sculpture route, which runs from the Kruiskade to the Westzeedijk, there are 17 sculptures, fourteen of which are part of the International Sculpture Collection (IBC). Among these statues is, for example, a statue of Pablo Picasso, Rodin, Umberto Mastroiani and Paul McCartney’s Santa Claus on Eendrachtsplein.

#10. Architecture

Rotterdam is a paradise for those who love modern and contemporary architecture. Many prominent architects have designed buildings and other objects that now contribute to Rotterdam’s status as an architectural city. Recent examples are De Rotterdam and the completely new Central Station. But what about Huis Sonneveld and Het Timmerhuis. The former Van Nelle factory is a fine example of industrial design. It is not for nothing that this building has ended up on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The cube houses on Blaak are internationally renowned for their design.

Rotterdam, Netherlands