Things to do - general

Rotterdam is een jonge en dynamische metropool met een onstuimig kloppend hart. Een stad die blijft vernieuwen. Bij ieder bezoek is de toch al indrukwekkende skyline opnieuw uitgebreid en zal er weer een nieuw cultureel of sportief evenement te zien zijn.

Een moderne stad als Rotterdam heeft zijn inwoners en bezoekers veel te bieden op het gebied van bezienswaardigheden, attracties en monumenten. Om alles te bekijken kun je het best meerdere dagen uittrekken.

Rotterdam is het meest bekend om zijn haven met vele containers, maar in de afgelopen jaren, zijn er steeds meer mooie projecten bijgekomen. Het grootste gebouw van Nederland, de “verticale stad”, genaamd De Rotterdam, is tot leven gekomen en met de cafés en restaurants, is een nieuw tijdperk ingeluid met als bijnaam Manhattan aan de Maas. In het centrum van de stad vind je de unieke Markthal met bijna honderd kraampjes. Hier kun je winkelen onder een indrukwekkend kunstwerk wat is ontworpen voor het plafond.




Perhaps Rotterdam’s most spectacular event is City Racing held in August. For one whole day, demonstrations are given and stunts displayed from every conceivable area of auto sport. The Formula One drivers are the biggest draw every year. Another sporting classic is the Rotterdam Marathon. The event attracts about 900,000 spectators on an average year, so runners can be sure of being cheered on for the whole of the 42.195-kilometre course. In February, the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament held at the Ahoy Rotterdam Arena draws tennis enthusiasts en masse from home and abroad as it has done for many years.
Shopping image


Rotterdam is a great place for shopping the whole year round. The varied mix on offer includes fashion shops, high-end design stores, major department stores and shops selling records, books or flowers, and also of course, food markets and delicatessens.

The Lijnbaan road was Europe’s first pedestrian-only shopping street in 1954. Today, 60 years on, it is still at the heart of Rotterdam shopping, together with the Beurstraverse area (known to locals as ‘Koopgoot’). You can find all the big and famous chains lined up in this shopping district. For the higher end of the market, you should try the Meent and Van Oldenbarneveltstraat roads. There are more adventurous shops, selling special and local products, in the Witte de Withstraat, the Oude Binnenweg and Nieuwe Binnenweg roads.

Opening times
Shops in the city centre are open seven days a week. In general, opening times are as listed below. Many shops stay open until 7 p.m.

Monday 12:00 a.m. - 06:00 p.m.
Tuesday 10:00 a.m. - 06:00 p.m.
Wednesday 10:00 a.m. - 06:00 p.m.
Thursday 10:00 a.m. - 06:00 p.m.
Friday 10:00 a.m. - 09:00 p.m.
Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 06:00 p.m.
Sunday 12:00 a.m. - 06:00 p.m.
Art & Culture image

Art & Culture

Unique theatre
The Rotterdamse Schouwburg theatre is right in the heart of the city and has long been feted by the press and by people in the know as one of the best theatres in the Netherlands. It has its own special identity and philosophy. This is illustrated by the fact that it is the only Dutch theatre to have its own production company, Productiehuis Rotterdam. The theatre hosts the annual De Keuze festival which showcases top international theatre and dance performances. It provides a base for a lot of home-grown talent, including the RO Theater, Wunderbaum and Scapino Ballet companies. These groups are held in high regard in the Netherlands and abroad.

De Doelen Concert and Congress Centre
Across the square from the theatre is de Doelen which has been Rotterdam’s main concert hall since it opened in 1966. The world-famous Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra is based here. The fantastic acoustic of the hall allow the musicians to show off their talents to the best at every concert. Valeri Gergiev was the orchestra’s principal conductor from 1995 till 2008. The passionate Russian conductor still heads the annual multi-day Gergiev Festival which attracts classical music lovers from all over the world to Rotterdam and de Doelen.

Rotterdam’s museums are also world class. The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen boasts works by greats, such as Breugel, Bosch, Magritte and Dalí. The Kunsthal stages highly original exhibitions of contemporary art, while the Natural History Museum Rotterdam presents the wonders of the natural world. The Netherlands Photo Museum in the Kop van Zuid district is a must for photography enthusiasts. The Chabot Museum, housed in a characteristic villa in Museum Park and dedicated to the Dutch painter and sculptor, Henk Chabot, also has to get a mention.

Performance arts
The LantarenVenster and the Nieuwe Luxor Theater are another two major performance arts venues. The LantarenVenster is at the bottom of the Netherlands highest apartment block, the New Orleans. The modern venue is home to the city’s largest jazz performance space which has a range of concerts each week. The latest art-house films can be seen at the LantarenVenster’s cinemas. The Nieuwe Luxor Theater stages large-scale productions of musicals and plays, as well as concerts, cabaret, family shows, opera and dance.

Sculpture walk
The sculpture walk goes from the Kruiskade to the Westzeedijk roads and is yet another way to get to know the city. Masterpieces by world greats, including Rodin, Picasso and Mastroianni guarantee that this will be a fascinating walk.

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Rotterdam - City of Architecture
Rotterdam is a trailblazer where architecture is concerned. The city is internationally well-known for its daring modern buildings. The most celebrated champion of this city-wide trend is architect Rem Koolhaas and his OMA practice. His design of the Netherlands’ largest building, De Rotterdam, proved a sensation at home and abroad. De Rotterdam was completed in 2013 and is a complete town within the city: the three towers house luxury apartments, a hotel, offices and, at ground level, bars and restaurants which command wonderful views across the river Maas. It is a powerful statement about Rotterdam, confirming that it continues to be a vibrant, growing metropolis.

The one and only Markthal
Two other recent architectural highpoints, the Markthal and the new Rotterdam Central railway station can be found on the other side of the river Maas. The Markthal has what for the Netherlands is a unique mix of homes, a daily market and restaurants and bars: on the market floor, there are 100 high-end stalls selling fresh produce, while the enormous arch covering the market houses luxury apartments. The inside of the arch is decorated with the mural, Horn of Plenty, by Arno Coenen. Its immense size, 11,000 square metres, makes it the Netherlands’ largest work of art and has already led to its being dubbed Rotterdam’s Sistine Chapel.

Rotterdam Central
Rotterdam’s new main railway station, Rotterdam Central, can rightly be called the city’s visiting card. The entrance concourse is spacious and has a façade completely made of glass which provides lots of light. The concourse and the 30-metre-wide transit area for passengers ensure visitors experience a convenient and modern gateway to the city. The stainless-steel roof is also a striking sight. The new building, though, also has an eye for the past. The two sculptures which decorated the wings of the old station now mark either end of the cycle tunnel under the new Rotterdam Central. The old station’s name sign with its characteristic lettering has also been given a place and can now be seen on the south side of the new building.

World heritage
Rotterdam has a lot to offer besides its ultra-modern architecture. Outstanding pre-war buildings include the City Hall, Het Witte Huis (The White House - Europe’s first ‘skyscraper’), the Saint Lawrence church and the 17th-century Schielandshuis building, while innovative 20th-century architecture is represented by works such as the Van Nelle Factory, the famous cube houses by Piet Blom, the Euromast observation tower and the Erasmus Bridge by Ben van Berkel. The New Orleans and the Maastoren skyscrapers were built in the 21st century. They are respectively the tallest apartment block and tallest office block in the Netherlands.

The Van Nelle Factory, by the architects Brinkman and Van der Vlugt, is a textbook example of the functionalist ‘Nieuwe Bouwen’ (New Construction) style and was awarded a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2014.

International interest
Rotterdam’s diverse architectural trends and developments are regularly reported in the international media. The New York Times put the city in tenth place on its 2014 ‘52 Places to Go’ list, citing Rotterdam’s “first class architecture”. The Rough Guide also had architecture in mind when it advised its readers to visit Rotterdam.

Information showing the latest architectural developments and future construction projects can be found at the Rotterdam Info Coolsingel city promotion centre.
Going out & Festivals image

Going out & Festivals

Michelin stars
Rotterdam’s culinary world has made enormous progress over recent years. The Parkheuvel restaurant near the Euromast has for years been one of Rotterdam’s arbiters of taste – literally. Under master chef Cees Helder, the restaurant was awarded no fewer than three Michelin stars. At the moment, with Helder’s successor Erik van Loo at the helm, it has two Michelin stars. These, though, are not the only stars in Rotterdam’s culinary firmament. The French cuisine of master chef Fred Mustert at his restaurant Fred has also earned two Michelin stars. The same goes for master chef François Geurds’ FG Restaurant where he experiments with molecular gastronomy. The Wereldmuseum and Amarone restaurants have one Michelin star each.

Rotterdam counts 170 nationalities among its residents. Each has its own food culture. The range of cuisine can be seen in the city’s restaurants. Italian, Turkish, Moroccan, Surinamese, Greek, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indian; the port city has a restaurant for pretty much every country. Two roads, Kruiskade and Witte de Withstraat, are good places to go in search of multicultural food.

Culinary hotspots
Deliplein square on the Katendrecht peninsula, called ‘De Kaap’ by locals, has been busy establishing itself as a culinary hotspot over the last few years. This is an attractive square where you can sit and enjoy the summer on terraces run by a good mix of restaurants. Other culinary hotspots worthy of note are the Scheepvaartkwartier neighbourhood, the Oude Haven harbor, the Wilhelmina Pier in the Kop van Zuid district, where you can find the Hotel New York and the Las Palmas restaurant and Het Oude Noorden / Hofbogen.

Food markets
There are more and more food markets popping up in Rotterdam: both street and indoor markets offer a wide range of organic and sustainable produce often sourced locally. The Fenix Food Factory, the Stadsmarkt (City Market) which sells produce from the city farm, and the monthly Rotterdamse Oogst Markt (Rotterdam Harvest Market). The spectacular Markthal is the largest indoor market, housing 100 fresh produce stalls, 15 food shops and eight restaurants.

Food festivals
Rotterdam’s diverse food culture is the tasty topic of a number of annual festivals dedicated to the culinary arts. The Culinesse festival is held in August in the late-summer sun on the beach at Nesselande, a new-town district. The Rotterdamse Kost festival allows visitors to sample locally produced culinary, cultural and musical offerings. The Moroccan food festival, Djemaa el Fna, is also staged in August. It takes place in Museum Park which is transformed into one big open-air restaurant for the duration of the event.

Witte de With
Over recent years, Witte de Withstraat road has developed into a really popular area for going out. It’s full of cafés and cocktail bars whose terraces are packed all summer and new places keep popping up. One of the most popular bars is the Witte Aap, which Lonely Planet dubbed the world’s best bar in 2009. Across the road is the Nieuw Rotterdams Café, a restaurant and a club in one, housed in the former editorial building of national newspaper NRC Handelsblad.

Classic café-bars
There are lots of café-bars along the Oude Binnenweg and Nieuwe Binnenweg roads. They include the city’s oldest bar, Melief Bender, which opened in 1876. Another Rotterdam classic is Grand Café Wester Paviljoen, on the corner of Nieuwe Binnenweg and Mathenesserlaan roads, where visitors can enjoy sitting on the bar’s terrace more or less throughout the year.

Party bars
Younger people tend to head to Stadshuisplein square where the terraces and bars are guaranteed to be buzzing at the weekend. Bars such as Après Skihut, Coconuts and Café ’t Fust have for years been popular with Rotterdam people looking for a party.

Rotterdam offers diehard clubbers a good choice. The most popular clubs are Blender, BAR, Worm, Toffler, Club Vie, Club Vibes and Club Cinema. The popular hip jazz club, Bird, is in the Hofbogen development under the arches of a railway viaduct. On Saturdays, it is transformed into a soul, funk and jazz club.

Chic feel
If you want that Saint Tropez feel, then the Meent is the place for you. The Meent is a high-end shopping street where the Rotterdam “jet set” go for a chic evening out. There are smart wine bars and cafés, including the celebrated grand-café Dudok. Café-restaurant De Tuin is right on the bank of the Kralingse Plas lake. It is the ideal place for a glass of wine on the terrace in the summer or in the conservatory in the winter, looking out across the lake.

Taking in one of Hollywood’s latest films at the Pathé Schouwburgplein or Pathé De Kuip cinemas might be a more relaxing way of spending the evening. The classic cinema, Cinerama, offers a more varied range with a mix of Hollywood, Dutch and art-house films. The LantarenVenster cinemas mostly show art-house films.

International crowd-pullers
Rotterdam, the city of festivals, has a lot to offer visitors from home and abroad. The biggest international crowd-pullers are the North Sea Jazz Festival, the world’s largest indoor jazz festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam and the International Architecture Biennale, held every other year. The summer event, Robin Rotterdam Unlimited, formerly known as the Summer Carnival and the Dunya Festival, are gaining an increasingly international following.

Music festivals
Rotterdam has a strong tradition of outdoor music festivals held in the city’s parks. The free festival, Metropolis, a mix of pop, rock, hip hop, world music and dance, is held in the Zuider Park in July. The literary and music festival, Duizel in het Park (Dizzy in the Park) has been going for years and is held in the Vroesen Park. The Dag van de Romantische Muziek (Day of Romantic Music) is a regular event in The Park. The Katendrecht district is the backdrop for the Nacht van de Kaap (Night of the Cape) a paean to Rotterdam’s maritime history illustrated by sentimental songs and tall stories.

Art and Culture
Rotterdam also offers a good range of cultural festivals. The three-day World of the Witte de Withkwartier festival takes place in the cultural street of the city (Witte de Withstraat) and marks the opening of the cultural year. Rotterdam Museum Night has had very high attendance figures for years. There is also Art Rotterdam Week in February, with various art fairs and exhibitions, including Art Rotterdam held in the Van Nelle Factory.

Sports Events
Perhaps Rotterdam’s most spectacular event is City Racing held in August. For one whole day, demonstrations are given and stunts displayed from every conceivable area of auto sport. The Formula One drivers are the biggest draw every year. Another sporting classic is the Rotterdam Marathon. The event attracts about 900,000 spectators on an average year, so runners can be sure of being cheered on for the whole of the 42.195-kilometre course. In February, the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament held at the Ahoy Rotterdam Arena draws tennis enthusiasts en masse from home and abroad as it has done for many years.

Check the Rotterdam Agenda for recent information about all the concerts, exhibitions, festivals and trendy stuff about to happen in Rotterdam.