The largest port in Europe and one of the most exciting, vibrant and inviting cities on the continent, Rotterdam is an attractive destination for tourists, city breakers and business people alike.
The first settlement of the Rotte wetlands is said to date back to at 900 AD. After large floods hit the area in 1150 construction of protective dams and dikes began when finally dam on the Rotte “Rotterdam” was completed in the 1260s. The area was granted city rights in 1340 then with the completion of a major shipping canal in 1350, the city urbanized and developed important links with England and Germany. The port of Rotterdam grew slowly but surely into one of importance and one of the six chambers of the Dutch East India Company. During the 1980s an active architectural policy was undertaken and saw the emergence of daring and innovative styles of apartments and office buildings, giving the city centre a new skyline and making it more liveable.
Getting In & Getting Around
Rotterdam Airport is the third largest in the Netherlands serving a range of European cities in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. The airport is located to the north of the city and is connected by good public transport links. Rotterdam is an international rail hub with its Centraal Station offering frequent services to France and Belgium. Another popular route into Rotterdam is by ferry from the UK. Once in the city there are a number of transport options on offer such as metro, tram, water bus and water taxi services. For an authentic Dutch experience why not hire a bicycle to get around.
Culture, Sights & Attractions
Rotterdam has a fascinating history and some intriguing sights to go with it. Rotterdam is famed for its architecture. Here you will find some striking examples of modern architecture such as the famous Kubuswoningen (Cube Houses), Erasmus Bridge and the Willemswerf Building. For a better grasp of Dutch architecture head to the NAI (Netherlands Architecture Institute) where you can see important archives and collections. Rotterdam is filled with fascinating museums and galleries including the famous Maritime Museum, the Nederland Fotomuseum and the Kunsthal. Rotterdam Zoo is one of the most popular attractions in all of the Netherlands and is a great day out. For a change of pace you can take a boat trip around the harbour or shop till you drop in Rotterdam’s excellent selection of shops and boutiques.
From traditional eateries serving authentic Dutch cuisine to inviting restaurants offering French, Belgian, Spanish and Italian fare, Rotterdam has it all. Whether you want something cheap and quick or Michelin star quality dining there is something to cater every taste and budget in the city and you will not be disappointed.
Outside The City
If you have some spare time on your hands, Rotterdam offers a number of great day trips. The historic town of Schiedam is easily reached by bicycle or by train and is famed for having the tallest windmills in the world, renowned for its Jenever (gin) and home to the fascinating Stedelijk Museum. The pretty, unspoilt town of Delft is just a short train ride away and is the perfect spot to wander around and admire the traditional architecture, picturesque canals and world famous blue and white ceramics. The famous cheese town of Gouda is also close by. Take the 20 minute train ride from Centraal Station and sample the world famous cheese, tour the cheese museum and buy a few blocks as souvenir to take home. If the cheese is all too much for you there is plenty more to see and eat including the stunning 15th century Town Hall, the amazing St John’s Church and the delicious Goudse Stroopwafel biscuits. Finally, The Hague – the seat of the Dutch government and home of the Royal Family – is just 30 minutes away by train. This beautiful city boasts a whole host of sights and attractions for you to explore.
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