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Among the endless reasons to visit Rotterdam, we have pooled together 10 major incentives that cover a wide range of topics and interests. Besides architecture, windmills and museums, this list also presents several less-known aspects of Rotterdam including the city’s art scene, culinary sector and nightlife.
Rotterdam lost most of its pre-20th century architecture during World War II, when German airstrikes levelled the city. Afterwards, Rotterdam was rebuilt according to contemporary design standards leading to its current ultra-modern urban layout. Today, there are dozens of incredible buildings inside Rotterdam and the city has the highest concentration of skyscrapers in the Netherlands.
The 18 gigantic windmills near Kinderdijk are collectively recognised as an UNESCO World Heritage Site due to their cultural and historical significance. Most of these mills were built in 17th century in order to drain waterlogged land and prevent flooding. Kinderdijk is within biking distance from Rotterdam and several frequent bus services run between both destinations.
Much like the rest of the Netherlands, Rotterdam is fully adapted around urban cycling and moving around the city by bike is a total breeze. Most roads around the city have clearly marked bike sections whilst many other areas are completely car-free.
Although Kapsalon is available at kebab stores throughout the Netherlands, this highly-calorific, meaty melange originated in Rotterdam. Every good kapsalon contains four primary ingredients: fries, sharmwa kebab, melted gouda cheese and spicy sambal sauce, which are usually piled together in that order, creating a delicious tower of beige foods.
Rotterdam’s historic neighbourhood Delfshaven developed around its port and quays, which were built during the 14th century. Unlike many other parts of Rotterdam, this charming waterside quarter survived World War II without suffering serious damages and still features many buildings that pre-date the 20th century.
Rotterdam’s art scene easily rivals Amsterdam’s own creative sector and the city might even surpass its northern counterpart when it comes to modern developments within the art world. In fact, there is a particularly high concentration of galleries and institutes dedicated to modern art in Rotterdam including Kunsthal, Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art and TENT.
Rotterdam’s skyline is completely unmatched and the city’s tightly woven high-rises look amazing from any distance. For a truly speculator view, head over to the Euromast and marvel at Rotterdam from the tower’s 96 meter high observation deck.
Rotterdam’s newly built market hall resembles an enormous upturned horseshoe and features one of the largest artworks in the world called ‘Horn of Plenty’, which is painted onto its ceiling. Besides being an architectural treasure, the market hall also contains scores of stores, restaurants and food kiosks.
There are hundreds of awesome hangouts and watering holes in Rotterdam and the city is renowned for its diverse nightlife. For food, drinks and dancing check out the bars and clubs along Witte de Withstraat, whereas for more electronically orientated nightlife head over to Toffler or BAR.
There are several world-leading art museums located in Rotterdam, including Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Nederlands Fotomuseum and Kunsthal. Many of these institutions are housed within architectural masterpieces that were specifically built to accommodate their collections.