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20 Must-Visit Attractions in Rotterdam

Picture of Tom Coggins
Updated: 25 June 2017
Planning a trip to Rotterdam in the near future? Then make sure to check out Culture Trips’s guide to the city’s principle attraction in order to discover the best museums, culinary hotspots and landmarks in the city.

The Cube Houses

These peculiar residential buildings were designed to resemble a forest with each unit representing a singular tree. Although most of the Cube Houses are still occupied, it is possible to experience living inside their slanted walls by visiting an onsite museum called Kijk-Kubus.

📍 Kijk-Kubus, Overblaak 70, Rotterdam, +31 10 414 2285

The Cube Houses
The Cube Houses | © pixabay

Markthal

Rotterdam’s state-of-the-art market hall was unveiled in 2014 and has since become an iconic part of the city’s urban landscape. The hall’s ceiling features a gigantic artwork called Horn of Plenty and its interior houses dozens of stalls and stores.

📍Markthal, Grotemarkt 4, Rotterdam, +31 30 234 6486

Markthal at night
Markthal at night | © Paul Arps / Flickr

Euromast

Experiencing Rotterdam’s skyline from the Euromast is absolutely incredible as this 91m high tower looks directly onto the city’s modern centre. There’s also a restaurant and hotel inside.

📍The Euromast, Parkhaven 20, Rotterdam, +31 10 436 4811

The Euromast
The Euromast | © Hanno Lans / Flickr

Kunsthal

Unlike most art museums, Kunsthal only presents temporary exhibitions and doesn’t actually own a permanent collection. This means that its content is constantly changing and allows the museum to focus on cutting-edge, innovative or under appreciated artwork.

📍 Kunsthal, Westzeedijk 341, Rotterdam, +31 10 440 0300

© Kunsthal

SS Rotterdam

The SS Rotterdam is among the finest cruise ships ever built and started off as a transatlantic ocean liner before it was converted into a recreational vessel. Today it is permanently moored in Rotterdam’s harbour and contains a hotel, several restaurants and visitor centre.

📍 SS Rotterdam, 3e Katendrechtse Hoofd 25, Rotterdam, +31 10 297 3090

Windmills at Schiedam

Around 50 gigantic windmills were built in Scheidam during the 17th and 18th centuries in order to provide grain for the city’s booming jenever industry. Eight of these machines have survived until the present day and are collectively recognised as the tallest windmills in the world.

📍 De Nieuwe Palmboom, Noordvest 34, Schiedam

Delfshaven

This charming, historical neighbourhood was largely unharmed during World War II and features the largest concentration of pre-20th century buildings in Rotterdam. The area’s docklands are particularly stunning and still contain many buildings from the 17th century.

📍Delshaven, Rotterdam

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Rotterdam’s largest museum was established 1849 after Frans Jacob Otto Boijmans bequeathed his large art collection to the city. Since then, Boijmans has continued to update its collection and now owns many groundbreaking artworks including paintings created by Rembrandt, Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh.

📍Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Museumpark 18, Rotterdam, +31 10 441 9400

Museum Boijmans van Beuningen
Museum Boijmans van Beuningen | © Ben Bender / WikiCommons

Nederlands Fotomuseum

The Nederlands Fotomusuem permanent collection includes many important series and images created by renowned photographers such as Ed van der Elsken, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Viviane Sassen. The museum also organises temporary exhibitions throughout the year.

📍 Nederlands Fotomuseum, Las Palmas, Wilhelminakade 332, Rotterdam, +31 10 203 0405

Nederlands Fotomuseum
Nederlands Fotomuseum | © Marco Zanferrari / Flickr

Museum Rotterdam

Rotterdam’s municipal museum collects and presents items related to city’s multi-faceted heritage. The museum currently houses over 40,000 items and regularly creates temporary exhibitions that revolve around important periods. people and places from Rotterdam’s past and present.

📍Museum Rotterdam, Timmerhuis, Rodezand 26, Rotterdam, +31 10 217 6750

Museum Rotterdam is part of the Timmerhuis complex
Museum Rotterdam is part of the Timmerhuis complex | © Sandra Fauconnier / WikiCommons

Fenix Food Factory

Around two years ago, several local culinary entrepreneurs decided to band together and created the Fenix Food Factory. This modern food hall is housed within a former shipping warehouse and contains many awesome initiatives, including the Kaapse Brouwers brewery.

📍Fenix Food Factory, Veerlaan 19D, Rotterdam, +31 6 46136799

Kaapse Brouwers beer inside the Fenix Food Factory
Kaapse Brouwers beer inside the Fenix Food Factory | © hmmmayor / Flickr

Erasmus Bridge

This stunning suspension bridge connects the northern and southern banks of the river Maas in Rotterdam’s city centre. Many Rotterdammers prefer to call the bridge de Zwan (the swan) due to its unique, sloping design.

📍Erasmus Bridge, Rotterdam

Santa Claus

After this municipally funded statue was unveiled in the city, Rotterdammers almost immediately calling it ‘Buttplug Gnome’ due to the oddly shaped object grasped within its right hand. Since then the statue has become something of a local mascot and still spurs controversy.

📍 Santa Claus – Paul McCarthy, Eendrachtsplein, Rotterdam

Santa Claus by Paul McCarthy aka Buttplug Gnome
Santa Claus by Paul McCarthy aka Buttplug Gnome | © F. Eveleens / WikiCommons

Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam

Rotterdam’s natural history museum launched in 1927 and has continued to collect and preserve scientific artefacts ever since. Its archives feature many important natural objects including an entire Asian elephant skeleton that is known as Ramon.

📍Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam, Westzeedijk 345, Rotterdam, +31 10 436 4222

Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam
Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam | © G.Lanting / WikiCommons

Witte Huis

Rotterdam’s Witte Huis was among the first high-rise buildings in Europe and was one of the few buildings inside the city’s centre to survive German airstrikes during World War II. The building is currently protected as a national monument and was designed according to Art Nouveau standards.

📍Witte Huis, Geldersekade 1, Rotterdam, +31 10 414 2142

Witte Huis, Geldersekade 1, Rotterdam, +31 10 414 2142
Witte Huis, Geldersekade 1, Rotterdam, +31 10 414 2142 | © Kromme Zand / WikiCommons

Chabot Museum

The stunning modernist villa on Rotterdam’s Museumpark contains an equally important museum that is dedicated to Dutch painter and sculpture Hendrikus Chabot. Chabot often depicted Rotterdam in his artwork and lived in the city for most of his life.

📍Chabot Museum, Museumpark 11, Rotterdam, +31 10 436 3713

Van Nelle Factory

After the Van Nelle Factory was completed in 1931, many famous architect showered it with praise and Le Corbuiser even called it ‘the most beautiful spectacle of the modern age’. The factory is currently protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and organises tours around twice a year.

📍Van Nelle Factory, Spaanse Polder, Rotterdam

Diergaarde Blijdorp

Diergaarde Blijdorp has cared for an enormous menagerie of animals for over 150 years and is among the oldest zoos in the Netherlands. There are hundreds of rare, endangered and exotic critters inside from every corner of the globe.

📍Diergaarden Blijdorp, Blijdorplaan 8, Rotterdam, +31 900 1857

A red panda at the zoo
A red panda at the zoo | © Sander van der Wel / Flickr

Miniworld Rotterdam

There are thousands of scale-models of Rotterdam and its surrounding locales inside this charming indoor theme park. The miniature world is currently expanding and will soon include an entire section dedicated to England and Scotland.

📍 Miniworld Rotterdam, Weena 745, Rotterdam, +31 010 240 0501

Rotterdam’s Centraal Station in miniature
Rotterdam’s Centraal Station in miniature | © Eric Zachte / WikiCommons

Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art

Over the past 25 years, Witte de With Centre has played a pivotal role within Rotterdam’s art scene. The centre regularly organises events and exhibitions within its three-storey gallery on Witte de Withstraat that cover a broad spectrum of themes, genres and mediums.

📍 Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Witte de Withstraat 50, Rotterdam, +31 10 411 0144