Rotterdam, Netherlands | Cruise port of call | CruiseBe
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Rotterdam, Netherlands

Rotterdam is a municipality and city in the Dutch province of South-Holland, situated in the west of The Netherlands and part of the Randstad. The municipality is the second largest in the country (behind Amsterdam).

The port of Rotterdam is the largest in Europe. From 1962 to 2004, it was the world's busiest port; then it was superseded by Shanghai. Now Rotterdam is the fourth biggest port in the world.

Rotterdam is known as a city of architecture. A few square kilometers of the city center offers a complete overview of what the twentieth century has produced in terms of modern architecture.

Tourist information

  • ROTTERDAM.INFO (VVV) (Tourist office), Binnenwegplein, Coolsingel 195-197 (Metro: Beurs), ☎ +31 10 7900140. Mo-Su 09:30-18:00 (closed 1 Jan, 25-26 Dec, ). This well equipped tourist office can provide loads of information like city maps, small guide books, souvenirs... Read more

Rotterdam, Netherlands


Rotterdam is a municipality and city in the Dutch province of South-Holland, situated in the west of The Netherlands and part of the Randstad. The municipality is the second largest in the country (behind Amsterdam).

The port of Rotterdam is the largest in Europe. From 1962 to 2004, it was the world's busiest port; then it was superseded by Shanghai. Now Rotterdam is the fourth biggest port in the world.

Rotterdam is known as a city of architecture. A few square kilometers of the city center offers a complete overview of what the twentieth century has produced in terms of modern architecture.

Tourist information

  • ROTTERDAM.INFO (VVV) (Tourist office), Binnenwegplein, Coolsingel 195-197 (Metro: Beurs), ☎ +31 10 7900140. Mo-Su 09:30-18:00 (closed 1 Jan, 25-26 Dec, ). This well equipped tourist office can provide loads of information like city maps, small guide books, souvenirs and the like, and offers tips and information on what to see and do in Rotterdam. also sells the Rotterdam Welcome Card, concert tickets, gift certificate, souvenirs, public transport tickets, and parking vouchers. Check the website for upcoming events.  
  • VVV Rotterdam Centraal, Stationsplein, inside the central hall of the Central Station. Mo-Su: 09.00-17.30; (closed 1 Jan, 25 Dec,). there are brochures with information about Rotterdam and an info desk which will answer all of your questions.  
  • Use-it, Vijverhofstraat 47, ☎ +31 10 240 91 58 ( 24/7. This friendly office is very much geared towards helping the budget traveler out. It's also a good spot to meet fellow travelers. They rent out bicycles too.

Please remember that possessing large quantities of hasheesh or cannabis is a crime in The Netherlands, and please do not take stuff with you when leaving The Netherlands (you can be punished severely in neighboring countries). It's also unwise to buy for someone else, especially if it's a foreigner as you can be punished in his or her country of origin (it has happened).

A noteworthy fact is that smoking tobacco is currently banned inside food and drink establishments — even coffee shops! That being said, tobacco smoking appears to be tolerated in coffee shops, and their pre-rolled joints are often mixed with tobacco.

Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0

Rotterdam, Netherlands: Port Information

The port, Cruise Terminal Rotterdam, is in the center of the city. You can start your tour of the city right here and get in the town on foot over the Erasmus Bridge. 
You can easily get to the train station from the port: it'll take you 5 minutes by cab or 25 minutes on foot.
Taxis are available.

Get around Rotterdam, Netherlands

By bicycle

Like any city in The Netherlands, Rotterdam is very, very bicycle-friendly. Getting around by bike is probably the fastest way of travel within the city. There are separate bike lanes on most major streets and there are separate traffic lights for bicyclists. Avoid getting your tire in the tram rails. Always cross tram rails at an angle. Always lock your bike securely when leaving it, preferably chained to a fixed object.

Renting a bike. Handy places near Central Station to rent a bike are: The official NS rental office is situated in a new underground bicycle parking. You will find the entrance at the square before the main entrance of the station Alternatively, try Use-it, which rents out nice Kronan bikes (Vijverhofstraat 47, leave Central Station on the backside, turn right onto Provenierstraat, and you will find it after a 5 min walk on the right (after a former railway).

Public transport

RET operates the buses, trams, and metro within the city. You can find a journey planner here. Transport generally arrives every 10 minutes during the day. As in the rest of the Netherlands, unless you plan on only taking a couple of trips using public transport, it makes sense to purchase an anonymous OV Chipkaart, a debit card used to pay for public transport.

Rotterdam Welcome Card allows for unlimited use of all RET public transport for 1 day, 2 days, or 3 days, and offers 25%+ discounts on 50+ attractions, museums, and restaurants.

By metro

There are five metro lines operated by RET. Lines A (green), B (yellow) and C (red), share tracks between Schiedam Centrum and Capelsebrug and offer an east-west connection. Lines D (light blue) and E (blue, also known as RandstadRail) share tracks between Rotterdam Centraal and Slinge and offer a north-south connection. The interchange between all lines is possible on Beurs station in the city center.

Lines A, B, and C operate each every 10 minutes which allows 3-4 minute intervals on the main section between Schiedam Centrum and Capelsebrug. Lines D and E operate every 10 minutes, which give shorter intervals between Rotterdam Centraal and Slinge. There is a more frequent service during rush hours. The Rotterdam Metro operates from 06.00 until midnight. See also the Map of the metro system

Remember to check in and out on metro stations without gates. 

By Tram

RET operates 10 tram lines. Al tram lines except line 2 will stop at Rotterdam Centraal. Tram stops provide a detailed map of the public transport system. All lines operate every 10 minutes with more frequent service during rush hours on some lines. Each tram has a conductor.

By bus

Multiple companies operate buses in Rotterdam, RET, ARRIVA, and Connexxion. These companies share some of the bus stops, but the route numbers are not interchangeable. RET is the larger operator in the metropolitan area itself, while ARRIVA and Connexxion service areas outside the metropolitan area. Use the front door when boarding a bus.

Night Bus

RET operates a night bus service (BOB-bus) on Friday and Saturday nights.


WaterBus provides boat connections between Rotterdam and the Drechtsteden (Dordrecht and surrounding cities). The Waterbus is also used to reach the windmills of Kinderdijk. Therefore you change at the stop 'Ridderkerk' to another ferry called ' Driehoeksveer'.


Once started as a fast ferry connection between Heijplaat on the south bank and the city center, the Aqualiner now also offers fast connections to Katendrecht and Lloydkwartier. Single tickets are sold on board (cash only).

By taxi

If you do need a taxi you will have to find yourself a taxi rank or call a taxi company like the Rotterdamse Taxi Centrale RTC N.V. at +31 10 462 60 60 or the Coöperatieve Taxi Onderneming St. Job at +31 10 425 70 00. You could book your taxi also online or use a free smartphone app. If you need an Airport transfer from Schiphol to Rotterdam you can use Tinker at +31 (20) 290 0050.

Water taxi

If you want to travel from shore to shore in a special way, the nicest way to go is to take the Water Taxi. This speedboat will escort you over the Maas. They have more than 250 landing stages. Call Watertaxi Rotterdam at +31 (10) 403 03 03 or check their website.

The ferry service between Hotel New York and Leuvehaven, and Hotel New York to Veerhaven sails back and forth on a scheduled timetable.

What to see in Rotterdam, Netherlands

  • Markthal (market hall), Ds. Jan Scharpstraat 29 (metro: Blaak, tram 21, 24, bus 32, 47), ☎ +31 (0)30 234 64 64. Mon-Thu, Sat 10 am-8 pm, Fri 10 am-9 pm, Sun 12 am-6 pm. The Markthal is a large indoor food market/food court, with several tens of stalls selling vegetables, meats, fish, cheeses, nuts, and other food as well as small eateries, supermarkets, liquor shops. The Markthal opened in August 2014 and the building itself is a good example of modern Rotterdam architecture. It is quite popular with locals and tourists alike, so it can get crowded especially on the weekends.  


  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Museumpark 18-20 (Metro: Eendrachtsplein), ☎ +31 (10) 441 94 00 (fax: +31 (10) 436 05 00). Tue-Sun: 11.00AM to 5.00PM; Mon: closed. The museum, founded in 1849, houses a rich, broad collection that can be generally grouped into four wings: Old Art, with masterpieces such as Pieter Brueghel the Elder's The "little" Tower of Babel (1563). The collection of Prints and Drawings and the collection of Applied Arts and Design with their international allure. And the Modern Art wing has an important collection of surrealism, prominently featuring Salvador Dalí and René Magritte.
  • Kunsthal

    , Westzeedijk 341 (Metro: Eendrachtsplein, tram 8), ☎ +31 (10) 440 03 01. Tue-Sat: 10.00 AM - 5.00 PM; Sun: 11.00 AM - 5.00 PM. An exhibition hall that houses some 25 expositions annually. The Kunsthal often experiments with themes that have never been used for an exhibition before. This approach produces a fascinating and widely varied repertoire. In total, the Kunsthal has 3,300 m² of exhibition space in a striking building, designed by OMA (Rem Koolhaas / Fuminori Hoshino) and is a true work of art all on its own.
  • Het Nieuwe Instituut (The New Institute) formerly known as NAI, Museumpark 25 (Metro: Eendrachtsplein), ☎ +31 (10) 440 12 00 (, fax: +31 (10) 436 69 75). Tu-Sa: 10:00-17:00; Su: 11:00-17:00. Closed on Mondays, 1 Jan, 30 Apr, and 25 Dec. The ticket for the NAI also provides access to Sonneveld House Museum.
  • Nederlands Fotomuseum, Las Palmas building, Wilhelminakade 332 (Metro: Wilhelminaplein, tram 20,23,25), ☎ +31 (10) 213 20 11 (, fax: +31 (10) 203 04 06). Tue-Fri: 10.00 AM - 5.00 PM; Sat-Sun: 11.00 AM - 5.00 PM. The Nederlands Fotomuseum focuses on photography in the broadest sense of the word. By doing so, the museum wants to show the diversity of forms of photography. Not only as an artistic form of expression but also and especially as a medium of social expression and commentary.
  • Maritime Museum, Leuvehaven 1 (Metro: Beurs,tram 7), ☎ +31 (10) 413 26 80 (fax: +31 (10) 413 73 42). Tue-Sat: 10.00 AM - 5.00 PM; Sun: 11.00 AM - 5.00 PM; Mon: 10.00 AM - 5.00 PM in July and August as well as during school holidays in Rotterdam. A variety of expositions about the harbor of Rotterdam and maritime history. The museum also has an outdoor part.
  • Museum of Chess-Pieces, Overblaak 94 (Metro: Blaak). Saturday and Sunday 14-17. This little museum can be found among the famous

    Cube houses

    and houses a diverse collection of chess games. From ancient Chinese to all sorts of cartoon characters.  
  • Chabot Museum, Museumpark 11 (Metro: Eendrachtsplein). Mo-Fri: 11.00 - 16.30; Sat: 11.00-17.00; Sun: 12.00 - 17.00. This neat little museum is housed in a splendid modernist 30's villa. It houses a collection of works of the expressionist painter Hendrik Chabot. A very recommendable if short visit for art lovers.
  • Natuurhistorisch Museum, Westzeedijk 345 (Next to the Kunsthal, Metro: Eendrachtsplein,tram 8). Tue-Sun: 10.00AM - 5.00PM. The "Natural History Museum" Is situated in the Museumpark, near Boijmans, the NAi and the Kunsthal. It has changing expositions and a fixes collection of mammals, plants, and fossils. The current director Kees Moeiliker became famous in 2003 for winning a scientific prize on his study and book about the strange behavior of a duck in the garden of the museum. His predecessor did a lot for the whales and left his collection at the museum.
  • Wereldmuseum, Willemskade 25 (Metro: Leuvehaven,tram 7), ☎ +31 (10) 270 71 72 (, fax: +31 (10) 270 71 82). Tue-Sun: 10.30 - 17.30. The Wereldmuseum (World Arts Museum) focuses on encounters and cross-cultural inspiration.
  • Witte de With, Witte de Withstraat 50 (Metro: Eendrachtsplein), ☎ +31 (0)10 4110144 (, fax: +31 (0)10 4117924). Tue-Sun: 11.00 AM - 6.00 PM. Witte de With(Centre for Contemporary Arts) exhibits, lectures, multimedia for comtemporary arts. 
  • Mariniersmuseum, Wijnhaven 7-13 (Metro: Blaak). Tue-Fri: 10:00-17:00, Sat,Sun: 11:00-17:00. The museum of the Marine Corps is situated in a historic building in the Oude Haven. It shows the history of the 340 years-old corps as well as it's modern day role. Special attention is given to the heroic role of the corps in the 1940 defense of Rotterdam. In the nearby White House, you can still notice the bullet holes in the stone wall.  
  • Oorlogs Verzets Museum, Coolhaven 375 (Metro: Coolhaven, it's under the bridge). Tue-Fri: 10:00-17:00,Sun: 12:00-17:00. The small 'War and Resistance Museum' paints life in Rotterdam and the Netherlands during the Second World War. Attention is also given to the military developments of the time and the destruction of the city of Rotterdam. Lectures and evenings with documentaries are often on the programm.
  • Railz Miniworld, Weena 745 (Near Rotterdam Centraal). opening hours see website. It’s the largest indoor model railroad layout of The Netherlands. 


  • City Hall, Coolsingel 40 (Metro: Stadhuis). Mon-Sat: 8:00-17:00. Rotterdam City Hall was built in 1914 in a somewhat exuberant Art Deco style. It is nice to walk into the monumental main hall and see the statues. The courtyard is also worth a look. As the City Hall is still in use you are free to enter the public areas and have a look. The other halls will be off limits unless you can persuade one of the guards to open the showpiece Burgerzaal for you. The City Hall also has a bell tower with carillon which is often played, while the roof of the middle tower is made of gold. 
  • Erasmus Statue, Grotekerkplein (Metro: Stadhuis or Blaak). The statue of Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam stands opposite the Grote of Sint Laurenskerk. It is a handsome bronze of the hand of sculptor Keijser and dates from 1622. Children are told by the elderly that Erasmus turns his page every hour.  
  • De Verwoeste Stad Statue, Plein 1940 (Metro: Beurs). This statue, "The Destroyed City", by the Franco-Belarussian sculptor Ossip Zadkine dates from 1953. Zadkine got his inspiration when visiting Rotterdam shortly after the second world war. The cubist statue depicting a man in agony who just lost his heart (symbol of the bombed city center) still evokes strong feelings in Rotterdam. 
  • Sylvette, Westersingel (Metro: Eendrachtsplein). This large work by Pablo Picasso was erected in 1973. It is one of the elaborations Picasso made based on the portraits of his muse Sylvette David. Definitely worth a look. 


Rotterdam has only seven windmills left. Of these, only De Ster and De Lelie are open to visitors on a regular basis. Other windmills are open to visitors when the mill is turning (easy enough to see), but there are some exceptions to this rule of thumb. A blue flag also indicates that the mill is open to visitors.

  • Windmills De Ster and De Lelie, Plaszoom (Metro: Voorschoterlaan. From there it is a 10-minute walk (follow the Julianalaan until you reach Plaszoom). open every 2nd Sat of the month: 10.00 - 16.00; And also whenever the mills are in use. These two windmills (Star and Lily) date from 1777 and 1829. They are very handsomely situated on the side of the Kralingse Plas lake. The mills do still do their original job which is grinding ingredients for spices and snuff tobacco. Adjacent is a small shop where these products are sold.  
  • De Prinsenmolen, Prinsenmolenpad (Take tramway 4 to Lommerijk. Walk 5 minutes along the Prins Bernardkade to reach Prinsenmolenpad. From there it's another 10 minutes.). closed to visitors. De Prinsenmolen dates back to 1648 and worked until 1966 to keep the adjacent polder dry. It's a house now, but the mill is still in working order. It's a nice walk alongside the Bergse Voorplas lake.  
  • De Vier Winden, Terbregse Rechter Rottekade (From De Prinsenmolen it's 10 minutes further along the Rotte river). closed to visitors. De Vier Winden was built in 1776. Until 1964 it was used to grind wheat. Although the mill itself is not open to visitors, it has a small shop with old fashioned mill-products.  
  • De Speelman, Overschiese Kleiweg (Go by bike or car). Open when turning. De Speelman was built in 1712. Heavily damaged during WW2 it was restored and moved to its present location. 
  • De Zandweg, Kromme Zandweg (From Maashaven Metro station take tramway 2 towards Charlois to the end of the line). Open when turning. De Zandweg dates from 1723. It's situated at the southern part of town called Charlois. When walking a little bit further, you can also see the nice Oliphant country mansion.  
  • De Distilleerketel, Voorhaven 210 (Metro: Delfshaven). Open We; 13.00-17.00 and Sat; 10.00-16.00. De Distilleerketel ('the Distillers' Kettle) was rebuilt in 1986 after the original mill was destroyed in WW2. The original mill from 1727 was meant for grinding malt for the numerous distilleries in Delfshaven. Now it works as a mill for grinding wheat on a commercial basis. 

Zoo and botanical gardens

  • Rotterdam Zoo, Blijdorplaan 8 (20 minutes walk from Central train station, or bus 33,32 or 44)), ☎ +31 (10) 443 14 95. Mon-Sun: 9.00AM - 5.00PM. Rotterdam Zoo (Dutch: Diergaarde Blijdorp), established in 1857, is one of the most popular day trips in the Netherlands. Walk through different parts of the world, seeing interesting animals that feel right at home in an approximation of their natural habitats. An interesting feature of Rotterdam Zoo is the Oceanium. Feast your eyes on your journey through this enchanting world of water, filled with ocean and coastal dwellers, including exotic fish and puffins.
  • Arboretum Trompenburg, Honingerdijk 86 (beneden) (Tram 21,24 towards De Esch, Woudestein stop), ☎ +31 (10) 233 01 66 (, fax: +31 (10) 233 01 71). Mon-Fri: 9.00AM - 5.00PM; Sat-Sun: 10.00 AM - 5.00 PM. Arboretum Trompenburg, dating back to 1820, is a lovely park filled with well-designed walking paths. The seven-hectare park houses a rich collection of trees, shrubs, perennials, and bulbs.
  • Botanische Tuin Kralingen, Kralingse Plaslaan 110b (Take tram to 7 to the Jericholaan stop). Mon-Fri: 8.00 - 16.00; Sat-Sun: CLOSED. This small botanical garden is known for its medicinal plants. As it is currently being brought back to its old glory the visit is recommended if you were to walk by, or for garden buffs. free entry. 

Historic Churches

Please note that in The Netherlands churches are generally closed to visitors on Sundays.

  • Grote of Sint Laurenskerk, Grotekerkplein 15 (Metro: Stadhuis or Blaak). Tue-sat 11:00-17:00. The "Great or Saint Lawrence church" (Saint Lawrence is the patron saint of Rotterdam) is a late-gothic inner-city landmark that dates from the year 1449. It is nice to visit its spacious and attractive, but not so elegant interior. Of special interest are the large organ and the elaborate graves of Dutch sea heroes Kortenaer, Witte de With and Van Brakel. All kinds of cultural and musical venues take place here. In the summer you can climb the tower on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
  • Paradijskerk, Nieuwe Binnenweg 25 (Metro: Eendrachtsplein). Mon-Thu: 14.00-17.00; Fri: 16.00-18.30; sat: 14:00-17:00; sun: 08.30-12.00. This church only dates from 1910, but it was built on purpose to house the baroque interior from 1719 of its predecessor. It is interesting to have a look at the baroque carvings. Also noteworthy that this church belongs to the small Old Catholic denomination. Sunday mass at 9.30; Tuesday 19.30 Compline; Friday 17.30 Taizéprayer.
  • Pilgrimfathers' church, Aelbrechtskolk 20 (Metro: Delfshaven). This historic church, the Oude Kerk (old church) of Delfshaven, is from which the Pilgrim Fathers set sail to the new world. The building dates from 1417. It is also possible to attend classical concerts here. 
  • HH. Laurentius en Elisabethkathedraal, Mathenesserlaan 307 (Metro: Coolhaven). The cathedral of Rotterdam (Roman Catholic) is a somewhat heavy neo romanesque creation from 1907. The interior is quite well proportioned and atmospheric. Sunday mass is at 11.00 (sometimes with a good choir). Besides assisting at the normally well-attended mass you can walk in before or after to have a look inside. 

What to do in Rotterdam, Netherlands

  • Euromast, Parkhaven 20, ☎ +31 (10) 436 48 11 ( Mon-Sun: 10:00 AM - 10.00 PM. There's also a great restaurant halfway up the tower, with good food at a good price.
  • Spido harbour trip, Willemsplein 85, ☎ +31 (10) 275 99 88 ( You only see the first 8 km of the harbor starting at the Erasmus bridge (the trip doesn't go all the way to the north sea, and skips some of the more interesting harbors) But Rotterdam is REALLY big, so even in those first 8 km there's plenty to see. In the summer there are longer tours  
  • De pannenkoekenboot. Eat as many pancakes as you like while you cruise departs from near the foot of the Euromast.  
  • Shipyard 'Rotterdams Welvaren' ('De Delft'), Schiehaven 15 (Take tramway 8 from Rotterdam Centraal towards Spangen and get off at Oostkousdijk), ☎ +31 (10) 276 01 15. Tue-Fri: 10.00AM - 4.00PM; Sat-Sun: 11.00 AM - 5.00 PM. Follow the construction of the 18th-century ship-of-the-line 'De Delft' from close-by. 'De Delft' will become one of the largest ship replicas in the world.
  • The kuip, football stadium of the club Feyenoord.
  • Football. Rotterdam boasts three professional football clubs, Feyenoord, Sparta, and Excelsior. Especially games of Feyenoord, that draw huge crowds, and Sparta (with a more homey atmosphere) are well worth a visit.
  • The area around train station Blaak. The area was destroyed by a German bombardment during World War II, forcing the Netherlands to surrender. After the war, it has been reconstructed with all kinds of strange and fascinating buildings. Especially the Cube Houses are worth seeing. The marketplace is also here on each Tuesday, Saturday (all year round) and every Sunday (in the summer), it is definitely worth a visit to get acquainted with local food and customs. And the Old Harbour (Oude Haven) is around the corner for a drink and a bite to eat.
  • Delfshaven. Easily accessible by metro (station of the same name), historic Delfshaven is a very scenic walk. It consists of the 17th-century area around two canals with a lot of charm. By day visit the Dubbelde Palmboom museum, the pilgrimfathers' church, or the little shops in this neighborhood. By night attractive pubs and restaurants make the visit worthwhile.
  • Chinatown. Just walk out the front of Rotterdam Centraal Station to the first intersection. You can't miss it!
  • Maeslantkering, Havennummer 882 - Hoek van Holland, ☎ 0174-511222 ( Storm surge barrier that is one of the largest moving structures in the world.  
  • The Snerttram, a historical tram, runs on weekends and provides a guided tour of Rotterdam along the tram routes for around 90 minutes. Extensive commentary is given in Dutch, but you can get some English too if requested. 
  • De Rotterdam (ss Rotterdam) (Steamship), 3e Katendrechtse hoofd 25 (Metroline D Rijnhaven, then bus 77, busstop Katendrechtsestraat), ☎ 0900-337 68 83. Nov-Mar: 09.00-16.00; Apr-Oct: 09.00-19.30.
  • Escape010, a Live Escape Room at the Gouvernestraat 89 in the center of Rotterdam. Live Escape Room is an exciting, challenging and unpredictable game. With a group of 3 to 6 people, you go into a room and the door will be closed. The object of the game is to leave the room within 60 minutes. 


There are two huge mega cinemas in Rotterdam. The one in the city center is called Pathé Schouwburgplein (located at the Schouwburgplein), the other one is on the south side of the city. It's called Pathé De Kuip (located next to the Feyenoord stadium De Kuip). In these cinemas, you can see Hollywood movies and occasionally an arthouse movie.

If you're more into alternative cinema go to Lantaren/Venster Cinema (Otto Reuchlinweg 996 (Wilhelminapier),). Here you'll get European, Asian and Latin American cinema in a nice atmosphere. It has a nice bar too. The other option is Cinerama (Westblaak 18) which shows a combination of art/house films and commercial Hollywood flicks. During the IFFR (International Film Festival Rotterdam), which usually takes place at the end of January, art-house movies are shown at much more locations throughout the city.

In August, an open-air cinema at the


shows both blockbusters and independent films. Entrance is only a few euros, and you can either bring your own chair or rent one onsite. To get there, take the subway or tram to Eendrachtsplein and walk for about 5-10 minutes to the Museumpark.

Unique Attractions

When you want to combine a unique experience with a great view over the city of Rotterdam, you can make a (tandem) skydive at Skydive Rotterdam. At Skydive Rotterdam (also called The Flying Dutchman) you can book a tandem skydive or do a complete skydiving course and jump from a height of 3 or 4 kilometers. It's the only skydiving school in the "Randstad" area and the only place in the Netherlands where you can jump over a major city like Rotterdam. When the weather's good you will have a spectacular view over the Rotterdam skyline and other parts of the Randstad area, all the way to the coastline.

An airplane can be rented at reasonable rates at Rotterdam Aiport at Happy Wing. Nice tours above the city, its ports or the coastline are on offer.

On summer Sundays, it is possible to lower yourself down from the Euromast. On last Sundays of summer months you can glide down in 15 seconds on a wire (tokkelen). Both: Not for the faint of heart!


The closest good beach is a short train ride (32 min) away at Hook of Holland. Trains leave Rotterdam Centraal station every half hour. Wait for the last station, Hoek van Holland Strand (strand = beach). Here you will find a very fine sand beach with good swimming and enough entertainment. Leave the town of Hoek van Holland proper aside, there is nothing there.

For a more urban-party beach experience head to Scheveningen where you can find everything beach-party addicts dream about; Endless rows of beachside bars, restaurants, and discotheques and a boulevard along a splendid fine-sand beach. It can get very crowded here. Take the train to Den Haag HS station and from there Tram 1, or take the train to Den Haag Centraal Station and Tram 9 subsequently.

Water sports and yachting

Being a major harbor and having lots of waterways and lakes, Rotterdam has a lot to offer for water-enthusiasts. Boating: There are four major lakes in Rotterdam. The Kralingse Plas, The double Bergse Plas, the Rottemeren and the Zevenhuizer Plas. All of them have active yachting communities and sometimes sailing races can be seen. The Zevenhuizer plas is mainly populated by Windsurf enthusiasts. Sailing boats can be rented at the Kralingse Plas at the Van Gent sailing school 70, Plaszoom, a 10-minute walk from Metro Voorschoterlaan (walk through the Julianalaan until you reach Plaszoom). Rowing- and sailing boats can be rented at the windmill at the very end of the eastern Rottekade at Van Vliet's 71(Rottemeren, go by car or bike, a very nice ride). Yachting: When visiting Rotterdam with your own yacht you will find that most yachting harbors are on the inland waterways, where there are a lot of them. On the river Maas you will only find the City Marina 72, behind a bascule bridge on the southern bank, and the Veerhaven 73, right in the city center on the northern bank. Unless you need the better shelter of the characterless City Marina, go for the admittedly a little choppy Veerhaven marina, very central and scenic.

What to eat and drink in Rotterdam, Netherlands


The area around metro station Blaak, called Oude haven (Old Harbour), is not only worth seeing but has also a lot of pubs and restaurants. The Rotterdam dining scene is developing very fast with new restaurants opening very often. While most of the attention focuses on new Michelin-star aspiring places, there is very much a trend towards high-quality mid-range restaurants offering French/Dutch cuisine.

  • Angelo Betti, Schiekade 6a, ☎ +31 (10) 465 81 74. Mon-Sun: 4.00PM - 10.30PM. Italian kitchen and ice cream parlor. Whether you come for dinner or a takeaway pizza, you always have to wait. But everything here is definitely worth the wait! And what is so bad about having to wait a while when you can sit in the sun with a glass of great Italian wine in front of the restaurant? The good ingredients and the classy Italian waiters make the picture complete. In one word: fantastic!
  • Lokanta Dunya, Proveniersstraat 40a, ☎ +31 (10) 243 06 69 (fax: +31 (10) 243 09 31). Mon-Sun: 12.00 AM - 11.00 PM; Sat-Sun: no lunch. The first floor is much like a Turkish market square. It is fully decorated and cozy, the fake balcony and window pane complete the market square. Through a small staircase, you reach the ‘living room’. Tip: Enjoy the freshly baked bread before you start your dinner. They have a wood stove that gives the food that extra authentic taste; some great wood-heated meals are stuffed zucchini and stuffed kofte. This place is comparable to the Wereld Eethuis Bazar in the Witte de Withstraat 16. However, if you are looking for more intimacy, good and honest food and superb service, this place is where you want to go!  
  • Restaurant Café Lux, 's-Gravendijkwal 133, ☎ +31 (10) 476 22 06 (fax: +31 (10) 476 00 69). Mon-Sat: 6.00 PM - 11.00 PM; Sun: 5.30 PM - 11.00 PM. Nicely decorated Italian restaurant where you don’t just drop by for a simple pizza. As a matter of fact, they don’t even serve pizza. With the fine use of herbs, garlic and more interesting stuff that the Italian kitchen has to offer, it is almost impossible to not like this food. The personal is professional and for what you get the prices are actually not too bad. In summer you can eat outside (there is a small terrace at the back). A nice feature of this restaurant is that the kitchen is open until 11:00 PM, something that is not very common in Rotterdam. For sure you’re going to love this one!
  • Restaurant Soit, 's-Gravendijkwal 136b, ☎ +31 (10) 436 31 14 ( Sun-Thu: 5.30 PM - 9.30 PM; Fri-Sat: 5.30 PM - 10.30 PM. When you follow the Nieuwe Binnenweg towards the west side of Rotterdam and u take a left on the 's-Gravendijkwal you don't expect to find a nice cozy restaurant like Soit. This restaurant is well known for its eir staff. The smile of the hostess towards her customers is genuine; she knows that they're going to enjoy their dinner. It is not really cheap and can be compared with Eten. They have a nice mix of French, Dutch, and Asian food. Definitely a good place for romantic dinners. Don't forget to make a reservation!
  • Stalles, Nieuwe Binnenweg 9, ☎ +31 (0)10 4361655. The atmosphere in the restaurant is relaxed and friendly. The menu furthermore features pizza, salads, sandwiches, tapas and more... The owner also owns Club Vibes, around the corner.  
  • Restaurant Amarone, Meent 72 (near the City Hall (Stadhuis)), ☎ +31 (0)10 4148487. A culinary gem in the very heart of the city, this stylish restaurant needs to be booked well in advance. Very rewarding french cuisine. Valet parking.
  • Rotown, ☎ +31 (0)10 4362669. This is 'the' place in town for creative people. Or it used to be because lots of people now go to the next-door café's Stalles and Parket. Rotown has a restaurant with decent food for a decent price. After eating you can go watch a band or drink your drink in the café.  
  • Bierhandel De Pijp, Gaffelstraat 90 (Take Tram 4 to the Bloemkwekerstraat stop on the Nieuwe Binnenweg), ☎ +31 (0)10 4366896. daily 12.00-14.00 and 17.30-00. Closed on Sun and festive days and Sat afternoon. Prepare yourself for something special when visiting this famous eatery. The outside is absolutely rundown (so is the interior) and you must convince yourself to really push open the dark door. Once inside you will be welcomed by waiters in white and you will be allocated directly next to other visitors on benches. Good food is served (traditional Dutch and French fare), cooked in the same space that you're sitting. The place is frequented by Rotterdam businessmen and students and guests should fit in in terms of behavior and appearance. (Mick Jagger was famously denied access here for not being a gentleman.).
  • Café Restaurant Sijf, Oude Binnenweg 115. In the weekend open till 2:00. Very nice old-looking bar. They also serve food for a reasonable price and most of the food is homemade. Try the grilled beef with Spanish pepper and garlic! Or have one of their great sandwiches or salads. Wanna have a nice Belgium beer that gets u all fuzzy? They have an awesome Belgium beer called “la Chouffe” (the midget) on draft. Very tasty! A good start for the evening. 
  • Zinc Restaurant, Calandstraat 12a (Take Tram 7 to Westplein and walk 4 minutes from there), ☎ +31 (0) 10 43 66 579. Tue-Sun 18.00-00.00. Located in a very pleasant area called Scheepvaartkwartier this nice little (crammed) place offers good cuisine for a very good price. There is no á la carte dining, but a fixed menu with a limited choice per course (always 3 courses). The kitchen is French and Dutch oriented and focuses on traditional fresh seasonal ingredients. Reserve your table as it's often fully booked. 
  • Werelds Restaurant, Witte de Withstraat 81, ☎ +31 (0)10 4121652. 11 AM-11 PM. Amazing fish and chips on a Monday and Tuesday, and Irish stew is great.
  • Restaurant Parkheuvel, Heuvellaan 21 (Metro Dijkzigt + a short walk through the 'Park'), ☎ +31 (0)10 4360530. This sublime Michelin 2 star is the best place in town. Very nice views and service to match.
  • El Aviva, Schiedanseweg 22. KAPSALON is a wonderful variation of Shoarma that was invented at this restaurant in Rotterdam. It has now become famous all over the Netherlands. A delicious, greasy meal!
  • De Rotterdam (ss Rotterdam), 3e Katendrechtse hoofd 25, ☎ 0900-337 68 83. At the Rotterdam are two fine restaurants and a bar. When the weather is nice there is a great terrace with a view. Before the F&B you can book a tour. Or even better, spend the night at this fabulous cruise ship.  
  • Open, Jacobusstraat 215, ☎ +31 (10) 213 62 57. A great place to have a soup or salad. The food looks great and tastes even better.  


Nightlife in Rotterdam is extremely varied, every subculture has its own area in the city. The Oude Haven (close to the Kubuswoningen) and the main market square Blaak are the hangout spot for business, economic and law students. The cafés and restaurants in the Oude Haven (Old Harbour) are located around a picturesque little harbor. Scenery of water, city lights, boats, and Het Witte Huis, the first skyscraper of Europe (1897). The atmosphere is really great and it is best to go when the sun sets, very romantic! Great place for a night out.

Close to the Oude Haven area, the streets around the Pannenkoekstraat have recently emerged as a new center for shopping and going out. Amidst small boutiques, selling clothes and interior design by young, upcoming designers, you can find cocktail bars such as Level or Soho, which both attract large crowds. Especially in the summer, this is a great place for a mojito.

The most lively bar area in town is Eendrachtsplein/Nieuwe Binnenweg. Alternative, easy going and full of friendly, open-minded people. The cafés you should be looking for are Stalles, Parket and Rotown. This is the place to be for the more creative orientated people, musicians, designers, and artschool students. Walk down de Nieuwe Binnenweg and arrive at Café Ari (Nieuwe Binnenweg/Mathenesserlaan) and Westerpaviljoen (grand café with the best terrace in the city). This is a good place to start the evening. Walk a little bit (3 minutes) down the Binnenweg again and go left at ‘s-Gravendijkwal (you'll see the flashy neon lights of sexclub OQ). Across the street, you'll find Jazz Cafe Dizzy. A great place for a quality beer and some live jazz music. You can also eat at almost all the places mentioned.

Now walk back the Binnenweg up eastbound. Cross Eendrachtsplein and go to the right towards the Westersingel. Walk 3 minutes and on your left, there is the Witte de Withstraat. Some nice café's like De Witte Aap, Mondriaan, Bar P, and De Schouw are located here, along with some good restaurants as well. This is also the artiest street of Rotterdam. Here you'll find Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, MAMA, a showroom for media and moving art and many more. Drinking in style!

The Hofplein area, just east from Central Station on both sides of the train tracks, recently emerged on the nightlife map after a gentrification project. It attracts a creative crowd, mostly art students. Main attraction is the formerly vacant office building Schieblok, with the Berlin-esque BAR, that hosts underground techno nights. They do good food, too. Behind the building is the Bavarian style Biergarten. To find the Schieblok, look for the massive wooden pedestrian bridge across the road that leads north from Hofplein. Around the corner is also the massive and somewhat tacky club Hollywood, that boasts everything from top 40 to hardstyle to a teenage crowd. North from the train tracks is the Hofbogen, underneath the former Hofplein train station. It houses a bunch of cafés and clubs, including BIRD, that plays jazz and funkie house till late. On the roof, there's an open-air cinema.

If you're into loud music, your best option would be to go to De Baroeg at the "Spinozaweg" in Rotterdam-Lombardijen. Loads of heavy metal acts play here each year. Should you not feel like making your way all the way into sub-urbia, you could also try your luck at the Rhythem on Oude Binnenweg. A popular hang out of alternative types.

The clubscene in Rotterdam is well-renowned. For example, it gave birth to the gabber-housescene in the early 1990's and was home to the Now&Wow, one of the world's trendiest clubs. The Now&Wow is now defunct, but in its last lcoation, an old grain silo near metro station Maashaven, there are still numerous dance parties. Just as with the barscene, there are clubs that cater to different groups of people. Moreover, Rotterdam nightlife is very dynamic: places come and go, move around, change ownership, etc. Currently, it is mostly centered around:

  • Kruiskade: clubs as Off Corso (housed in an old cinema) and Thalia Lounge have good parties over the weekends and mostly attract 20-somethings.
  • Stadhuisplein: number of bars and disco's that are more directed towards the working class.
  • Delftsestraat: the Hollywood is a large disco that fills up quickly on weekends with an overall somewhat younger crowd. The Apres Ski Hut recreates the atmosphere of Tirol in the same colorless street.

Some listings that can be found around these places:

  • Club Vie, near the old harbor area, is a more stylish, trendy club, which also offers nice views over the Maas river.
  • Stalles, Nieuwe Binnenweg 11a. A small bar next to Parket. They serve a large variety of single malt whiskeys. It's pretty small but very cozy.  
  • Will’ns en Wetens, Nieuwe Binnenweg 111-A. Forgot your name, can hardly walk and had so much beer that you can’t see the difference between your socks and underpants? No worries! When all bars are closed you can always go to the Will’ns en Wetens. You don’t want to be around there when you're sober, you don’t want to be around there when you hate drunk people and maybe even under the influence of other products, but you DO want to be around when you like burping, like whiskey (40 kinds), like weird conversations, and like Heineken! Open till the last person walks out.  
  • Grand café Westerpaviljoen, Nieuwe Binnenweg 136. Open till 2:00 in the weekend. Rotterdammers like to read their newspaper here. For a solid breakfast (Dutch “wentelteefjes”), good lunch, or a fast meeting Westerpaviljoen is a perfect place. Hang out on their huge and fantastic terrace, drink a nice glass of Amstel or Hoegaarden White beer.  
  • Le Vagabond, Nieuwe Binnenweg 99, ☎ +31 (0)10 4365293. The oldest, but the best bar of the Binnenweg. It attracts a mixed crowd of musicians, journalists, students, and travelers. The atmosphere is very laid back during the afternoon, but at night there are various activities being organized. Thursdays and Saturdays there are DJ's who organize HipHop and Britpop parties which are definitely worth a visit if you want to party it up. Every Sunday there is live music by a great variety of bands.  
  • Café De Witte Aap, Witte de Withstraat 78 (Metro: Eendrachtsplein). Voted as best bar of the world by Lonely Planet readers this classic Rotterdam pub (The White Monkey) draws a very varied and often too large crowd for its premises. It's a cool place to have a few drinks before dinner or before exploring the rest of this very lively neighborhood.  
  • Café De Unie, (Metro: Eendrachtsplein). This restaurant/café/art society is a Rotterdam institute. Housed in a magnificent building reminiscent of a Mondrian painting it also hosts all kinds of cultural venues and parties. A good place to have coffee too.  
  • Pol Bar, Meent 46-48. In weekends open till 2:00. Nice looking bar with a modern solid patio. Crowd can be sort of posh sometimes, but don’t let that scare you too much. Right next to the market (Tuesday and Thursday), and they won some prices with their sandwiches.  
  • Exit, Mauritsstraat 173 (From Metro Eendrachtsplein walk up the Oude Binnenweg. It's the second street on your left). A fairly recently opened bar. On Thursday through Saturday, this place offers live music. Most of the bands you'll find here are new yet-to-be-discovered-soon type of bands. You may be charged a small cover charge, but most of the time it is worth it. Check their website to know what's on.  
  • O'Shea's Irish Pub, Lijnbaan. This Irish pub is in many ways quite typical. On Friday and Saturday nights the place is quite often overflowing with a decent mixture of the average going-out-partying type of young men and ladies. Tuesday nights they host a pub quiz with prizes to be won. On most other nights it's a bit quieter and you can meet some interesting characters in there. Thursday through Saturday this place hosts live music which can be anything between really good and sheer crap. If you're lucky there might be a jam session on Sunday nights which usually is enjoyable. Under the new management, it has lost its original atmosphere and it's more of a Dutch pub now.  
  • Dynamo. Muzikantencentrum Dynamo is a place which rents out rehearsal rooms and a studio to musicians. It also has a bar that operates as late as the bar staff decides to make it. It is located a bit of the beaten track and is one of Rotterdam's secrets (over 95% of the locals don't even know about it!). Its location won't be disclosed here, but if you're lucky enough you might find someone who can take you there.  
  • De Pui, Oostzeedijk Beneden 221 (Metro: Oostplein). Very nice bar in a corner building in the heart of Kralingen. Recognizable by the distinguished red awnings. There are students there, but it is not a student pub. There are musicians there, but it is not a musicians cafe. There are businessmen there, but that makes it no business cafe. It is the mixture of people and taste, that makes it so enjoyable.  
  • Tiki's, Hartmansstraat 16/A (between Witte de Withstraat and Westblaak). Don't let the cheesy Hawaiian interior put you off. Frequented by an alternative arty crowd, with rockabilly and ska (and occasionally Ethiopian jazz) on the loudspeakers. Cocktails and small dinner menu.  
  • LaBru, Hartmansstraat 18. Next to Tiki's, this cool bar-slash-art gallery is decorated with art and vintage furniture and attracts an older crowd. Menu includes a huge selection of remarkable beers, wine and spirits and the bartender here knows what he's doing.  


As everywhere in The Netherlands, the possession (of small quantities) and use of cannabis (hash and weed) is tolerated in Rotterdam. Since Amsterdam draws more coffee-shop tourism prices are lower in Rotterdam. Some renowned places:

  • Coffeeshop "Pluto" (Nieuwe Binnenweg 139a) Actually a headshop. They also sell loads of paraphernalia like pipes, bongs, etc.
  • Coffeeshop "Greenhouse" (Nieuwe Binnenweg) Ditto.
  • Coffeeshop "The Reefer" (De Meent, City center)
  • Coffeeshop "The Pool" (Westersingel, 5m from Central Station) A nice Coffeeshop located on the 1st floor where you can sit and relax by a table or bar. Or play some pool on the 2nd and 3rd floor.
  • Coffeeshop "Nemo" (Nieuwe Binnenweg) Unlike many coffeeshops this place is bright, open and airy with large windows and comfortable seats; the walls are covered in a (Disney) Nimo-esque montage and the music is more relaxed than many coffeeshops. A good place for someone wanting something softer than many other coffeeshops.

Shopping in Rotterdam, Netherlands

The main shopping areas in the center are the Lijnbaan and the Hoogstraat. Both are pedestrianized. The Lijnbaan, which runs straight south from the Weena (close to Rotterdam Centraal) was the first pedestrianized shopping street in the world when it was built in 1953. Now it is more of an average shopping street with average shops. On weekends it's very crowded. Linking the Lijnbaan with the Hoogstraat is the Beurstraverse, dubbed Koopgoot (Buying-gutter). A subterranean passage, also connecting to Beurs metro station. It's all rather big and somewhat strange for a Dutch city, but it fits perfectly into the Rotterdam aspiration of being different. If you're looking for it, ask for the Koopgoot, as the official name is little known. A more alternative shopping experience could be found at Botersloot and Pannekoekstraat, which have many independent, some outright odd shops. Both streets run parallel to the east from the market square where Blaak metro and train station is located.

There are about 12 larger and smaller open-air markets dotted around Rotterdam. Most of them are enjoyable places to walk through. A nice place to visit is the inner City Market (Tue and Sat, in summer also on Sun a smaller version) which is a huge (about 450 stalls) open-air food and hardware market. It's at the eastern end of the Hoogstraat on the Binnenrotte. Metro: Blaak. More exotic and colorful is the Afrikaanderplein Market (South of the river, Metro: Maashaven). This market is geared very much towards Rotterdam inhabitants of Antillian, South American or African descent (a lot of whom happen to live nearby). Wed and Sat, about 300 stalls.

Department stores. The Beurstraverse gives direct access to the city's main department stores:

  • De Bijenkorf; This upmarket store offers a lot in terms of better clothing, perfumes, fashion articles, jewelry and the like. The store offers quality, but it comes at a price. Every year in October there's a special sale (called 3 dwaze dagen, the 3 mad days) during which you run the risk of being trampled over by stampeding bargain hunters.
  • Vroom & Dreesmann; A more middle-class department store. Rather lacking in allure, V&D as it is always called, is an average priced store that offers value. The assortment is rather broad and varies from food to children's games and clothing. A safe bet, but not special.
  • HEMA; This star of Dutch budget shopping has a limited range of clothing, food, and hardware. HEMA has a reputation for delivering quality goods at very competitive prices. A lot of what it sells is of a fresh and bright design.

Sustainable shopping. De Groene Passage is a collection of sustainable shops including a grocery store, restaurant, bookstore, and butchery. Mariniersweg 1 – 33 near Blaak train- and metro station.

Things to buy. Dutch cheese is very famous, you can get some at grocery stores or wider variety at the marketplace. Other typical Dutch things are stroopwafels, hagelslag, and drop (liquorice).

Safety in Rotterdam, Netherlands

You should take normal precautions against pickpockets and baggage theft, especially in the main shopping streets, at markets, in trams and trains, at stations, and anywhere where tourists congregate.
It is not wise to hang around Stadhuisplein when nightlife ends. Fights often occur in this area after midnight. Rotterdam also has a reputation of mass venues getting out of hand, though you shouldn't worry too much about it. If violence breaks out at football festivities (not so unlikely) or at the end of sun-soaked festive days, like Queensday (even less unlikely, especially at the Stadhuisplein), just get out of the way and you're unlikely to be affected. It's advisable not to wear a football jersey of Ajax Amsterdam or any other stuff promoting Ajax or Amsterdam.
In terms of general safety, at daylight most areas in the city are safe. But at night, some areas such as Spangen, Oude Noorden, Oude Westen and all area's in the South of Rotterdam are wise to avoid. When you drive a car with a foreign numberplate (especially if it's a French or Belgian one) you might or will be approached by so-called drugsrunners. This can occur on the motorways surrounding the city and in the city proper. These guys try to lure people to places where drugs are dealt. Do not respond to their signals and do not follow them.

Language spoken in Rotterdam, Netherlands

Since virtually everybody in the Netherlands speaks at least some English, getting around should be very easy for tourists who can only speak this language.


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