Whoever travels through Holland during a vacation and visits Rotterdam for the first time will realize that it is a city with a very industrial air, quite different from the towns that make up the rest of the country. This is because after the bombing it suffered in May 1940 during World War II, most of its old buildings were destroyed and at the end of the conflict a new city had to be built.
For some people this meant the loss of that charm that the Dutch towns have, built on the basis of that canal structure so typical of the country, but for others it gave rise to a unique city with modern buildings that made the architecture in Rotterdam charge great. importance, even from a tourist point of view.
Today, Rotterdam has become a fashionable city among the Dutch and travelers, who take the opportunity to visit it on a route next to Amsterdam and the beautiful Delft. Here are some places to see in Rotterdam during your visit for an unforgettable trip to the tulip country.
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It is one of the most modern and impressive buildings in the city. It has an area as large as a football stadium and its semicircular façade with small square windows draws attention to reminiscent of a horseshoe. Its interior is decorated by the Dutch artist Arno Coenen, who drew fruits, flowers and insects for the occasion.
The entrance to Markthal Rotterdam is free and beyond housing the traditional market stalls with fresh products, it also has restaurants and even a cooking school. An ideal place to try the typical gastronomy of the area and also from other corners of the planet. But if you are hungry, you can always go to one of the bars on Pannekoekstraat street, a five-minute walk away, which are very crowded especially at afterwork time.
Museums in Rotterdam
Another attraction of this city is its museum offer. The Boijmans Museum (Museumpark, 18-20), the oldest museum in the Netherlands, is a must. which is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside due to its art deco façade and impressive interior courtyards, as well as its collection of sculpture, painting and assorted objects.
One of the largest and most beautiful museums in the Netherlands is the Dutch Photographic Museum. Its exhibits are distributed over several floors and on the ground floor you can learn about the history of photography in an interactive and educational way.
Furthermore, Rotterdam has one of the most relevant maritime museums in the world as its port is one of the largest. In it you can see from replicas of merchant and war ships to navy uniforms or objects related to navigation.
Ports of Rotterdam
Speaking of ports, the area of the old port of the city has become a very popular meeting point given the presence of terraces and bars with a lot of atmosphere in which to have a drink. Centuries ago, in this same place, a prosperous commercial life emerged, which is witnessed by some historical vessels that can be seen here today.
Another prominent port of Rotterdam is Europort, where you can visit the former headquarters of Holland America Line, from where many Dutch took a ship to embark on the American dream.
Very close to the old port of the city is Witte Huis, an architectural marvel from the late nineteenth century that is considered the first European skyscraper with its 43 meters high and 10 floors. Its white facade and structure was one of the few that survived the disaster of the war.
Also very close to Witte Huis is another of Rotterdam's tourist attractions: its famous Cubic Houses or Kijk-Kubus. We are facing one of the most innovative and revolutionary constructions in terms of design, the work of the Dutchman Piet Blom in 1984. They are cube-shaped houses suspended upside down so that they can be seen from all possible angles. Currently you can only visit one since the rest are inhabited. They are located in the Oude Haven neighborhood directly across from the Marktal exit.
Town hall and church of San Lorenzo
But don't think that Rotterdam only has modern architecture. Despite the war, some buildings survived, such as the town hall or the Protestant church of San Lorenzo (1449). The first dates from 1913 and was built in a neo-Renaissance style. To visit its interior you must hire a guided tour at the Rotterdam tourist office. On the other hand, the church can also be visited. Its interior was restored as it was damaged in the bombing of 1940. The decoration is rather austere but its stone arches and vaulted ceilings are very interesting.
The Rotterdam railway station is yet another example of the importance of modern architecture in the city. Although it was inaugurated in 2014, it has already become an emblem of the city due to its peculiar triangular shape. However, it retains some memory of the past such as the central clock or the letters at the entrance.