Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

April 2016: Rotterdam

The city of Rotterdam is the second largest in the Netherlands, after Amsterdam. It is situated in the province of South Holland, very close to The Hague, on the Maas river (or Meuse, if you prefer). Despite its inland setting, Rotterdam is the busiest cargo port in Europe, thanks to its easy access to an array of important road, rail and inland waterway connections. A crucial point in understanding Rotterdam is the realisation that the centre was almost completely destroyed in World War II. As a result, the city's modern architecture makes it unlike any other Dutch city. Frankly, it was never on my radar, until an impromptu solo visit by my friend Bruce in the summer of 2014 led to an unwavering recommendation.

City Centre & Leuvehaven

I arrived at the Stadhuis metro station and began my explorations with a stroll down Coolsingel, taking in City Hall and the Stock Exchange / World Trade Center. The nearby Laurenskerk was unmissable, being the sole surviving remnant of the medieval city. Walking a little further south brought me to the Leuvehaven, home of the Maritime Museum.

ABOVE: A few city centre highlights, starting with City Hall
RIGHT and BELOW: Laurenskerk, a concert venue, museum and active church
BELOW: Wandering around at Leuvehaven

Witte de Withstraat & Museumpark

Having formerly suffered from a poor reputation, Witte de Withstraat has been cleaned up and now has a cool vibe. Connecting the Maritime Museum with Museum Park, it features cafés, restaurants, galleries and shops, and is ideal for unhurried strolling. Highlights of the park itself include the Boijmans van Beuningen museum, the Natural History Museum and the Kunsthal.

Erasmusbrug & Wilhelminapier

The sleek Erasmusbrug (1996) crosses the Nieuwe Maas, connecting Leuvehaven and Kop van Suid. In true Dutch fashion, it has segregated sections for pedestrians, cyclists, road traffic and trams. Wilhelminapier is home to the cruise terminal and the interesting Nederlands Fotomuseum.


The historic and attractive area of Delfshaven was once a separate municipality, founded as the port for the nearby city of Delft (visited by me in 2014). The Oude Kerk is a must-see for visitors, being the departure point of the Pilgrim Fathers for their voyage to the New World. The district is also well known for its production of Jenever (Dutch gin).

'Euromast' tower

This observation tower was built in 1960 for an international gardening exhibition.

The tower has an unusual Norwegian church as a close neighbour.

Base: Hilton The Hague

Linked report from same trip: