Rotterdam's contemporary art scene, fantastic food and bouncy nightlife make the Netherlands’ second city well worth a visit.
The Hague and Gouda are just a stone’s throw away too, so there’s plenty of interest in the surrounding area if you’re planning a longer trip.
You can bus from the airport to the centre in about 20 minutes, opt for the speedier metro or jump in one of the many taxis. Rotterdam’s public transport system is extensive and efficient, with a great metro, plenty of trams and bike taxis if you fancy something different.
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Neighbourhoods To See
Museumkwartier: for culture
The clue is in the name: expect modern design institutes, art galleries and collections of Dutch Old Masters in this area jam-packed with museums. The Natural History Museum shows a whopping 420,000 items from prehistory to the modern day, while Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen houses the vast personal art collection of a 19th-century jurist, including masterpieces by Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Dali.
Witte de Withkwartier: for contemporary art
The city’s ‘axis of art’ is home to several leading institutions. TENT is a hub for Rotterdam’s contemporary art scene, while Kunstinstituut Melly brings together current artworks from around the world. Find more avant-garde culture, film and art at WORM. By night, this popular area’s bars, pubs and restaurants buzz with life.
Katendrecht: for eating and drinking
Formerly a red-light district, this rejuvenated peninsula on the Nieuwe Maas river brims with food stalls, cafés and breweries. Enjoy a sunset stroll along the waterfront past the SS Rotterdam, a restored 1950s cruise liner that's now part-hotel, part-museum.
Museum Boijmans van Beuningen
These personal collections of 19th-century jurist Frans Jacob Otto Boijmans and 20th-century businessman Daniel George van Beuningen include works by Hieronymus Bosch, Van Gogh and Monet.
The last vestige of the city’s medieval architecture, the historic Church of St Lawrence dates back to 1525.
Formerly Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, this superb museum collates the world’s finest contemporary art and hosts readings, film screenings and more.
The Vogelvallei area is a 21-hectare nature reserve dedicated to water birds, with several islands and a sea wall for them to nest on.
Food And Drink
Rotterdam’s maritime history gave rise to an eclectic food scene. You’ll get a great overview at the huge, modern De Markthal indoor market full of fresh food vendors, restaurants and pop-ups. To taste more than the local Gouda, drop into De Kaashoeve, a traditional cheese emporium stocking classic Dutch produce.
APRIL 27th | King’s Day
On Konigsdag the entire city of Rotterdam celebrates the King’s birthday with fountains dyed orange, orange-coloured food and drink, and lively street parties.
JULY | North Sea Jazz Festival
This major jazz festival also features soul, funk, hip-hop and blues acts, attracting international names.
JULY | Summer Carnival
A Caribbean-themed street party celebrating diverse culture, music, dance and art with a riot of dancers filling the streets.