10 Free Things to Do in Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Hey you, ever fancied a trip to Rotterdam, The Netherlands other capital? Bombed for being an important port city back in World War 2, Rotterdam lost a lot of its beautiful architecture along the way. But that doesn’t mean the Dutch didn’t rebuild it to a new strength. Last weekend, we took a trip to this gorgeous city, and we’re here to tell you 10 completely FREE things you can do there. We’ve already covered Amsterdam, and we’d love to know what you think of the two compared. Let’s get right into it.
Take a street art tour
If you’re a huge fan of street art, this city is a great place to discover beautiful murals. Although it didn’t quite make our list of the best cities in the world for street art, we might have actually gotten a bit ahead of ourselves. The city itself spans 325,8km2, and there are plenty of winding streets, alleyways, and larger shopping streets to uncover. Most of which are covered in art in some form or another. A great place to start if you’re looking for a street art route in Rotterdam would be here. The entire site is in English, and you’ll learn plenty about all the art you can uncover and its significance too.
Discover the rest of Rotterdam’s art
Sometimes Rotterdam can look a little like an artist’s coloring book, in the way that there are plenty of pieces of modern art dotted around the city. Our favorite, which you’ll have to look up when you visit is Santa Clause’ by Artist Paul McCarthy. It’s a naughty gnome type creature, who looks like he’s holding something questionable, but it’s a must see to get to grips with the aesthetic of the city. Fancy discovering even more of the city’s art? Take a look at this site for a serious guide.
Visiting Markthal in the center of Rotterdam is a must if you’re a big foodie. Not only is it an icredible piece of archtecture that’s easy to spot in the market square, with giant glass walls and mirrored panels that reflect the Dutch light perfectly, but inside you’ll be met with cuisine from every walk of life imaginable. WARNING – do not enter when you’re feeling hungry, because there are a lot of wonderful smells floating around Markthal. Do make sure you look up at the ceiling though, because it’s a beautiful array of colours and shapes that you don’t want to miss.
Check Out the Cube Houses
One of Rotterdam’s most famous architectural landscapes is its bright yellow cube houses (kubuswoningen in Dutch). Yes, they’re homes. And they’re also a hostel, meaning that you can actually stay a night or two in a room that’s got a 45 degree angle factored in! Whilst that might not be your idea of fun, taking a wander around these cube houses is awesome, and the photos you can capture from the right angle can be mezmerizing.
Wander over the Luchtsingel
Yellow really seems to be the color of the city, as you’ll see from Luchtsingel, a neon yellow walkway that crosses above the freeway and tram lines below. Not only is this an absolutely awesome spot for a photoshoot if you’re looking to capture some hip, editorial shots, but it can feel like you’re wandering through a completely new landscape, with its high walls emblazoned in such an in-your-face color. There’s a fruit and vegetable roof garden to discover there, as well as an area where local events are often held. Sunglasses are possibly necessary, depending on the weather conditions when you arrive in Rotterdam.
Walk over the Erasmusbrug
The Erasmusbrug is Rotterdam’s most famous bridge. Also known as De Zwaan, or the Swan to locals (which you may be able to tell why when you take a really good look at it!), it’s a bridge that spans 800 meters, and a top height of 139 meters. It’s also an epic viewpoint for the city’s skyscrapers and harbor, so taking a walk across it is a must. It does get quite windy on the bridge, so if you’re visiting during the colder months, do wrap up warm if you want to avoid the wrath of the wind.
Relax in Het Park
If you’ve gone to the city to kick back and relax a little, make sure you find time to head to Het Park. It’s Rotterdam’s green space with a view to die for. Think plenty of greenery, water, and the Euromast (which unfortunately can’t be featured in this post because it’s not free to head up to the top of!). This is the perfect spot for a picnic, a relaxing hour or two with your latest read, or a place to sit and chat and watch the world go by. Stock up on snacks, and make sure you take something waterproof to sit on, just in case there’s been a little bit of rainfall (which is pretty common in the Netherlands).
Walk along the largest harbor in Europe
Remember when we said that Rotterdam had been bombed during the second world war back in the 1940’s? It’s huge harbor was one of the reasons for this. Luckily, it still stands and is in use today. It’s home to hundreds of boats, and sees thousands of boats in safely each year. If you’re a martime fan, taking a walk along the harbor is a must. Best done on a warm, sunny day, you can head to another incredible landmark if you take this route…
Check out Hotel New York
Hotel New York is one of the older buildings in Rotterdam, and if you like old architecture, this is one you simply cannot miss. As the former office building of the Holland America Line, it stands tall and proud, with its iron wrought staircases, high ceilings, and original brownstone brickwork. You can even still stay in this former temporary accomodation of European emigres from the late 19th and early 20th Century if you’d like a view of the Erasmusbrug and the water. It’s one not to miss.
Visit one of the free entry museums in the city center
Rotterdam has a huge array of museums, and not all of them will cost you an admission ticket! For example, the Maritime Museum, Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam’s Natural History Museum, the Dutch Pinball Museum(!), Miniworld Rotterdam, Villa Zebra (for kids!), and the Feyenoord Museum are all free entry, and a perfect way to learn about the Dutch city’s history and culture. Plus, if the weather’s acting up, which it can often do, it’s the perfect way to head inside for a few hours and stay dry.
Have you ever visited Rotterdam before? Let us know your favorite spots to visit when you’re in this wonderful city. Not yet visited but ready to go? We hope we’ve given you plenty to whet your appetite with!