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Erasmus Bridge, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Erasmus Bridge, © Can Stock Photo / jvdwolf

Rotterdam gets its name from the dam built on the Rotte River in 1270.  The city is absorbed in a maze of water flow from the delta of the Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt Rivers.  Located in the province of South Holland, it is second in size to Amsterdam and has a population of over 1 million. The port of Rotterdam (Europort) on the North Sea is the largest port in Europe.  Most of the original city of Rotterdam was destroyed in World War II by German Luftwaffe aircraft bombing.  Instead of trying to rebuild traditional styles, Rotterdam has taken a unique path compared to other European cities and has concentrated on ultra modern architecture.  Engineers and architects will be mesmerized by the abundance of distinctive, eye-catching buildings around the city.


The climate of Amsterdam is heavily influenced by the North Sea, making it cool in summer and usually preventing freezing in winter.  Temperatures are slightly less than cities farther inland.  The height of summer is July and August when average highs reach 72 F (22  C), while lows average 56 F (13 C).  From December to February, the winter highs average about 44 F (7 C) with lows just above freezing.  Rainfall is spread fairly evenly throughout the year, but is slightly lower in April and May.  Visiting in mid May provides excellent opportunities for good weather and catching the end of the tulip season.


Rotterdam The Hague Airport is located about 20 minutes north of the bus station beside Rotterdam Central Station (Centraal) on Stadsbus #33.  This airport isn't nearly as big as Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, so passengers are more likely to arrive in Amsterdam and take the train to Rotterdam.  The train takes about 45 minutes, provided that you don't stop at the Hague along the way.  Rotterdam also has high speed train service to Belgium and France.  The transportation system within the city is excellent.  There are 5 metro lines, plus a series of trams to get you wherever you need to go.  It's a straight forward process to buy tickets and English is commonly spoken, if assistance is needed.  For more information, check out the Rotterdam Info site.  You can plan a trip between destinations in Rotterdam on the 9292 site.  Consider a Rotterdam Welcome Card for transit passes that combine with discounts at attractions.

Spido harbour tour boat, Euromast, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Spido harbour tour, Euromast, © Can Stock Photo / jank1000

Attractions in Rotterdam:

Things to see and do:

  • Ride the Historical Tram for a hop on - hop off city tour that includes the Erasmus Bridge, the Euromast, Delfshaven, the Spido, Central Station, the Pancake Boat and the Museum Park.  It's a great way to get an overview of the city.  Time your visit - the tram operates in July and August and is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

  • Erasmus Bridge - It may look more like a harp, but it's commonly called de Zwaan (the Swan).

  • Euromast Tower  - 328 foot high viewpoint over the city.  Try viewing, dining or rappelling.  Catch the Pancake Boat (Pannenkoekenboot) at the base of the tower.  This is a popular attraction for children's parties, so we recommend a Spido harbour tour instead.  It's located about 10 minutes east of the Euromast by taxi.

  • Steamship Rotterdam - originally used to transport emigrants to New York, it is now a museum.  It's on the opposite bank from most of the attractions.  Also on the opposite bank is the Vertical City (De Rotterdam) and the Hotel New York,  This hotel was  formerly the headquarters for Holland America Line.  They are now headquartered in Seattle, Washington.

Cube Houses, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Cube Houses, © Can Stock Photo / peterkirillov

  • The Cube Houses (Kubuswoningen) are inter-connected cube homes tilted 45 degrees and having no straight walls inside.  These are private homes and public viewing will depend on individual owners intent.  The Cube Houses can be reached by bus or metro traveling to Blaak Station near the Old Harbour.  The Markethal is located at the opposite end of the square.  It provides yet another example of unusual architecture.  The architecture inside is almost as interesting as the variety of foods available in the market.

  • the Old Harbour - includes the White House "skyscraper" built in 1898.

  • Delfshaven - the old port, includes the Museum Rotterdam, the Shipyard De Delft, the Old Mill and the Pilgrim Fathers Church, whose members left in 1620 to catch the Mayflower to America.

  • Arboretum Trompenburg - botanical garden.

Delfshaven, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Delfshaven, © Can Stock Photo / rbouwman

Kinderdijk Windmills, Netherlands

Kinderdijk, near Rotterdam, © Can Stock Photo / Enjoylife

Things to see and do near Rotterdam:

  • Take a day trip on the Nehallenia to see the Kinderdijk windmills, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The small water district can also be reached in just over half an hour from Rotterdam by car or local buses.  Although water levels are mainly controlled through modern technology, Kinderdijk has 19 traditionanal windmills operating at the site.  Tours are run by volunteers and include the opportunity to go inside the windmills and learn about the history of the area, the ways that water levels are managed and how the windmills are maintained.  There are also boat trips through the canals and bike baths to enjoy.

  • Travel 40 minutes north to the Hague.

  • Travel an hour north to Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse - the premier garden stop in the Netherlands.  Sorry, but the gardens are only open in the spring, when the tulips bloom.

Hotels in Rotterdam:

Recommendation - Hotel New York, formerly the headquarters for Holland America Line.

Hotel Listings for Rotterdam

Rotterdam The Hague Airport - (RTM) - including a list of hotels with a shuttle.

View Rotterdam map

View Rotterdam Pics

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