Things to do in Rotterdam Netherlands

Must do

When you are in the largest port in Europe, go on one of the harbour tours. A cruise ship takes you through the city, you get to see a lot of Rotterdam and there is a good chance you will see something you would like to visit later. The ships depart every hour.


The covered market, or Markthal, is located in the center of the city of Rotterdam, Netherlands. MVRDV Architects were commissioned to design the market and the city opted for an arch roof instead of a traditional low one. The market is now visible from the apartments surrounding it. It also offers views of the Maas and the Laurenskerk. The market is soundproof thanks to triple glazing.

The Market Hall is located near the Oudehaven (Old Harbour), providing ample space for shopping and dining. The Market Hall is also equipped with car parking facilities. A winy-maas-designed arch and a Cornucopia ceiling create a space that is 11,000 square metres in size. Various food themes and seasonal images are featured on the walls, and the space’s open, airy feel makes it the perfect place for a food festival or a leisure activity.

In the midst of all the market stalls, a gourmet experience awaits. The unique design of the Markthal is reminiscent of food markets in Stockholm, Valencia, and Barcelona. In addition to fresh and international products, vendors also sell crockery and a wine shop. A museum is also planned, where archeological finds and demonstrations are displayed. It is also a unique place to take photos.

Rotterdam Zoo

The Rotterdam Zoo is an enormous city zoo, situated on 28 hectares in the heart of the Netherlands’ biggest harbour, the Gate of Europe. With almost 1.6 million visitors per year, the zoo is one of the top attractions in The Netherlands. The zoo’s biggest project is the Oceanium, a collection of water-related biotops, including the Falkland Islands, where King Penguins live.

The Diergaarde Blijdorp Zoo was established in 1855 and housed various species of water birds and pheasants. The original zoo was destroyed in the 1940 bombing of Rotterdam, which led to the Zoo being relocated to the Blijdorp district. The new zoo, which was designed by Sybold van Ravesteyn, obviated the use of bars and fences and instead created spacious animal pens. The new zoo has been built around the old zo, which is now a national monument.

The Zoo offers various tours and activities that help visitors understand the lives of animals and their habitats. Visitors can experience gorillas and polar bears in their habitats and can watch elephants bathing in the water. Other areas of the zoo are Oceanium, which houses sharks and turtles in a recreated Malayan Forest. A fun family activity is a visit to the Oceanium, which features an 82-foot shark tunnel and a vibrant coral reef.

Rotterdam Centraal Station

In addition to its central location, Rotterdam Centraal Station has underground bike parking and 2 supermarkets. You can also grab a bite to eat in the area or buy a quick snack before or after your train ride. While you’re at the station, take advantage of the bike-parking garage to keep your wheels in top shape! The Rotterdam Centraal Station is one of the city’s main railway stations.

The roof of Rotterdam Centraal Station is a translucent grid with steel beams extending 12m from the platform walls. The steel beams and glass panels reflect surrounding sounds, creating a generous sonic space. Inside, you’ll find train horns and singing birds hanging from power lines. Even the elevators have windows and skylights, creating a unique listening experience. However, before you step inside the Rotterdam Centraal Station, you’ll have a chance to take in the station’s architecture and interior design.

The original station, designed by Sybold van Ravesteyn in 1957, was not fit for purpose and was no longer functional. It was also difficult to integrate the station into the city’s urban fabric. The project team had one goal: to make every step of the reconstruction process better than the previous one. They achieved this by bringing temporary amenities to the station, such as a pop-up movie theater. Moreover, they added more than 250 meters of space for shopping and dining.

Erasmus Bridge

The Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam is a key landmark in the Dutch city. Its genesis lies in its traffic and economic benefits. The bridge has hosted several impressive events, including the World Port Days, a major maritime festival celebrating the city’s harbor. Also, the Erasmus Bridge has been the setting for a Hollywood film shoot, Red Bull Air Races, dance events, and the Tour de France cycling race. Its beauty and functionality have also led to many awards.

The city has been the venue for two editions of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship, which involved stunt pilots steering their aircraft around a difficult course. The course included pylons that were ten to 12 metres high and inflatable. Thousands of spectators witnessed the thrilling event, which took place over the Maas. While the city’s skyline may look deceptively beautiful, the reality is that the skyline of Rotterdam is littered with litter.

Euromast Tower

The Euromast Tower in Rotterdam is one of the highest structures in Holland. It is 107 metres tall and is a member of the World Federation of Great Towers. At its highest point, the tower can be seen over Antwerp, eighty kilometers away. The tower was renovated in 2004. There are currently no additional details on this structure. However, you can add this information yourself! Here are some facts about the Euromast Tower in Rotterdam.

The views from the top of the Euromast Tower are incredible! On a clear day, you can see Antwerp, 80 kilometers away! For a good night’s sleep, you can stay at the hotel’s luxurious suites and visit the Euromast restaurant. High tea and lunch are served daily and you can indulge in a delicious dinner or brunch in the Euromast restaurant. You can also indulge in high tea in the hotel restaurant or enjoy a full breakfast at the Euromast Tower.

Kunsthal Rotterdam

The renowned cultural institution of Rotterdam, the Kunsthal, is known for its constantly changing and thought-provoking exhibitions. Usually, the Kunsthal presents at least three exhibitions per year. The multi-level building, designed by local architectural firm OMA, is home to a wide range of art works and is renowned for its innovative design. The Kunsthal suffered from major theft in 2012, and several pieces of art remain missing.

The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sundays from 11am to 5pm. It is closed on Kingsday (April 27), Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. The Kunsthal is part of a complex called Museumpark, which is a large outdoor area filled with museums and galleries. If you’re driving, you’ll be able to park your car in the indoor parking garage in Museum Park.

A report in The Times newspaper stated that the thieves had entered the gallery through the rear fire exit. The security system at the Kunsthal was supposedly state-of-the-art, but it was still not enough. As it turns out, several of the most valuable paintings in the gallery had been reported stolen in the Art Loss Register database. It is unclear what caused this, but the Kunsthal is committed to keeping the public safe.


If you’re in Rotterdam for the day, don’t miss a visit to Delfshaven, a charming old area that was spared the bombing that devastated the city during WWII. This charming neighborhood is the only part of the city that’s completely old-fashioned, with cobblestone streets and the ambiance of centuries past. The town is also home to an old 18th century windmill and row after row of beautiful, old houses.

Located near the Nieuwe Maas River, Delfshaven is a beautiful part of Rotterdam that was not destroyed during the World War II. The area is home to many old-style houses and many small art shops. Delfshaven is a wonderful place to window shop. While you’re here, you’ll have a chance to see beautiful jewelry at Petra Jongmans, a renowned jewelry store in the area. Note that this store is open only a few hours a week.

For those looking for a bit more history, a visit to the Delfshaven Museum is the perfect way to do so. The museum is situated on the banks of the River Nieuwe Maas and has survived the war. There are also two oceaniums and a botanical garden, which showcase more than 180 species. Delfshaven also boasts some of the city’s best bruin cafes.

Maritime Museum Rotterdam

The Maritime Museum Rotterdam is a multimedia experience that features a wide variety of historic port models, vintage ships, and hands-on kid’s exhibits. You’ll learn everything from how to use a compass to navigate a ship to learning about sailor life. It is well worth a visit for both adults and children. While you’re there, check out the audio-visual exhibits to learn more about maritime life and the history of the port.

The Maritime Museum Rotterdam houses an important collection. Many of the objects on display date back to 1852. It began as a model room that was only open to club members, but eventually evolved into a public municipal museum. Maritime Museum Rotterdam opened in 1874 and is one of the oldest maritime museums in the Netherlands. To date, more than a billion people have visited the museum. The museum’s collection includes more than one million items, including dozens of world-class ship models.

The Maritime Museum Rotterdam is located in the historic port area of the city. There are tours in Dutch, English, French, and German. The museum even offers water bus tours of Leuvehaven. You can even enjoy a delicious lunch in the museum’s café. The museum is located in the Waterfront district, making it easy to find parking nearby. There is a Beursplein parking garage within walking distance.

Here’s some more things to do thanks to The Intrepid Guide

What do you like best about your city?

It is a modern dynamic city, which is the centre of activity for this region, similar to its big brother Amsterdam in the north, but not as focused on tourism. Whatever you are looking for, be it culture or shopping, you can probably find it here.

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Best Walk in Rotterdam

For the best walk, I think one should start at the Erasmus bridge, commonly known as de Zwaan (the Swan), cross it and follow the path along the waterline. At some point you will find yourself in the heart of the city. For those that are interested in modern architecture, there is nothing like it.

Best Restaurants in Rotterdam

If you are looking for a romantic place to eat near the water, I can recommend going to the Oude Haven (Old Harbour) area. You will find many fine restaurants there. Newer and more luxurious restaurants have been built on de Kop van Zuid (head of the south), near the New Luxor theatre. I have not been there enough to comment on those.

Best Music/Festival

The city has become well known for its summer festivals. Dunya festival comes to mind, a popular festival of world music. If you like dance music, there is the Dance Parade festival every year around august. Oh, and this year the North Sea Jazz festival moves to Rotterdam!

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Best Nightlife in Rotterdam

I am not an expert, but Stadhuisplein has always been the place to be for bars and clubs. Easy to reach with the subway, there is a station with the same name directly under it.

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Best Day Trip Out of the City

Look up the Netherlands in any travel guide and most likely you will see a photo of windmills. The truth is those windmills do not exist anymore. There is only one place in the Netherlands where you will find authentic windmills: Kinderdijk. You take the fast ferry from the  in Rotterdam; the boat will take you there in half an hour.

Something that not many tourists would know about Rotterdam

Come here on the 30th of April, Koninginnedag (Queens day), to celebrate the Queens Birthday. The city will be decorated in the national colour orange. There are countless small markets, live music all around and an abundance of cultural activities. It is a national holiday, so there will be a huge but festive crowd.

1 thought on “Things to do in Rotterdam Netherlands”

  1. Hey, my name is Frank and I work with the Ani & HAakien hostel. If you wanted to suggest an extra option to your readers we offer through the hostel 4 free tours on a weekly basis. On top of that two of those are night tours a starting at 9pm and they both end in different bars in different parts of the city.

    Anyway if you are interested let me know. You’re welcome to come and join the tours yourself, many locals frequently do.

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