A visionary city bursting with energy
Though only an hour from Amsterdam Holland’s second city could not be more different. Rather than classic medieval streets and criss-crossing canals, Rotterdam is a futuristic metropolis. Its avant-garde cityscape is a result of the reconstruction that took place following the devastating bombing by the Luftwaffe during WW2. Rotterdam was, and still is, a vital seaport and is the second busiest port in the world after Shanghai. Remnants of the pre-1940 Rotterdam are still visible in the charming Old Harbour (Oude Haven) and Delft Harbour (Delfshaven) areas. Aside from interesting architecture and a bustling maritime industry, the city has huge energy, a handful of excellent museums and a lively arts scene. Numerous bars are filled with students and live music is a feature of the spirited nightlife. Football is also a big part cultural life and when the city’s team – Feyenoord - play arch rival – Amsterdam’s Ajax - sparks fly.
Rotterdam offers visitors plenty of reasons to spend time there. The city is bursting with energy, is wonderfully multi-cultural, and has great shopping, excellent museums, aesthetic architecture and an interesting port. But, perhaps Rotterdam’s most enticing feature is its edgy arts and entertainment scene. Expect late nights.
When to Go?
Choosing when to visit depends on what you want from your trip. If it’s the arts scene, then late January/early February is a great time when the Rotterdam International Film Festival is on, but remember an umbrella and warm clothing. In summer the North Sea Jazz Festival draws large crowds; at this time the temperature is at its warmest and accommodation at its most expensive. Holland blooms in mid April making this a lovely time to visit.
How to get there?
There are direct flights to Rotterdam Airport (RTM) from London City and London Gatwick. The airport is around 5 miles from central Rotterdam. Fast, efficient buses and taxis are available from the airport terminal. Alternatively fly into Amsterdam Schiphol Airport from several destinations across the UK. Passengers can take a 45-minute train ride from Schiphol Plaza to Rotterdam Central.
Ascend the Euromast, the 185m tall structure offering fantastic views of Rotterdam from its rotating, glass-walled elevator. Enjoy a drink or meal at the top, and if you’re feeling in the party spirit hire one of two executive suites. Visit the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen for fascinating exhibits including a wonderful art collection of old Dutch masters. See the Walk of Fame near the Maritime Museum; Spandau Ballet, Tina Turner, Johnny Cash, Shirley Bassey and Carlos Santana feature among the stars.
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