Top 8 Things For Families To Do In Rotterdam, Netherlands

When I used to think of Rotterdam, I always associated it with a very modern American city along with the favorite football club of my son and Nils. But it was not until now doing my tourism research for our visit to the see family in the Netherlands which I see the city has a lot more to offer than Feyenoord games or the fan shop ;).  For example,  I knew they had a tram system but no idea an underground Metro.

Part of my attraction to Amsterdam and the Netherlands in general, is the style of most of houses / buildings. This is probably why I ignored Rotterdam for so long. It is also surprisingly a very family-friendly city with loads to do for children. I have complied a “top 8 things for families to do in Rotterdam” list.  But we need more than one day to get through the list.   

Note: I originally made this blogpost a few years ago when we were visiting the Netherlands and living in Ireland, but I just went back in and updated it with photos and republished. I figured now we’re living here in the Netherlands for two years and recently visited Rotterdam with [and often without] the kids, why not!

Tip: As with many other local attractions, when booking online, you can combine visits and save a few Euros!

#1 VISIT THE MARITIME MUSEUM

We absolutely LOVED this museum. Even if you are not a “water person”, I really think you’ll still find it interesting. I did a separate post on it which can be found here.   I went back a second alone with Funs and had a nice time – and a bonus, I wasn’t seasick on the platform.  We even went back a third time with the kids —  the four of us spent time on the platform doing the activities like landing the helicopter, repairing a leak in an oil pipe, etc.  This section of the museum is brilliant and a must do while there. 

As the museum closes early at 5, I took Maebh upstairs to Profession Plons, so she could have about 20 minutes of play up there as she enjoyed it when we were there the first time.  But now at 10, she is really way too old.  It is great for kids 3-8. 

#2 – TAKE A HARBOUR CRUISE 

There are a few options available for you to visit and sightsee by water including hop on and off boats and of course water taxis and aqua shuttle. 

First is Spido tours. Among the busy traffic of sea-going and inland ships, this trip is a special journey through one of the largest harbours in the world. You can see Rotterdam’s impressive skyline with its imposing buildings glide by, and then get a unique view of the harbours shipyards, docks and the hypermodern trans shipping of thousands of containers. Last but not least the tour will end with a view of the steamship ‘Rotterdam’, the former cruise flagship of shipping company Holland America Line. An exciting 75 minutes with clear descriptions of everything you see.

Second is Splashtours which is similar to the Ducktours in Boston but instead of a WW2 style vehicle it’s an amphibious​ bus!  You have the option of first taking a tour where you drive through the city before ‘splashing’ into the river Maas.

But unlike the funny Boston drivers who give live commentary, here your tour was TV footage and audio.

#3 – PANNENKOEKENBOAT

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If the idea of eating UNLIMITED Dutch pancakes with a variety of toppings while seeing Rotterdam by boat seems like your type of fun, you won’t want to miss this place.  They offers variety of sailings from 75-minute to 2.5 hours!   They even have a ball pit area to keep the younger kids entertained. While I’d find this a bit boring personally, I’d go along for the kids as I know they’d love it.   Book online here

#4 – PLASJWIJCK PARK

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This place is so unique and a place the kids loved to visit and were never bored!  It’s called an amusement park but it’s more of an indoor and outdoor play space with a petting zoo and water playground. The parks website is only in Dutch but this review is in English and is very thorough and shows how fun this place can be for kids. While we visited, I never got around to do a post on it.  We’ll have to re-visit.

#5 – BLIJDOORP ZOO – AKA – ROTTERDAM ZOO

Also known as Diergaard Blijdorp, it is recognized as one of the most beautiful zoos in Europe, it is home to giraffes, tigers, seals, gorillas, polar bears all having their own unique habits.  Other highlights include the award-winning butterfly garden area, Amazonica and an aquarium area Oceanium.  We ended up visiting this zoo without the children but will take them next time.  Visit my post – A Day at the Blijdoorp Zoo. 

#6 – EUROMAST

The Euromast is Rotterdam’s iconic observation tower. It was built in 1960 to mark the occasion Floriade, an international flower and garden exhibition. Its height at 101 meters was the tallest building back in the days. Unfortunately, Euromast quickly lost its title due to the ever changing Rotterdam’s skyline. In 1970, Euromast retaliated with additional 85 meters by adding a rotating elevator – ‘Space Tower’.

I just did a blogpost about our recent visit to the Euromast – read it here:  The Euromast – Experience the most stunning views of Rotterdam

#7 – SS ROTTERDAM CRUISE SHIP 

This former Trans-Atlantic liner has been transformed into a restaurant/bar and 254 room hotel. The ss Rotterdam is the largest passenger ship ever built in The Netherlands: 228 meters long, 28 meters wide and 61 meters in height. It was inaugurated by Dutch Queen Juliana in 1958. Until 1971 it ran scheduled services to New York City, but turned more towards cruises when air traffic became more popular. You can read more about the history and things onboard on their site.   We went here for a drink and I posted about it in my blog post – A Day Out in Rotterdam.  We ended up going back this time taking the kids on – but of course, it was drizzly that day too so no chance for a dip in the pool or a drink on the Lido Deck.  Read about my blog post here:  ss Rotterdam: Legendary steamship with a nostalgic atmosphere. 

#8 – VISIT A MUSEUM

There are several other museums to visit where the children will be entertained and at the same time learn something new. 

Natuurhistorisch Museum   Rotterdam features skeletons, stuffed animals, fossils, butterflies.

Museum Rotterdam ’40 – ’45  features all things pertaining to the War and the resistance. It’s a reminder of how people lived and what they did during the war. It is a treasure trove of information and stuff like cigar boxes, Jewish stars, etc 

Kunsthal  There is always something for families and children to do in the Kunsthal. Children between 6 and 12 years old can go on their own Look & Do tour of the main exhibition of that moment, while for teenagers between 12 and 18 years there are Viewer Guides. Get inspired by the exhibition ‘Masterly! Four centuries of drawing and painting’. Dive into the DrawingLAB and create your own work of art!

While I know there are so many MORE things to do in Rotterdam, these are some  of things to do with the kids.  When we do more things, I’ll add more details and photos.  Have any tips of fun things I can do with the kids?  

Check out my other blog posts relating to this fabulous city Rotterdam:

A Day Out In Rotterdam
Maeslantkering: Visiting the Storm Surge Barrier
A Day at the Blijdorp Zoo
Cafe Dukok – Best Apple Pie in Rotterdam
Day & Day Hot & Hot – Hot Pot Restaurant Review
ss Rotterdam: Legendary steamship with a nostalgic atmosphere. 

 

The Euromast – Experience the most stunning views of Rotterdam

During the summer holidays, we took the kids to Rotterdam for a fun day out. They had already been to the Maritime Museum one time before we relocated to the Netherlands. Since we moved here, Soren has had season tickets to Feyernoord his favorite Dutch football team, so he’s been to the city many times, just never has he been a “tourist” in the city and visited the top of the Euromast until now.

The Euromast is Rotterdam’s iconic observation tower. It was built in 1960 to mark the occasion Floriade, an international flower and garden exhibition. Its height at 101 meters was the tallest building back in the days. Unfortunately, Euromast quickly lost its title due to the ever changing Rotterdam’s skyline. In 1970, Euromast retaliated with additional 85 meters by adding a rotating elevator – ‘Space Tower’.

We so cooly arrived by water taxi from the SS Rotterdam – which to the kids was extra fun way to travel. I was a bit nervous at first as I’ve seen how fast those dudes fly across the harbour, but it wasn’t so bad despite it being indeed really very quick! Before you knew it we were putting into the dock to get off at the giant temple like building – which turned out to be an Amazing Oriental – my favorite Asian grocery store here in the Netherlands. Didn’t stop in but good to know where this one is located as I’ll need to stock up on Korean pancake mix soon.

Having booked out tickets already online, it was very simple to walk in, scan your tickets and so right up. You are first instructed to take the first set of elevators up to the viewing deck where you can walk around casually and take in the sites… The views are amazing!!

After you feel you are windblown and had enough of the amazing views, you can choose to continue up to the Euroscoop or head back down…. we chose to wait and go up!

EUROSCOOP

When you are at the top of the viewing platform, you can take an additional lift up to the top and take a 360 degree “ride” called Euroscoop which gives you spectacular views and a narration of the city in Dutch and English). At this point you are 185 meters up! Due to COVID, they require the 1.5 meter spacing so less than the normal 25 people could go up – so expect a bit of a wait. The ride is about 8 minutes in total…. as with most touristy things – book early or later in the day to avoid the biggest lines.

ABSEILING – DO YOU DARE?

DINING OPTIONS

We didn’t have anything to eat or drink but there are dining options including breakfast, high tea, lunch, dinner and even a deli.  You can find them all on their website under restaurants. 

KIDS CLUB 

Every Sunday, and in the school holidays on Wednesdays & Saturdays, the Kids Club organizes various kinds of FREE activities in the Deli restaurant on the ground floor.   Some things include make your own superhero cape, typical Dutch games or build your own Euromast!

There is a gift shop on the way out but we didn’t buy anything – didn’t like any of the magnets.  But we did, however, on the way down, see one of those coin machines which turns pennies into flat souvenirs.  While we normally do those, this time we saw one that gives you a paper “euro” so the kids did that instead.  So now they both have a €0 Euro from the Euromast. 

SLEEP AMONG THE STARS 

For €395. per night, you can stay in one of two exclusive suites: ‘Heaven’ or ‘Stars’. These are located above the brasserie, next to the viewing platforms at a hundred meters above the ground.  Heaven faces the South, putting the world port of Rotterdam at your feet.  The somewhat smaller Stars, faces the North and welcomes you with a view of the Rotterdam skyline.  The price includes an elaborate breakfast (consumed in the suite or in the brasserie) and a bottle of champagne.   I assume brides stay here most often as you can even get married here. 

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Tickets are €10.25 for adults, €1 discount for adults 65+ and kids 4-11 are €6.75. If you live in the Netherlands, sometimes you can find discounted ticket deals on SocialDeals.com, Groupon or similar sites. You can also buy a combination ticket with a Spido harbour cruise on their site if you are interested. You can only pay by PIN so plan accordingly.

Depending on how you are arriving, go to their site for directions, but I highly recommend the water taxi.  Afterwards, we took the Tram over to the Maritime Museum.  Either way, I don’t think you’ll have a problem finding this world-famous structure!

 

Have you ever been to the Euromast?   Am I missing anything interesting? 

If you are like me and not a huge fan of heights, I was actually fine.  Even my 10 year old, who was afraid of going up, did fine and enjoyed the visit!  I highly recommend visiting the Euromast if you are visiting Rotterdam. 

Check out my blog posts relating to this fabulous city:

Top 8 Things For Families To Do in Rotterdam
A Day Out In Rotterdam
Maeslantkering: Visiting the Storm Surge Barrier
A Day at the Blijdorp Zoo
Cafe Dukok – Best Apple Pie in Rotterdam
Day & Day Hot & Hot – Hot Pot Restaurant Review

 

A Day At Blijdorp Zoo Rotterdam, Netherlands

On Sunday, I spent the entire afternoon at one of the oldest zoos in the Netherlands, Blijdorp Zoo aka Rotterdam Zoo. We arrived at 11:30 and left at 4:00. We walked and walked and saw as much as we could. With COVID, some things were sectioned off, like various indoor buildings, all scheduled feedings, the bird flight demonstration and presentations were cancelled to avoided groups from gathering (although that happened a bit naturally at times). We did see a guy with a bucket of veg walking near the prarie dogs [which are not actually dogs but burrowing rodents native to the grasslands of North America] – so lucky for us we did see a mini feed :). Look at this cute guy!

The zoo is really HUGE! I’d like to go back with the kids as I know they’d really enjoy it.

I took a lot of photos of the animals with my iPhone – so the quality of the phots are not superb but good enough. I will not post about every item we saw at the zoo, you can see all that is offered yourself by looking at the zoo’s website, rather I’ll post some of the highlights which I found great. The zoo map takes you on a journey of discovery through different countries in the world, where you can meet the animals which live there.

AMAZONICA

You walk into the rainforest-like environment and suddenly there are butterflies everywhere. This is Europe’s largest butterfly paradise with tropical temperatures and hundreds of beautiful South American butterflies flying around landing on the native plants and flowers. There are plenty of opportunities to get really close to them too. My favorite of all were the giant blue ones which were very hard to capture on my phone. Other residents of the South American section is an anaconda and piranhas. Oh and these giant leaves – I can imagine how beautiful the flower in the middle will be when in bloom.

BOKITO THE GORILLA

The most (in)famous inhabitant of the Blijdorp Zoo is Bokito, the giant silverback gorilla. In 2007, he managed to jump over the canal and broke out of his pen to grab a female admirer who visited him daily. We did see a giant silverback stand up and beat his chest (as you can see in my photo) but I’m not sure if it was Bokito, but I assume it is.

The word “bokitoproof“, meaning “durable enough to resist the actions of an enraged gorilla” and by extension “durable enough to resist the actions of a non-specific extreme situation” was voted the Word of the Year for 2007 in the Netherlands.[11][12]

POLAR BEAR

We saw one lazy, sleeping polar bear out in the heat. I so wished he got up and went for a swim – no such luck. This area is a great example of one that was completely closed off due to COVID. There was a seating area and stage for a discussion “meet our polar bear keeper”.

ELEPHANT ENCLOSURE

It is very hard to resist smiling when you see elephants playing in water, especially the young ones – pushing each other around and just asking like kids. We even saw the mom or dad (couldn’t tell) throwing sand up on its wet body. I made a few videos – hope they make you smile too.

GIRAFFES

Technically there is not really that much to see with the giraffes besides animals eating. We didn’t see any baby giraffes but that doesn’t mean they were not inside. They are such beautiful creatures and from the bridge, you get quite close to them.

OUTDOOR PLAYGROUND

OCEANIUM

 

I couldn’t help think of nearly 100 year old, Myrtle the Turtle from the New England Aquarium in Boston. Last time we visited the aquarium, it was 2014 when we went back to the states for the kids to be in our friend’s wedding and got to spend some time in Boston with one of my best friends and her kids. I just look back at my blog post for that day – they were so little!!

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Details about opening times, booking, restrictions (you can only pay with pin in the entire zoo) and prices can all be found on their website.  You can even download the map in advance to plan out your route if you are that type of person. With COVID, things are a bit different so you have to book online a time slot and ticket, etc.      We rented OV-fiets from Rotterdam Central Station and it was an easy 9 minute bike ride, but from what I could see there was plenty of parking spots (for a fee) in the car park.  Information about parking and things like buggy rentals, etc.  can all be found online. 

While I didn’t do it, they also offer a free app that you can download for both iOS and Android devices. This app will show you the map of the zoo and possible trails. It also contains more detailed descriptions of the zoo’s residents. I think it’s a good invention to allow their guests a better experience in the zoological garden.  In fact, you could do this in advance of your trip. 

SUMMARY: THIS ZOO IS A MUST VISIT!

I highly recommend a day out at Blijdorp Zoo if you are on holiday in the Netherlands or like me living here and whether you have kids or not.  You’ll want to spend a full day here so arrive at opening time and then plan to spend a full day seeing all the animals and playing in the playgrounds (if you bring kids).  Of course, wear comfortable shoes as you will be walking A LOT!   You can buy lunch at the many food places, but we brought some salads from AH and ate them on a bench near the pond.   Either way, I’m certain it’s impossible to not have a great day at this zoo.     If we lived closer, I’d get a membership. When we lived in North Norfolk, we had a membership to the Amazona Zoo in Cromer – while small, we loved to visit.   I would take my good camera and take photos of the kids and the animals – especially during the daily feedings. 

Have you been to the Rotterdam Zoo?    Any tips for my return visit with the kids apart from brining my good camera?  Send me a private message or comment below.   

Visiting Rotterdam, check out my blog posts Maeslantkering: Visiting the Storm Surge Barrier   A Day Out In Rotterdam    The Euromast – Experience the most stunning views of Rotterdam  Top 8 Things For Families To Do In Rotterdam

 

A Day Out in Rotterdam, Netherlands

Rotterdam has been a major city for hundreds of years and is Europes largest seaport.  Since the 1300’s the port of Rotterdam has developed and served as a major port of the Dutch East India Company.  If you want  a more in-depth experience of the port, you can explore it by bicycle, or even take a guided tour with an expert who knows all the ins and outs of Rotterdam’s port.  I’m sure Soren would LOVE to do this.  I had already marked World Port Day in early September on my calendar, but unfortunately, it has been cancelled due to Covid-19. 

During WWII, Rotterdam saw extensive bombing and its centre was almost completely destroyed. But after the war, rather than rebuild quaint (as most Dutch towns did), Rotterdammers embraced the chance to go in another direction which was: boldly modern. You’ll see wildly creative and futuristic train stations, libraries with giant yellow steel tubing outside, market halls, skyscraper office towers, stunning bridges, subway stations, and apartment complexes that push the envelope toward science fiction. While there are certainly charming areas and lovely homes there, it doesn’t have the romantic, cookie cutter charm that many Dutch cities have – and that is what I like about it.  Instead, it’s a bit insane, innovative, has an atmosphere like New York City – raw, busy, dirty, very multi-cultural, full of amazing street art, but somehow the chaos seems more organized in Rotterdam. Oh yeah, it is cheaper than NYC and nothing like our little s-Hertogenbosch.  Maybe another American thinks it is similar to another large metro city, but it is nicknamed “New York on the Maas“. Would be curious to hear.

Rotterdam also has a wonderful variety of festivals, museums, restaurants [of every culture- which I LOVE] and so many activities to enjoy. Locals say that while the money is spent in Amsterdam, it’s made in Rotterdam and they boast that shirts in Rotterdam are sold with the sleeves already rolled up.

We decided to do a bit of sightseeing and follow the Introduction to Rotterdam walking tour which is one of the 16 Walking Tours of Rotterdam found on GPSmycity

VEERHAVEN

As it was Covid-19 time and all terraces were still closed, you won’t believe it, but we stopped in Albert Heijn for lunch. I had one of their salads (ha ha) and ate on a bench near a picturesque marina of Veerhaven. You can read here about the history of the marina and of the various vessels who call it home.

While we didn’t go over the Erasmus Bridge this time, I couldn’t resist talking a few photos of this impressive, world-famous bridge from the ‘Ze Hielden Koers’ park.

Designed by Ben van Berkel in 1996, this suspension bridge, which is an icon of Rotterdam, is nicknamed the Swan due to its large upright mast that resembles the neck of a swan.  It is 800 meters long and links the northern and southern parts of Rotterdam over the Maas.

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ST. LAURENSKERK

The Laurenskerk or Church of St. Lawrence was built between 1449 and 1525 and it is Rotterdam’s only surviving late Gothic building. After the bombing of Rotterdam in the Second World War, the image of the heavily damaged church and the reconstruction works that followed became a symbol of all that the city and its people had endured. 

Photo credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grote_of_Sint-Laurenskerk

Today, the medieval Laurenskerk stands amid the present modern city architecture. The church still celebrates mass and also hosts tours, concerts, exhibitions, lectures and receptions.

SANTA CLAUS SCULPTURE – AKA- BUTTPLUG GNOME

So you may or may not have heard about a statue in Rotterdam which went very wrong… Well the story is that the City of Rotterdam commissioned a festive sculpture in 2001 which did not fare well with its residents/business owners. A huge bronze statue by an avant-garde American artist, Paul McCarthy, intended to show Santa holding a Christmas tree and a bell. The statue was deemed too controversial! Santa Claus became widely known as ‘Kabouter Buttplug’ – the buttplug gnome – and it’s fair to say not everyone found it funny and it was moved around a few times until it found a permanent home opposite an amazing shop, Swan.

When we arrived in the square and I was amazed by the size. I thought it was going to be much smaller. My intention was to take a photo of it, but two women were sitting on the edge [umm why would you do that I thought to myself). Of all places to sit?] Then suddenly some dude, goes and sits down right on the front of it and lights up a cigarette). How freaking bizarre of all three of them ha ha – but by the looks of him, he wasn’t all there. Anyway, while I didn’t take a photo but my friend Carrie, did take photo during a trip to Rotterdam recently (look even people sitting on him in her photo) and allowed me to post her photo here. So all credit for this photo is given to Carrie – thanks!!

MARKTHAL

Another stunning piece of architecture is the Markthal which was constructed in 2009 and serves as both an office building, apartments and a marketplace. The design of the structure is quite unique with a large semi-circular grey façade and a large windowed section facing out to the surrounding courtyard. Inside is some amazing artwork by Arno Coenen and shows various colourful fruits, plants, insects and flowers. My photos just do not do it justice – a real must see. You can follow them on Insta and see many more photos.

There is an AH which was open, along with an Asian Market (which I popped in to see if they Korean pancake mix which has been sold out in Amazing Oriental here in Den Bosch. They didn’t have any mix here but we were successful later in the day at another AO location and ended up making one for dinner that night! But most of the other shops, stalls, and restaurants were closed at the time due to Covid-19. It is a cool and vibrant place to explore and sample some fine food and drink and worth a stop when in Rotterdam. It’s not the same as the Foodhallen which I’m very excited to try hopefully this coming weekend!! Also I wouldn’t mind checking out Fenix Food Factory but I was told it was closed for renovations and didn’t offer as much choice.

HET PARK

As we walked back away from the Maas, we walked through Het Park which was a lovely English landscape–style park and home to Parkheuvel – the first restaurant in the Netherlands to be awarded three Michelin stars! It was here, for the first time, I saw giant circles painted on the grass. The purpose is to mark where guests could sit ensuring proper distance and still enjoy the park during Covid-19 crisis. I have yet to see these circles here in Den Bosch. As we walked through the park you had great views of the Euromast and some people abseiling from it. In fact, it is the ONLY abseiling attraction of Europe!

EUROMAST

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The Euromast Tower is an observation station that was created in 1960 to provide panoramic views of the Rotterdam Cityscape. The towers stands at 606 ft and with its antenna it is the tallest building in Rotterdam. The tower features a restaurant, a conference room for business meetings, a hotel suite, and of course the observation deck.  A 360 degree elevator takes you up – and this must be booked online – available every 15 minutes.

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This is the perfect way to see the sprawling expanse of Rotterdam and its ports.   If you are looking for a little adrenaline action you can even zip-line or abseil from the tower! NOTHING for me but I would consider going up to the observation deck for a few photos and maybe a drink.

OUDE HAVEN

The Old Harbor is the oldest harbour in Rotterdam, built in the 14th century. The view of the historic fleet gives the Old Harbour in Rotterdam a unique atmosphere. There is a small shipyard, where historic ships are renovated. But what makes the Old Harbour really special is the mix of historic homes and modern design, and terraces along the edge. Just opposite is the famous White House – Rotterdams 1st skyscraper!

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A couple weeks later, we came back and had a couple beers on a Friday evening at two terraces – APARRT & Stockholm.   The backdrop of impressive historic ships makes the Oude Haven (Old Port, part of the Maritime District) a popular place for locals to meet, eat, drink and dance.

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WITTE HUIS (WHITE HOUSE)

One of the important things you’ll see in the Oude Haven is the historical White House, Europe’s first skyscraper. Today the building is listed as a Rijksmonument. This building is 43 meters (140 feet) tall and was built in 1898 and it has been the tallest office building in Europe for many years. The White House in Rotterdam was inspired by Manhattan’s skyscrapers after a trip to New York by one of the developers and it was built in Art Nouveau style. Visitors were able to use an elevator to the viewing platform at the top floor of the building, which was a novelty during those days. We didn’t go in, but of course, I took photos.

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WITTE DE WITHSTRAAT

So far we’ve visited this street twice for beers and both times I’e had a great time.  The clientele on the street is very diverse.  There is a mixed audience: young and old, artists, businessmen and everything in between and it’s perfect for both a beer or for a coffee on the terrace if you don’t drink.   It has a bit of the vibe of Landown street only cars cannot drive down it so it’s better and safe for pedestrians and being in Europe there are  terraces.    With Corona time it more spaced out, but before that you can see from past photos it gets packed in good weather.  

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photo credit: https://bigseventravel.com/2019/07/7-of-the-best-bars-rotterdam/

Once as it was raining we say indoor at De Witte Ape.   The second was outside on the terrace at Bierboutique

There are TONS of bars with great beer in Rotterdam.   I’ve got a list of places I want to check out – not all are on this street of course – including:

Sijf
Bierlokaal Locus Publicus
Belgisch Biercafé Boudewijn
Bokaal

CUBE HOUSES

Finally, I was able to see the famous Cube Houses up close and personal. I have seen them one time before quickly driving by in our car but this time was great. Well, we didn’t go inside the Kijkkubus (show cube house) as it was closed (Covid-19), but we walked up the steps, into the courtyard were I was able to take some photos and admire their uniqueness.

These cube houses are so unique and are what I think one of the most photographic buildings by tourist in Rotterdam because of their striking design. These Cube Houses were designed by Dutch architect Piet Blom, who tilted a traditional, cube-shaped house 45 degrees and lifted it on a hexagon-shaped pylon. Each of the houses represent a tree and all together they represent a forest. The 38 Cube Houses are all connected together with two supersized cubes at both ends of the string. The houses have three floors with a living space of around 100 square meters. Some residents use the small third floor as their garden. A fun fact is that the cubes do not have any straight walls inside, so this may give a few homeowners a headache when they need to buy their furniture. There is even a Stay Okay Hostel in the Cube Houses – which if you click on the link you can see photos of the rooms. I think for a big city, in such a unique hotel/room, the prices are quite affordable. I’ll be sure to update this post once I visit the Kijkubus.

CENTRAAL STATION

 Definitely one of the most iconic buildings in Rotterdam!!

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Hofplein FountainHofplein fountain is often lit up in various colours. If you’re in the city during an important football match, expect to see crazy fans dancing in the fountain.  I often take a photo of this from the tram or when going by on bike and send it to my 12 year old Feyenoord fan son. StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_11DelfshavenWith my rented OV Fiets, we set off to visit Delfshaven.rented ov fiets Delfshaven (which means harbour of Delft) started as a colony of the city of Delft in 1389 when Delft was connected to the river Maas.  It became an indepent city in 1795 and is now a district of Rotterdam. 

In historic Delfshaven, people used to earn a living with herring fishing and distilling gin. Now you’ll find cozy antique shops, artists’ studios, gin cafés, beer brewers and eateries in the historic canal houses.  It’s a really cute place – just outside the hustle and bustle of downtown Rotterdam.    Here you can step back into late-Medieval Rotterdam, because it is one of the few areas of the city that was spared during the Second World War bombings.There is a very old Windmill – which I took a photo in front of.  Funny my friends all commented on me – not the windmill.  Anyway, about the windmill. I can’t find too much about it other than it is a reconstructed 18th-century windmill overlooking the water at Delfshaven. It still mills grain; the interior is closed to the public.  I found a shop – De Molenwinkel van Delfshaven– which had I know, I’d have bought something.StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1363In 1577 Piet Hein, a famous Dutch naval officer & folk hero, was born here.  Hein captured the Spanish treasure fleet loaded with silver during the Eighty Years’ War between Spain and Holland. You can see a statue of Hein and a replica of his birth house – which I rode by on my bike but forget to take a photo.  More of a justification why I just ordered that Hendy phone case on a cord – taking my phone in and out of my pocket is problematic for all the photos I’d like to take 🙂 

Pilgrim Fathers Church

StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1259Another historic site in Delfshaven is the Old Church, better known as the Pilgrim Fathers Church. The Pilgrim Fathers did their last service in this church in 1620 before leaving the Netherlands with the Speedwell on their way to America. After a stop in Southampton where most of them changed to the Mayflower ship, they established the second successful English colony in America. Nowadays this colony is known as Plymouth, Massachusetts. There are still services in the church but you can visit the church between services as well.   I’ll have to ask my mom a bit more about this and if we had ancestors here or only in the UK who arrived via the Mayflower.   I might be totally wrong but there are some ancestors there somewhere, I think from Leiden and the UK.  Stadsbrouwerij De PelgrimStarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1415Directly next to the church is the brewery called Stadsbrouwerij De Pelgrim, but the few spots outside were taken so we had a beer at a nearby bar on a corner of a bridge.  Cute location but I’m certain the brewery beer would have tasted better than a bottled Wiekse Witte :).

Of course, I just had to share this BEAUTIFUL photo of me taken using Snapchat – don’t I look gorgeous?!  I think so, so much that I had to share  🙂 StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1336

After we had a beer, we rode our bikes over the world-famous Erasmus Bridge – it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.  A stop at the top of some photos and a sip of water. StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1331StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1358StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1339We continued along to see the hotel the famous Hotel New York.StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1134Hotel New YorkStarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1139Hotel New York clings to the magic of the past.   It really stands out and something very cool about it.  Originally it was the head office of Holland America Line (owner of the SS Rotterdam).  Keep in mind that at the time it was not a cruise liner but a regular ship service between Rotterdam and New York where MANY Dutch immigrants set sail from here to seek a new life in North America.  A hundred years later, the hotel and restaurant still preserve that distinct nautical theme.  StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1110We did go inside the restaurant briefly and asked if I could take a few photos. As it was not yet dinner, there were only a few guests having drinks to the front, so it wasn’t a problem.   Most guests were outside on the terrace enjoying the view.   The place is very cool and full of history.    I’ll definitely go back and enjoy a drink (I bet they make a good bloody mary) and a eat a fresh seafood platter from the Oyster Bar.  StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1173StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1161StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1164StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1170StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1157StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1158StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_146StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_199StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1200StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1429StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1423StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1408StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1183SS RotterdamSS Rotterdam is a historical ocean liner from Holland America Line that sailed it’s first voyage from Rotterdam to New York in 1959.   On her maiden voyage she carried the then Crown Princess, Juliana of the Netherlands, to New York.  It was one of the most elegant ships built in the Netherlands post WWII.  StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1396However, with the growing popularity of air travel, it was refitted to be used as a cruise ship for many years until it was finally retired in 2000.  In 2010 was brought back to Rotterdam harbor and used as a hotel ship.   [There was a bit of a scandal with a housing authority which bought the ship – you can read about it here in English] Today guests can stay, dine, and explore with a tour.    We didn’t do the tour – but there is a short movie about how traveling on SS Rotterdam really looked like back in the day.   With COVID-19 measures, a lot was closed off, but they offer several types of tours which you book at the gift shop – all highlight the ship and all the facts and figures, visits to the steam room, and Captain’s Quarters – perfect for kids.  For the adventure lovers who can solve riddles and work together, there is even an Escape Room onboard too.   StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1194StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1202StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_184Clearly, it’s a popular place to dine among the older folks – who were coming on board for a special meal.    While there are a lot of things to do on board, I was most interested in seeing the Lido deck, checking out the view,  taking a few photos and of course enjoying a drink outside.  But the weather was not dry and when it rains, they close the deck.   The view was lovely and it would be nice to come back another time.

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StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1329Then we headed off to the Foodhallen where we didn’t have too much to eat or drink.  I’ll elaborate when I have more time.   


I took the following photos as we went around Noordereiland12StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_11863StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1223StarsStripesAndMayonnaise_Rotterdam_1220


Do you have have a tip or suggestion of a great place to see and things to do now that things are opening up after the Covid-19 crisis? Bonus if they are FREE!  There are musuems I’d like to visit, a bunch of restaurants I’d like to try….

We just visited the Rotterdam Zoo, so check out the blog post here – A Day at the Blijdorp Zoo.