Nestled amongst the quaint villages of the Netherlands, Rotterdam is a breath of fresh, modern air. Six hundred years after it was founded, the city was almost completely levelled by World War II bombers. Innovation was chosen over restoration when rebuilding Rotterdam. Instead of cobblestone streets, canals and traditional Dutch medieval townhouses, you’ll find striking modern architecture, including skyscrapers, world-class museums and outdoor cafés. Futuristic Rotterdam seems worlds away from Amsterdam (even though it’s only one hour’s train ride away).
If you’re looking for the traditional side of Rotterdam, you can find plenty of wooden shoes (clogs) or wheels of Gouda cheese as souvenirs. Typical Netherlands food and brews are also served in the sun at many street cafés and restaurants. Head to the Delft Harbour and the Old Harbour where you’ll find a few old buildings still standing, or head out of the city to see some iconic windmills.
Rotterdam is a vibrant, wealthy city thanks to its location: it sits on the New Meuse, a canal that leads to a deep-water harbour on the North Sea. As one of the busiest ports in Europe, Rotterdam is responsible for much of the trade and wealth in the Netherlands.
Most cruise ships use the cruise terminal at Wilhelminakade 699 on the New Meuse, directly across from the centre of Rotterdam (a 20-minute walk from the city centre). If the port is busy, boats may need to dock further down the Meuse at Boompjes.
The main cruise terminal has few services beyond souvenir stalls; however, the city centre is a short walk away.
Facilities near the port in Rotterdam include:
- Public toilets
- Restaurants and cafés.
How To Get Around
The sights of Rotterdam can be easily explored on foot or via public transport, with most attractions a short walk from each other. Rotterdam has an efficient public transport network comprising buses, subway (metro) trains, trams and water taxis. OV chip cards allow travel on all forms of public transport and can be bought from ticket machines, in metro stations and at post offices or information kiosks. Rotterdam is a very bike-friendly city, with bikes for hire at the central train station and various businesses throughout the city. Taxis are also readily available.
Travel times from the port at Wilhelminakade 699 in Rotterdam:
- It is a 17 minute journey to Wereldmuseum
- It is a 31 minute journey to Euromast and Space Adventure.
- It is a 6 minute journey to Wereldmuseum
- It is a 7 minute journey to Euromast and Space Adventure
- It is a 26 minute journey to Kinderdijk.
- It is a 16 minute journey to Wereldmuseum
- It is a 21 minute journey to Euromast and Space Adventure
- It is a 62 minute journey to Kinderdijk.
Currency – The currency in Rotterdam is the Euro (€). Notes come in €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500 denominations. Coins come in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent and €1 and €2 denominations.
Time Zone – Rotterdam, like the rest of the Netherlands, follows Central European Time (CET), which is one hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). From March to October this changes to two hours ahead for daylight savings.
Weather – Rotterdam enjoys a temperate climate with warm summers and cool winters. July is the hottest month in Rotterdam, with temperatures averaging at 17 degrees Celsius. January is the coldest month, with an average temperature of 3 degrees Celsius.
Wereldmuseum – The Wereldmuseum (or World Art Museum) houses striking collections of artefacts from many different cultures and periods of human history. Tribal artwork is a particular highlight with Indigenous Australian paintings, Indonesian Batiks and African carvings on display. The Museum has an excellent restaurant serving organic, Mediterranean cuisine with views over the ferry harbour. The Museum shop sells artefacts and a range of jewellery and clothing. Guided tours are available in several languages, including English.
Kinderdijk – For a truly traditional experience, head just out of Rotterdam to see the windmills at Kinderdijk. At this UNESCO World Heritage site, you can walk amongst 19 working windmills from the 1700s. The Old Pumping Station has a small exhibit with a movie covering the history of Kinderdijk.
Euromast and Space Adventure – The Euromast is a 188-metre high futuristic tower offering excellent views over Rotterdam from its Euroscoop platform. A high-speed elevator transports tourists to the viewing platform at 14 kilometres per hour. The tower also houses a restaurant, luxury accommodation, various exhibitions and a simulated space experience. Thrill seekers can abseil from the tower to the ground or try the rope slide, where you’ll travel at 100 kilometres per hour straight down.