It is no secret that I love the Netherlands– with its adherent bike culture, progressive laws and policies, and overall genuinely kind people, I welcomed the opportunity to discover a new city: Rotterdam!
Situated only three hours via any budget bus from Lille, Rotterdam is the largest cargo port city in Europe (and the tenth largest in the world!) Even better, my former Scottish roommate is currently doing an internship with @FitGirlCode (check them out!) in Rotterdam, so I was ecstatic to be able to come see her!
Rotterdam couldn’t be more different from Amsterdam. As the city was completely destroyed during World War II, today Rotterdam is made up of countless skyscrapers and modern architectural structures. In fact, upon initially arriving in Rotterdam in the late evening, I honestly thought I had gone back to the United States; I’ve never seen such a modern-looking city on this side of the pond!
Rotterdam’s Famous Cube Houses
The best part of Rotterdam is the Market Hall (Markthal), the first covered market in the Netherlands. Completed in 2014, the Markthal was built on the Rotte River, next to where Rotterdam was first founded in 1270. The various medieval objects found during construction are on display throughout the market and its surroundings. The painted ceiling of the market hall’s interior is also one of the biggest art pieces in the world (and can be described as the Netherland’s own Sistine Chapel!) The ambiance inside the market is awesome and is a definite must-see during any trip to Rotterdam.
The 17th-century Delfshaven neighborhood is the only area of Rotterdam to survive the repeated WWII bombings, and is the place to go if you want to see what the original Rotterdam once was. It is also home to the Pilgrim Fathers Church, where the Pilgrims worshiped before sailing to America on the Mayflower.
Pilgrim’s Fathers Church
Rotterdam is a great weekend getaway, or even a day trip from Amsterdam. It addition to the unique modern architecture and fantastic bike culture, there is also great shopping, a bumping nightlife, and an abundance of culture (we managed to see an exposition about Rotterdam during World War II!)
What’s your favorite photo of Rotterdam?