Rotterdam bursts with energy. Vibrant nightlife, a diverse, multiethnic community, an intensely interesting maritime tradition and a wealth of top-class museums all make it a must-see part of any visit to Holland, especially if you are passing by on a high-speed train on your way to Amsterdam or the south.
The Netherlands' 'second city', Rotterdam was bombed flat during WWII and spent the following decades rebuilding. You won't find much classic Dutch medieval centre here – it was swept away along with the other rubble and detritus of war. In its place is an architectural aesthetic that's unique in Europe, a progressive perpetual-motion approach to architecture that's clearly a result of the city's postwar, postmodern 'anything goes' philosophy. (A fine example of this is the Paul McCarthy statue titled 'Santa with Butt Plug', that the city placed in the main shopping district.)
Best places to stay in Rotterdam
The Netherlands - Rotterdam & South Holland (Chapter)
Think Holland and you're thinking of the region southwest of Amsterdam where tulips, cheese, Vermeer, tulips and plucky Dutch people standing up to the sea avoid cliché simply by their omnipresence. Further south, Zeeland (Sea Land) is the...
The 10 greatest comeback cities
Toss aside your preconceptions, and come with us on a tour of the greatest comeback cities in the world, with this excerpt from Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2011. Once deep down in the urban dumps, these cities have bounced back from the brink of becoming no-go destinations, turning tumultuous pasts into tourist drawcards...
Rotterdam destination guides
Tips for fans of the Tour de France
In July the wheels of the cycling world spin to Europe, and to France. The Tour de France, known to locals simply as 'Le Tour', pedals off on July 3 for three weeks of thunderous sprints, thigh-shredding ascents and a higher density of blisters in uncomfortable places than anywhere else in the world...
Holland in One Day Sightseeing Tour
Experience the best of the Netherlands on this grand sightseeing tour from Amsterdam. Visit Rotterdam, view Delft pottery, venture to The Hague and marvel at the miniature city of Madurodam on this whirlwind Holland day trip. Your knowledgeable local guide will share anecdotes and history about the attractions you visit and point out other landmarks along the way.
Private Tour: Rotterdam Walking Tour Including Harbor Cruise
A multi-faceted city with layers of history, Rotterdam is one of the most intriguing cities in the Netherlands. This customizable private walking tour reveals Rotterdam’s true character, from its reconstruction after World War II to its busy cargo port, the largest in the world.