Rotterdam Travel Guide
Rotterdam, Netherlands © Michielverbeek
Unlike many historic cities in the Netherlands, which sport Renaissance buildings and ancient Gothic churches, Rotterdam is a gleaming cluster of high-rise buildings, some of which are marvels of 20th-century architecture. A city made up of spacious streets with slick shopping malls and public parks dotting the efficiently-designed city centre, Rotterdam is the perfect destination for those seeking out the modern and the less classically historic.
After many parts of the city were destroyed in World War II, much was demolished in order to rebuild. In fact, only three buildings in Rotterdam's historic centre survive: the art deco City Hall, the iconic White House, and St Lawrence Church. Another enclave of historic Rotterdam is the Delft Harbour area, luckily missed by German bombs. The result of all the construction is a space with its own unique personality when compared to the rest of the Netherlands. The city can be viewed and admired from the iconic Euromast Space Tower, a 605 foot (184m) tower with a revolving sit-down elevator; a favourite among visitors.
Rotterdam hasn't forgotten its history, despite its modern look and feel, and there are a number of museums where you can catch glimpses of its illustrious past. Some of these include those dedicated to natural history, maritime history, photography, art, architecture, World War II, and the Netherlands' rail system. Rotterdam is also a multicultural city, with larger immigrant populations than most of the Netherlands, and this is evident in the diversity of restaurants and neighbourhoods within the city.
The Netherlands is famous for its windmills; however, there are increasingly few of the traditional structures remaining in the country today. One prominent cluster does remain in the small town of Kinderdijk, roughly nine miles (15km) from Rotterdam. The 19 Kinderdijk Windmills are fully-functioning, and serve to drain excess water from the Alblasserwaard polders. They are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the most popular tourist attractions in the region.