Rotterdam is the Netherlands’ most modern city. While Amsterdam and other Dutch cities are marked by the medieval feel of canals, narrow streets and alleyways, Rotterdam is more modern-looking. Completely destroyed in WWII, Rotterdam rebuilt its city with high rises, skyscrapers, and tall residential and office buildings. The city also has one of the largest and busiest ports in the world – it is certainly the largest and busiest in Europe and is second only to busier Asian ports like Shanghai and Singapore.
The lure of Rotterdam is its nightlife, modern architecture, boat rides, and the shopping. Rotterdam’s nightlife is the best in the Netherlands. There are different scenes and hotspots for different people. Business and professional types enjoy hanging out at the bars, restaurants, and cafes at the Old Harbor (“Oude Haven”). This area is also great for couples, as the water, boats, and city lights create a romantic atmosphere. Creative types like artists and musicians flock to the cafes of Parket, Stalles, and Rotown. For the older more polished crowd, clubs like De Doelen play to the tune of more classical music. The younger and easy-going crowd enjoy the Eendrachtsplein area, which is the most lively bar and club area in town. Rotterdam also has some of the best discos and dance clubs in the Netherlands, many of them found around Delftsestraat and Stadhuisplein.
Rotterdam is also known for having some of the most modern architecture in Europe and one of the best skylines among European cities. The symbol of the city is the Euromast Space Tower, which is 186-meters tall. This tower has a revolving sit-down elevator with spectacular views over the city and harbor. The Erasmus bridge is also an architectural marvel – it is a 2,600-foot cable supported by a 138-meter tall pylon with a bend that makes it look like a swan. The city also has the tallest residential building in the country, the Montevideo Tower and the tallest office building, the Delftse Poort. In the residential areas, you can find distinctive cube houses called Kubuswoningen, which are unique to Rotterdam.
Shopping is also a worthwhile activity in Rotterdam. Shopping centers like the Lijnbaan, the Coolsingel, the Hoogstraat, the Weena, Beurstraverse, Alexandrium, and Zuidplein are great places to shop. The latter, Zuidplein, is located close to Ahoy’ Rotterdam, which is a center for shows, sporting events, exhibitions, and concerts.
Rotterdam is also known for its festivals, including the International Film Festival in January, the Metropolis Music Festival and the North Sea Jazz Festival in July, and the Heineken Dance Parade and the Summer Carnival, which both take place in the summer.