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With approximately 600 thousand citizens Rotterdam is the second largest city in the Netherlands after it’s capital Amsterdam. The city is situated in the province Zuid Holland namely the Randstad region, currently ranked the 6th-largest metropolitan area in Europe with a total population of around 6.7 million people. Rotterdam is located surrounding the Nieuwe Maas river and stores one of the largest ports in Europe is well known for it’s modern city style, high rising office building and condominiums. The main city center is covered by several shopping and nightlife areas like the Koopgoot, Korte / Lange lijnbaan for shopping, and de Oude Haven, Witte de Withstraat straat and Stadhuisplein for nightlife.
The city of Rotterdam has a rich history, mainly because of the importance as a port. It’s name Rotterdam is derived from a dam in the river Rotte, in the 1260s. Rotterdam became increasingly important during the 16th century war with Spain when Antwerp and Amsterdam were inaccessible, during the 19th century the city was expending rapidly before being bombed flat by the Germans in World War II. Since late 1940 Rotterdam has been going through a complete rebuilt process. From this period on the city has become a modern center of high rising apartment and company complexes. Symbol is the Euromast Space Tower, which is 328 feet tall after several extensions. The tower has restaurant on the top so visitors mainly locals as well tourists can get a fantastic city view. Another symbol of the city is the Erasmusbrug or sometimes referred to as ‘the Swan’, opened in 1996.
Rotterdam offers a lot of modern architecture and different museums. Examples are the Maritime Museum Rotterdam, the Kunsthal with different art exhibitions, The Netherlands Photo Museum and Museum Boijmans van Beuningen with Dutch and European art. If you like animals, you can visit Blijdorp Zoo. There are also a lot of places to go shopping in Rotterdam like Zuidplein the city largest mall. In February the International Film Festival, one of the largest in Europe, is held in this city.
Sightseeing: Erasmusbrug, Euromast, Willemsbrug, Stadshuis, Nieuwe maas, Bibliotheek Blaak, Port of Rotterdam
To do: Blijdorp Zoo, Pathe Rotterdam, Tropicana, Rotterdam Festivals, Laser gamen, Atoll Rotterdam (Bowling & Biljarten), Fitnessfirst, Sportcity
Parks: Zuiderpark, Het Park, Trompenburg Tuinen & Arboretum
Shopping: Koopgoot, Lijnbaan, Zuidplein, Alexandrium, Coolsingel, Blaak
Museums: Boijmans van Beuningen, Maritiem Museum, Kubuswoning Museum, Kunsthal Rotterdam, Historisch Museum Rotterdam, Wereldmuseum Rotterdam, Natuurhistorisch museum Rotterdam
Tours: Spido, Splashtours, Port Experience, Pannekoekenboot, Watertaxi Rotterdam, De Rotterdam
Nightlife areas: Witte de Withstraat, Wilhelminakade, Oude Haven, Stadhuisplein
Nightlife establishments: Cafe de Witte Aap, Cafe Rotterdam, Holland Casino Rotterdam, Club Vie, Apres Ski Hut Rotterdam, Big Ben, The VIP Room, Hollywood
Public transport: Rotterdam Centraal Station, Rotterdam Station Blaak, Rotterdam Station Zuidplein, Rotterdam Station Beurs
The city of Rotterdam has millions of visitors each year, therefore there’s a lot of different type of hotels and hostels to stay in. The price range is from twenty somewhat euro’s to luxurious hotel rooms in the one and only Euromast sky tower of Rotterdam. Not only the room size depends the price, but also the area you are staying. For those on low budget it’s recommended to stay outside the city yet nearby a metro / subway station. The public transport within the city is very well arranged, even if you’re staying in a sub-location it’s easy and cheap to find your way home by bus, metro, tram or subway. During the weekend late night hours the BOB bus can drive you to your location, the worst case scenario would be a taxi, which if you are staying a in nearby sub-location just outside the city shouldn’t cost you more than €25,- (about $35 dollar) which would be still cheaper than renting a over priced hotel room in the center of the city.
The public transport within Rotterdam city limits are well arranged, you can make use of the bus, trams, metro/subway and trains. It’s recommended to purchase a local “OV Chipkaart” this is the most efficient and cheapest way to travel. Most of the public transport facilities start around 7 AM and are in use till 1 AM. During the weekend special “BOB” night shift buses drive at extra charge of €4,50 (about $6 dollar). Public transport can bring you anywhere within reasonable time, if you prefer to get somewhere directly make use of local Taxi’s which drive by meter. Taxi’s are more expensive, within city limits the meter shouldn’t exceed €25,- (about $35 dollar).
The city center of Rotterdam is famous for it’s shopping abilities, as most of the shopping areas are connected to each other finding one shopping street will allow you to find them all by simply keep walking and shopping. Within the main area there’s several streets to look for: Korte lijnbaan which is directly linked to the Grote lijnbaan, which is linked to the Koopgoot. Inbetween this streets are several smaller streets and or malls connected like the Bijenkorf Rotterdam, the V&D (Vroom en Dreesman) and the Plaza Rotterdam (where also the main Holland Casino is situated).
The city of Rotterdam offers a vibrant nightlife almost any day of the week, this is when you know where to look for. First of all it’s nightlife has been divided in several areas namely the Witte de Withstraat, Wilhelminakade, Oude Haven and Stadhuisplein. Some of the larger discotheques are located outside this area which will be named later on. Spread around the city outside the main areas there’s small cafe’s, bars, lounges and pubs. A couple of famous nightlife spots are the Cafe de Witte Aap, Cafe Rotterdam, Club Vie, Holland Casino Rotterdam and Off Corso.
If you are heading for a party in Rotterdam on a Sunday, Monday or Tuesday night you will most likely find active bars on Stadhuisplein (City Hall square) located opposite of City Hall or street name Coolsingel. If you are traveling by subway / Metro use the stop “Stadhuis” one stop away from Rotterdam Central Station “Centraal Station”. During the earlier nights many of the people will hang outside the bars on the terraces as the evening continues on the parties start inside the cafe’s, a few famous ones which are most likely to be busy are: Coconuts (R&B/Hiphop) or Apres Ski Hut (Dutch/English 30 seconds songs, party cafe). Both of them should be free of charge during these nights, other cafe’s (less likely to be busy are) Big Ben and The VIP Room.
Travelers to Rotterdam need a valid passport and visa. American citizens can visit without a visa for up to 90 days. You can easily travel around by foot, bicycle or public transport. The best time of the year to visit the city is in spring or summer time.