Rotterdam is the home to Europe’s largest port and the second largest city in the Netherlands. It was a change of pace and scenery for us, as Rotterdam is more modern and doesn’t have the same feel as for example Amsterdam, which is large but still has many of its older buildings, making it seem quaint. The reason for that though is because it was heavily bombed in WWII and had to be rebuilt.
We decided to do a little walking tour that was recommended in our Lonely Planet guide. We started at the Haven Museum and Maritime Museum.
We passed the Witte Huis (White House). It was built in 1897 and is a survivor of the war and a show of the wealth of Rotterdam at the time from its trade.
We crossed over the river on the Willemsbrug.
On the other side was Noordereiland, which is a residential island. Based on the description of the tour guide, we walked the perimeter of the island but it wasn’t really worth while! The buildings in the foreground of the picture above is the neighborhood of Noordereiland.
After leaving the island, we explored some former dock areas with mostly modern architecture. The unique shape of the Erasmus Bridge was a constant landmark.
Finally, we stopped at the former main building of the Holland America Line, which is nowadays a hotel (Hotel New York). We had a break in the café, which used to be the waiting area for passengers leaving for the US.
Instead of walking across the Erasmus Bridge, we took a water taxi to Veerhaven, a small, picturesque port on the other side of the river.
We got caught in a heavy downpour shortly after disembarking, which was also the end of our walking tour. After unsuccessfully trying to stay dry under a tree, we quickly ran to building’s overhang to wait it out.
One area that survived WWII in Rotterdam is Delfshaven. The name is from the fact that it served as the seaport for the city of Delft. In 1620 a group of Pilgrims set sail for America on the leaky Speedwell ship. Unfortunately, after a couple attempts they ended up sailing only to Southampton. Repairs to their ship were unsuccessful, so they ended up joining the group of Pilgrims that sailed on the Mayflower!
Rotterdam was one of the last major cities in the Netherlands that we explored but it is definitely an interesting city with its contrasts. However, you need to search for its beauty!