Rotterdam Travel Guide

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Rotterdam Travel Guide

Rotterdam Local History

The city of Rotterdam was founded in the early 12th century around a dam in the river Rotte. For many years Rotterdam remained a sleepy fishing village playing second fiddle to many other Dutch cities with better port facilities. Due to its deep harbour expansion was less costly and Rotterdam grew in importance. In the war with Spain the city established itself as a trade port that remained open while those of Amsterdam and Antwerp were blockaded this sparked massive growth.

Rotterdam wholeheartedly embraced the Industrial Revolution with extensive upgrading of the port as well as the establishment of rail links and infrastructure. The Nieuwe Waterweg ('New Waterway') was completed in 1872, which gave Rotterdam a direct, high-capacity connection to the North Sea.

During the Second World War, Rotterdam suffered more than any other Dutch city with a blitzkrieg from the Germans, followed by five years of occupation which included being bombed by the Allies. The process of rebuilding the city has been extensive the result being that Rotterdam is today considered the industrial heart of the Netherlands and is home to Europoort the world's largest port.

Rotterdam Attractions

Rotterdam Shopping

Rotterdam is an excellent city for shopping. It has many good shopping centers, including Lijnbaan and Beurstraverse. These complexes have a staggering selection of shops and department stores.

Rotterdam Activities

Blijdorp, The Rotterdam Zoo - a fairly unique zoo for two reasons. Firstly, it is one of the few that have its own research department, and secondly, it makes a real effort to present the animals in as close to their natural habitats as possible. Open daily from 9am to 5pm.

Rotterdam Parks & Gardens

Arboretum Trompenburg - Visitors to Rotterdam's Botanical Gardens could be forgiven for thinking that they had stepped into the English countryside. As with most 19th century European gardens, this one was modeled on the English landscape. The gardens offer something new as each season arrives and changes the way the plants look. Tours are available on request.

Rotterdam Restaurants and Bars

Rotterdam was a fishing village before it was the port city it is today and advantage must therefore be taken of its proximity to the sea. There are many good restaurants in Rotterdam, often with a view of the bustling waterways that surround the city.

In general, there are far more European than Dutch restaurants in the city. This is because most Hollanders prefer to go out and eat other cultures dishes.

Rotterdam Restaurants

Zee Zout - Westerkade 11b. This is definitely one of the most highly recommended seafood restaurants in the city. It is located on the corner of an elegant riverside terrace with a view of the Erasmus Bridge. The monkfish accompanied by ravioli stuffed with Portobello mushrooms and truffles is reportedly excellent. Reservations essential, closed Sun, Mon.

EDD - Niewebinnenweg 153. EDD or 'Eat, Drink, Dance' is relatively new and is already very popular. The crowd is generally quite young and the food is reasonably priced and extremely fresh. Reservations are a must; closed Mondays, no lunch on weekends.

KIP - Van Vollendamstraat 25. This is one of the few restaurants where you will find Dutch cuisine in Rotterdam. One of the most popular dishes is the Dutch chicken breast with truffles. Reservations essential, no lunches.

Rotterdam Bars & Clubs

Blauwe Vis - Weena-Zuid 33. This former pedestrian tunnel is a seafood restaurant until later on when the music gets going with soul, jazz and funk.

Club Vibes - Westersingel 50A. This place really gets pumping after 1am when music from the 70's 80's and 90's is the order of the night.

Nighttown - West Kruiskade 26-28. The place to be in Rotterdam, with three floors and one of the best live music lineups in town. If you are unable to get tickets to the performance, make sure you catch the after-event party. The music is varied and includes pop, techno, funk and hip-hop. There is an adjoining cafe where you can chill out afterwards.

Rotterdam children's activities

Blijdorp, The Rotterdam Zoo - a fairly unique zoo for two reasons. Firstly, it is one of the few that have its own research department, and secondly, it makes a real effort to present the animals in as close to their natural habitats as possible. Open daily from 9am to 5pm.

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