Knowing we were going to Amsterdam for a few days to meet up with some of Julie’s family, we wanted to take a trip to Rotterdam beforehand for one night.
This trip to Rotterdam was partially planned back in 2020. We wanted to see the city as it’s one of the few modern European cities that had been completely rebuilt after the war. Rotterdam was bombed on May 13th, 1940 by the German’s after putting up stiff resistance. After the war it was determined that the damage to the entire city centre was so much, that the historic old town would be razed to the ground. The rebuilding of Rotterdam began almost immediately and by 1950 the city had regained its reputation as the fastest loading and unloading harbor in the world. To this day Rotterdam is the busiest port in Europe.
Hotel New York
Upon lading in Amsterdam we took the train to Rotterdam arriving at Rotterdam Centraal Station in a little under an hour. From there we were able to navigate the street car system to our stay at the Hotel New York which is located in the iconic former headquarters of the Holland-America Line, dating from 1901. The Holland-America Line transported more than 400,000 immigrants from Europe to the Americas during it’s time.
This hotel was one of our reasons for wanting a quick trip to Rotterdam. It was pretty great that we were able to get an upgrade for an amazing suite even though it was just one night. This was probably the largest hotel room we’ve ever stayed in. It even had a set of binoculars to use while looking out the big windows.
The Markthal is a mixed use space that includes residential apartments, offices, food market and shops. It’s one of the more interesting buildings we’ve see so far on our trips. There are more than 200 apartments on the permitter of the building that then look into the food market on the inside. Each end of the building is a giant glass window, the largest window of its kind in Europe.
The Cube Houses are a set of homes built in the late 1970’s by Piet Blom to maximize living space while maintaining a small footprint. Blom’s design represents a village within a city, where each house represents a tree, and all the houses together, a forest. These house are located directly across from the Markthal.
Vet & Lazy
After checking out the market and the funny houses, we walked to the closest craft beer bar, Vet & Lazy which just so happened to be in the historic Witte Huis building. The Witte Huis was built in 1898 in the Art Nouveau style and is the first high-rise building in Europe. It’s also one of the few buildings to survive the German bombardment in 1940. Vat & Lazy had a good selection of beer and the bartender was great in talking about the provenance of each.
Fenix Food Factory
Before ending the evening we went back to near our hotel to check out the Fenix Food Factory which consisted of a wine bar, bakery, soda stand and a brewery. The Fenix complex is another mix-use structure that was an old warehouse but has been converted into apartments, offices, shops and restaurants. We grabbed some beers from Kaapse Brouwers and sat out on the grass above the water.
We also returned the next morning for breakfast pastries from Jordy’s Bakery. Such a lovely view and so relaxing.
The next morning we headed back to the Rotterdam train station via Water Taxi. By far the best €10 we’ve spent in Europe so far. Rotterdam has an extensive water taxi system with docks throughout the city. Generally the fair is less than €5 and is a really efficient way to get across town and see some of the city from a different perspective. From our hotel, we went under the Erasmusbrug Bridge and across the Nieuwe Maas river before getting dropped off at the Maritime Museum.
For a quick trip to Rotterdam, spending roughly 24 hours there, we really enjoyed the city. Definitely a different feel than any of the other cities we’ve traveled to so far and it was nice to see a modern city.