Cube houses are a set of innovative houses built in Rotterdam and Helmond in the Netherlands, designed by architect Piet Blom and based on the concept of “living as an urban roof”: high-density housing with sufficient space on the ground level since its main purpose is to optimise the space inside.
The Old Harbor and Marine Museums
The Old Harbor (Oude Haven) is a boat basin filled with restored historic boats, many of which are houseboats where their owners live. In good weather, you can sit outside in one of the many cafés or stroll around and watch the boats being painted or repaired. Signs identify the ages of the boats and show pictures of this area in its heyday as a commercial port and shipyard.
Museum Boymans-van Beuningen
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, one of the Netherlands’ (and Europe’s) most important art centers, is known for its superb collections of paintings, sculptures, and applied and decorative arts from across Europe. Painters of the 14th to 16th centuries are particularly well represented, with works by Hubert and Jan van Eyck, Hieronymus Bosch, and Pieter Bruegel the Elder.
Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk
Great St. Lawrence Church – Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk – is all that’s left of Rotterdam’s medieval buildings, most of which were destroyed during WWII. In Grote Kerkplein, the late Gothic church dates from the 15th century and was built on once marshy ground giving the building a peculiar lean that was only halted after its foundation was rebuilt in 1650. It was heavily damaged in bombings, but was fully restored at the end of the war.Upon entering the church, you’ll be struck by the beauty of the bright interior, an effect heightened by the colored glass of its windows.
One of the most popular gathering points in Rotterdam is the impressive Markt, which opened in 2014. Its soaring arched ceiling is covered in larger-than-life murals of vegetables, fish, and other food subjects, and the market itself is a kaleidoscope of fresh and prepared foods. You’ll find fast foods of every sort and restaurants serving everything from traditional Dutch favorites, like Stroopwafels, to Balkan foods, Spanish tapas, and exotic Indonesian dishes.
it’s one of the most visited places in the Netherlands. Each of its 19 perfectly preserved 18th-century windmills is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built between 1722 and 1761, together they comprise the largest surviving concentration of windmills in the country, a history that’s celebrated during special Mill Days when their sails are once again set in motion.
The centerpiece of Coolsingel, the main street of Rotterdam’s city center, is the Town Hall (Stadhuis), built between 1914 and 1920 in Dutch Renaissance style. It almost miraculously escaped destruction in the World War II bombing. You can’t visit the richly decorated interior on your own, but tours are available, booked through the tourist office.
Boat Tours of the Europoort
Rotterdam’s massive port occupies half the city’s total area of 247 square kilometers, much of it in turn occupied by Europoort, a huge complex known as the Gateway to Europe. In addition to countless massive ships, you’ll see mile after mile of quays and storage facilities built to service the world’s busiest port.
Diergaarde Blijdorp: The Royal Zoo
Natural habitats are a priority here: the Asian section includes a swamp forest with two large aviaries for exotic birds, a Mongolian steppe, a bat cave, a Chinese garden, and numerous creatures indigenous to the region. Also worth exploring is the Oceanium, an excellent aquarium featuring a large collection of marine life from the Americas.
One of Rotterdam’s most distinctive landmarks, the Euromast lies at the north entrance to the Maas Tunnel. Erected in 1960, this 185-meter-high tower houses two restaurants with superb views over Rotterdam, each at the 92-meter mark. For thrill-seekers looking for more than just great views there’s the chance to abseil down the building, while those looking for a unique overnight stay can book one of two stunning suites located at the 100-meter point. English language guided tours are available.