What to see in Holland
The second largest city in the Netherlands, located in the South Holland region, Rotterdam is a diverse and impressively modern city. It was founded in 1270 when a dam was built in the river Rotte and communities began to settle around it. Today, Rotterdam is proudly home to the largest port in Europe, and up until 2004, it was considered the busiest port in the world, so the rich heritage of trade and international relations gives the city a cosmopolitan atmosphere. Just like Amsterdam, Rotterdam is a diverse place, and although it is often thought to be the capital’s smaller counterpart, it has a lot to offer and is unique in its own right.
Tall office buildings, quirky and awe-inspiring modern architecture combined with the traditional gabled buildings of the old town ensures Rotterdam is an interesting place to visit, although much of its pre-20th-century buildings were destroyed by bombing in World War II. Following the war Rotterdammers, as the city’s inhabitants are called, worked hard to create a new and modern cityscape with a focus on open spaces and interesting architecture. A tour of Rotterdam is the best way to get a good overview of the different influences and styles that have inspired this unique city, which has a cool, cultural atmosphere.
Divided in two by the River Maas, Rotterdam has a wide array of intriguing sights and landmarks for visitors to enjoy. The Cube Houses, known as the Blaakes Bos apartments located on Overblaak Street, are one of the city’s architectural gems. These strange and innovative homes, composed of 38 separate units, look as though they are built at gravity-defying angles. You can even visit the showhome to understand how these unique homes were constructed to optimize the limited space available. Another perfect example of the Dutch love of architecture is the amazing Erasmusbrug Bridge, which connects the north and south parts of the city and is named after Desiderius Erasmus, the famous Dutch humanist. If visitors on a trip to Rotterdam want a better overview of the city, the best place to visit is the Euromast, a huge space-age tower with a glass elevator that transports visitors 607 meters up to the 360 degrees viewing platform for breathtaking views all the way to the North Sea.
Rotterdam has a thriving arts scene and fantastic galleries and museums showcasing this. The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is worth visiting for its wide collection of fine European art, whilst the Kunsthal exhibits the most up and coming modern art and photography. If you are on holiday in Rotterdam and would like to delve into the more historical side of the region, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kinderdijk, just outside of the city is an amazing site where you can see the iconic windmills, historically used to drain the lowlands.