Only one and a half hours from Middelburg by train, and you are in the raw and vivid city of Rotterdam. A city known by many, but left undiscovered except for the Markthal and the Cube houses. Through this Tabula Rasa city guide, we unravel the treasures that hide in the crooks and creases of Rotterdam. To make life easier we present to you a route through the city, which you can adjust to your own adventurous mood.
Get off of the train at the shimmering station Rotterdam Centraal. Walk towards the main entrance, near platform 1, and take the left exit. You will walk straight into the Luchtsingel, a wooden bridge that will take you to the Boogjes. On your way you will pass a blooming nightlife district with places such as the club Annabel and the Biergarten. The Hofbogen, or the Boogjes, are the remnants of railway arches turned into nice cafés and little shops. A must-visit here is the pop podium BIRD, where there are often really neat jazz performances, like Stukafest’s Gita Buhari.
From the Boogjes you’ll walk to the centre, to the well-known shopping street Lijnbaan. Turn left on Binnenwegplein in the direction of the Oude Binnenweg, where you will pass a lovely little bookshop called Van Gennep. Pass the infamous statue of “Santa Claus” into the Nieuwe Binnenweg where you find Rotown, the hub of Rotterdam music life. Further down the street you will find the delicious bakery Koekela, and Plaatboef, a record store selling first and secondhand records.
Take a shortcut to Museumpark, by passing through the buildings on the left side of the Lijnbaan. Satisfy your hunger for art with the intriguing collections at museum Boijmans van Beuningen or De Kunsthal and take a quick peek through the windows of the Natural History museum to see the biggest penis in Rotterdam (but sure, the rest of the collection is also worth a visit). The peaceful park is the perfect spot to settle if you are tired of wandering around.
Cross the road behind De Kunsthal and head towards the river. At the dock of Veerhaven you can take a Watertaxi to Katendrecht. A ticket is €4,50 and totally worth the money if you ask the captain to speed up a little. Katendrecht was once a notorious red light district and is now touched by the fairy dust of gentrification, a hipster Walhalla. Honestly all the restaurants here are worth your time, but do not forget to walk through the Fenix Food Factory and have a special beer at De Kaapse Brouwers. The café of theater Walhalla serves really good coffee with macaroons or how they like to call it ‘De ballen van Kalle’. If you’re staying in Rotterdam for a bit longer it’s nice to book a show here or cross the bridge and see an arthouse movie at LantarenVenster. Do not forget to check out the historical building of Hotel New York.
When crossing the Erasmus bridge you will have an amazing view of the Rotterdam skyline. Just walk straight on and take a left at Schilderstraat. You are now walking into Witte de Withstraat where you will find many nice outside bars and a vibrant atmosphere especially at dawn with its little fairy lights. Bazar has amazing Arabic food for really small prices (reserve if you go with a large group). If you are not that hungry treat yourself to a tea Bazar and they will serve you a small plate of baklava, Turkish delight and other goodness. Stroll into several galleries and vintage shops and visit Danny de Cactus for happy hippy vibes. At Eendrachtsplein you can take the metro to Blaak. If you have any time left visit de Pannekoekstraat which is a nice neighbourhood to walk around. De Groene Passage is a lovely place for wholesome vegan meals.
Rotterdam has much more to offer than we can cover in this little tour. The tourist information centre is located close to Beurs where they can provide you with further tips. Hopefully this guide will inspire to visit the beautiful city of Rotterdam.
Anna den Hollander, Class of 2018, is a literature and antiquity major, from Barendrecht, The Netherlands
Joëlle Koorneef, Class of 2018, is a literature and antiquity major, from Zwijndrecht, The Netherlands
Feature Photo Credit: Luka de Kruijf