Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Get to know what it’s like to visit this destination.
Getting To Know Rotterdam – Cruise Port Guide
Port Snapshot 📸
Home to the largest seaport in Europe, Rotterdam is a unique city full of modern architecture and cultural life and our Rotterdam cruise port guide is your helpful planning tool. Founded in 1270 on the banks of Rotte and granted city status in 1340, Rotterdam has always relied on its port for its success, growing steadily over the centuries until the end of the 19th Century when the construction of the Nieuwe Waterweg provided deep water access to the North Sea and resulted in rapid port expansion and population growth.
Rotterdam became an important intelligence centre during the First World War at the crossroads of Europe and due to Dutch neutrality, however the city could not escape devastation and destruction in the Second World War. The Rotterdam Blitz on the night of 14 May 1940, where 1,300 bombs were dropped on the city resulted in over 80,000 people being made homeless and the city being completely destroyed. In the latter part of the 20th Century, the city council decided to move forward with a rapid expansion of daring architectural projects to rebuild and revitalise the city. Now home to leading architectural firms, Rotterdam is world famous for its groundbreaking architecture and being the base for the Netherlands Architecture Institute. It was the European Capital of Culture in 2001.
Port Location and Facilities
The Cruise Terminal Rotterdam is located in the Kop van Zuid neighbourhood and connected to the centre of Rotterdam by the Erasmus Bridge. The terminal contains tourist information and souvenir shops as well as Wi-Fi. To get into the city from the terminal building visitors can either walk over the Erasmus Bridge, with the terminal being located 2.4km from the city centre. Alternatively, the closest public transport station of the metro and tram system, Wilhelminaplein, is located at the exit of the access road to the terminal and provides direct services to the city centre.
What not to miss
At the heart of the city stands this neo-Renaissance city hall, constructed in 1914 and thankfully survived the destruction of the city in 1940. Visitors are able to take a tour and view the impressive sculptures and beautiful courtyard.
Home to the city’s food market with a variety of stalls selling items to eat on the go, this building is one of the many architectural gems of the city, having opened in 2014.
Opposite the Markthal, these cube shaped apartments numbering 38 in total, are one of the most recognisable sights of Rotterdam. Built between 1978 and 1984, you can visit one of the tilting structures in the Kijk-Kubus Museumwoning.
The only surviving Gothic building in the city after the heavy bombings of the Second World War, the Church of St Lawrence was built between 1449 and 1525 along the banks of the River Rotte and considered the birthplace of Rotterdam. You can climb the tower for views of the city and the modern architecture.
Located near to the city centre, this park space is surrounded by three of the best museums in Rotterdam:
- Boijmans Van Beuningen
- One of the best art galleries in Europe, the art collection spans the late Middle Ages through to the present and includes a range of works from the ‘Old Masters’ including Reubens, Rembrandt, Monet, Van Gogh and Picasso.
- Chabot Museum
- This white villa next is home to a collection of works including paintings, sculptures and drawings by local artist Henk Chabot.
- Het Nieuwe Instituut
- With a focus on architecture, urban development and planning, this cultural hub also houses the Netherlands Architecture Institute and the Netherlands Institute for Design and Fashion.
This exhibition space showcases a range of material from classical art to design and photography and is constantly changing.
Maritime Museum Rotterdam
This is primarily a child focused museum, with interactive and engaging exhibits including the Offshore Experience where the day-to-day operations of North Sea oil and gas platforms are explored. There are also crane and ship simulations, and entry includes access to the collection of historic vessels and cranes moored in the Leuvehaven.
Formerly the Historical Museum Rotterdam, this city centre location showcases the history of Rotterdam. Its collection is vast and includes items that are all related to the city, from coins and medals, to housewares, paintings, photographs and clothing.
Museum Rotterdam ’40-’45 NU
This is an immersive, thought-provoking journey through the Second World War years that Rotterdam endured. From the bombing on 14 May 1940, through the treatment of the Jewish community, Allied bombings in 1943 and the liberation of the city by Canadian troops on 8 May 1945, it is a reminder of what many European cities experienced during the wartime years.
Established in 1852 and inspired by English gardens, this large park is a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and popular for walks or to grab a drink or some food at the little café on the lawn.
On the edge of Het Park, you cannot miss the tallest structure in Rotterdam, standing 185m (651ft) high. From its observation deck at 100m you have amazing 360-degree views of the city. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also take the rotating glass Euroscoop elevator right to the top of the mast.
If you want to experience what the city of Rotterdam looked like before being destroyed in 1940, then this borough along the right bank of the Nieuwe Maas will transport you back in time. Its small centre has been preserved with museums and nice places to eat and drink.
Known locally as ‘The Swan’, this 802m (2,631ft) long, cable stayed bridge spanning the Nieuwe Maas was opened by Queen Beatrix in 1996 and connects the north and south of Rotterdam. It gets its nickname from the asymmetrical blue pylon that rises to a height of 139m (456ft).
NoFlyCruises recommends https://en.rotterdam.info the official site of Rotterdam Tourist Information.
The currency in The Netherlands is the Euro.
Rotterdam experiences mild and warm summers with temperatures reaching on average 24 degrees Celsius in July and August. Being surrounded by water makes the city milder than its surroundings, but also means that in wintertime it can drop in temperature and experience cold winds due to its low elevation.
Rotterdam has an extensive public transport system that consists of rail, metro, trams, buses and waterbuses. For most attractions in the city, visitors can easily walk between them. For more information on public transport, including prices, routes and schedules check out https://www.ret.nl/en/
For Hop On Hop Off services for both buses and canal boats, including information on the routes and prices, check out https://city-sightseeing.com/en/46/rotterdam
Safety whilst ashore
Rotterdam is a safe city, although pickpockets are a possibility. Take extra care and precaution when in popular tourist areas.
Where to eat
NoFlyCruises recommends the following eateries:
Key highlights of Rotterdam
- Cube Houses
- Sint Laurenskerk
- Bojimans van Beuningen
- Chabot Museum
- Het Nieuwe Instituut
- Sonneveld House
- Natural History Museum
- Maritime Museum Rotterdam
- Museum Rotterdam
- Museum Rotterdam ’40-’45 NU
- Het Park
- De Hef (Lift Bridge)
- Erasmus Bridge
- Day Trips to Delft and The Hague
- Praça do Comércio
- Augusta Arch
- Rua Augusta
- Santa Justa Lift
- São Jorge Castle
- Lisbon Cathedral/Sé
- Monument to the Discoveries
- Belém Tower
- Jerónimos Monastery
- April 25th Bridge
- Sanctuary of Christ the King
- Museu Caloustie Gulbenkian
- National Pantheon
- Church of São Vicente de Fora
- Carmo Convent
- Time Out Market
- Day trip to Sintra
Regular cruise line visitors
- MSC Cruises
- P&O Cruises
- Saga Cruises
- Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
- Princess Cruises
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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