Updated: Jan 20
Culture- Seeking Travelers are the Clear Winners In the Friendly Competition between the First and Second Cities of the Netherlands.
Fast and reliable connections by international train or plane make Amsterdam an easily accessible European destination. Excellent transport connections by road, rail, air and sea make the city easy to reach, with the city centre just a 15-minutes ride away from the airport by public transport. Plus, Amsterdam’s compactness makes for short travel times between venues, hotels and nearby restaurants. It's only natural that when thinking of traveling to the Netherlands, Amsterdam is the first destination that comes to mind, but don't sleep on Rotterdam, a port city with its own unique character and a cool cultural vibe of its own.
While the North Sea Jazz Festival, with 15 stages and over 70,000 attendees is the world’s largest indoor jazz festival, beyond the venue’s self-contained walls lies a city and region teeming with cutting edge culture, luxury, and inspiration. Your purchase of a festival ticket entitles you to entry at a number of culture making institutions, while your presence in the city allows for exploration of the area’s robust multicultural offerings. Use this guide to plan your multi-sensory experience in the city, from sounds to sights to spas and more.
Art & Culture
Witte de Withstraat Cultural District in Rotterdam
The Witte de Withstraat is a lively and hip cultural nightlife street in Rotterdam. Sprinkled with many art galleries, popular cafes, restaurants and shops that are just a little bit different. The great atmosphere of the Witte de Withstraat is enhanced by the many terraces and outdoor cafeson the street. A must see for those who visit Rotterdam!
Gain new perspectives on the development of photography as both a practical medium and an art form in the Fotomuseum’s Gallery of Honor of Dutch Photography, a collection of 99 photographs spanning 180 years with an empty frame at the end left for imagined possibilities. Engage more deeply when you download the museum’s app, which gives each frame a narrative with additional visual and audio stories allowing visitors to upload their own selection into the final, empty frame.
Het NieuweInstituut - Museum of Design and Architecture
This museum’s commitment to architecture and design takes a pro social lens to the implications of how people live in spaces. Their exhibit Designing the Social features installations that question the boundaries of art and culture through explorations of the minimum dwelling, the social sphere,
Food & Entertainment
Bird Jazz Club and Restaurant
Bird is a Rotterdam multi-genre music venue and restaurant named after American jazz saxophonist Charlie 'Bird' Parker, Bird is the the place to hear jazz but also hosts soul, hip-hop, funk and electronica artists. Its an excellent restaurant serving wood-fired pizzas and small plates. The club hosts after-parties during the North Sea Jazz Festival.According to its' website BIRD is the perfect place for cultural omnivores. BIRD is all about jazz, but also warmth, soul, pizzas, metropolitan rawness, funk, hip hop, good wine, no-nonsense beer, atmospheric concerts and unstoppable party people.
François Geurds Food Lab Restaurant
Food Labs by François Geurds (one Michelin star) is so much more than a stuffy Michelin star restaurant. The Aruban descent chef, has created a gastronomic experience
that is an attraction within an attraction with multiple options to enjoy unique flavors conceived in his own Food Lab. Set in an impressive railway tunnel under the Rotterdam Hofbogen. The restaurant is renowned for its relaxed atmosphere, which is similar to that of a Spanish bodega. The setting is completed by high chairs and a vast bar with Josélito, the best ham in the world, hanging from the ceiling. Have a drink at the bar at Food Labs by François Geurds and you will enjoy the vibes of the cool bars of Barcelona and San Sebastián.
On The Water
Rotterdam is a major European port and the second largest city of the Netherlands. It lies about 19 miles (30 km) from the North Sea, to which it is linked by a canal called the New Waterway. The city lies along both banks of the New Meuse (Nieuwe Maas) River, which is a northern distributary of the Rhine River. In Rotterdam the presence of the water is always felt as it creates a beautiful backdrop for the city.
Stay in a Wikkelboat
Wikkelboats are tiny houseboats that are multifunctional and sustainable. On a Wikkelboat you can relax, spend the night, but you can also hold meetings. Experience how a tiny houseboat, despite or perhaps because of the limited space, inspires you to think differently about living and the amount of necessary stuff. Experience a special overnight stay on the water!
The SS Rotterdam was the former flagship of the Holland America Line. The former Trans-Atlantic vessel is now permanently anchored in Rotterdam and full of history. Given the close proximity of the ship to popular landmarks, such as Wilhelminapier (0.7 mi) and Ahoy (1.1 mi), guests of ss Rotterdam can easily experience some of Rotterdam's most well-known attractions while staying in this vast and unique floating hotel.
If you are wondering what to do before or after the North Sea Jazz Festival in July,
this is just a sampling of the best of Rotterdam.