Travel The Netherlands - Rotterdam: Art, architecture, fashion and cheese

With only a week to live I would probably never have travelled to Rotterdam. There were always other towns in the Netherlands I had to visit first. But being a rather optimistic person (I hope I am going to make it for a few more decades or so) I decided to travel to Rotterdam for a weekend of fun. They recently opened the new Markthal and I had to see it. If you have no idea where I am, Rotterdam is the second biggest town in the Netherlands, only 90 kilometres from Amsterdam.

Do you also have this picture of how towns in the Netherlands are supposed to look? If so, you understand what I mean when I say I love the style of Dutch towns with their canals and the cuteness of the renaissance and baroque style architecture. I was so surprised that this isn’t the case in Rotterdam,
not true, there were pockets like that but most of what I saw was lots of buildings from the fifties. It seemed almost like someone built a new town without any real concept at all. But also add lots of exciting and modern architecture, there are avant-garde properties all over the place. Soon after I got there and while strolling along a canal I found out that the city centre was destroyed in WW2 and the Rotterdammers had no choice but to rebuild from scratch. I felt so ignorant, and this information painted everything in a very different light. They had done a marvellous job really. I focused on a few areas and walked everywhere from my hotel in the centre of town.

Pretty cube houses

Rotterdam - Sneakers & third wave coffee

On Witte de Withstraat are lots of stores to have a good browse and enough Café’s to have a few espresso drinks and pastries. The street runs between Schiedamsevest and Eendrachtsweg and was named in 1871 after Witte Corneliszon de With. The Dutch vice-admiral fought in seven battles in three wars during his time in service from 1616 - 1658. Strolling along this street it is really hard to believe that not so long ago, in the seventies, the street had a reputation for its dodgy bar scene and illegal gambling places. It is in this area where you are in true heaven if you are a coffee snob. At Hopper, they know how to brew a good cuppa. If you happen to need one more pair of sneakers or at least to check out the latest models do this at Goliath Boetiek. While you are there also go for a happy browse at Sluijter and Meijer. I liked this area so much that I went here for breakfast three times: Bagel Bakery, Hopper and Wereldeethuis Bazar.



Cheese Platters & Hard Romance in Rotterdam

Walk over the Rijnhavenbrug to Fenix Food Factory and Posse Bar both on Verlaan in Katendrecht opposite Hotel New York and spend your Saturday afternoon with Rotterdammers. Both places are in a square with abandoned warehouses and are through and through proper community spaces. There are permanent stores at the Fenix Food Factory but on every last Saturday of the month, there is an additional number of traders who sell food and drink. Buy a cheese platter, fresh bread plus drinks, relax. Jump next door to Posse, a coffee-store, bar, gallery-space, bookstore to have a browse, more drinks and to learn about tolerance when you see kids playing happily next to (semi) nude photographs. I remember years back an American telling me that he had to cover the eyes of his children at every petrol station in Europe ... because there were porn magazines on the shelves. Everyone is different. 

On your way back towards the city centre stopover on Wilhelmina Pier at the New York Hotel and have a look around, or have drinks or tea and coffee or dinner at the restaurant, depending on what you feel like. On entering the former head office of the Holland America Line I felt like Rose DeWitt Bukater must have felt when she stepped on board of the Titanic. The whole place resembling a ship is a stunning space and property full of history. The best thing is you can even buy little souvenirs to take home


If the Markthal wouldn’t have opened I would not have come to Rotterdam, and that would have been a mistake. When I walk over Erasmus Bridge in the late afternoon the sky hangs grey over the river Maas which has the same colour. The icy cold wind makes me walk fast and I am experiencing another movie moment when I think “I’ll be back” … in summer. What do you think? Can’t wait to hear from you. 

Where ... most places open at 10am/11am: Bagel Bakery Schilderstraat 57a – 59a, 3011 ER Rotterdam ++ Hopper Schiedamse Vest 146, 3011 BG Rotterdam ++ Wereldeethuis Bazar Witte de Withstraat 16 ++ Goliath Witte de Withstraat 77 A, 3012 BN Rotterdam ++ Sluijter and Meijer Witte de Withstraat 48A 3012 BR Rotterdam ++ Fenix Food Factory Veerlaan 19, 3072 AN Rotterdam ++ Posse Bar Veerlaan 13, 3072AN Rotterdam ++ Hotel New York Koninginnenhoofd 1, 3072 AD Rotterdam ++ Markthall Rotterdam Binnenrotte, right next to Blaak Station ++ Citizen M Gelderse Plein 50, 3011 WZ Rotterdam.
From Berlin with love