Fed up of the usual easy listening playlists on our boss’ iPod, a friend and I wasted time each shift trying to find music on the allocated iPod that wouldn’t make us want to jump from the terrace at work in to the sea below. A few weeks before I quit the job, we discovered The Beautiful South and instantly the song This Could Be Rotterdam (Or Anywhere) became our anthem to blast out before the deadly 12 hour shift began.
So when Go Around Europe invited me to stay with them in their home town of Rotterdam, I instantly jumped at the chance! I was a little bit gutted my friend couldn’t join me (it was of course our song) but there was no way I was going to say no to experiencing the city for myself!
Mark, from Go Around Europe, described Rotterdam as the New York of Holland due to it’s stunning skyline! As I took the panorama above he promised me there was a far better skyline to be spotted from the bridge entering Rotterdam, but I was pretty happy with the one above anyway!
As I jumped off my Eurolines bus at Rotterdam Centraal, I wasn’t sure where I would be picked up from. I had travelled from Paris with a guy who was from Rotterdam and asked him where the easiest pick up point was so I could wait for my friends. His answer was that he had no idea, as the station had completely changed since he’d left! A few days later and I understand that this was a natural response.
Rotterdam is home to one of the largest ports in the world, and because of this it suffered excruciating damage from German bombings and an invasion in May 1940. With very few historical buildings left after the invasion, the Second World War forced Rotterdam to rebuild itself in to the modern and architecturally inspiring city it is today. Constantly pushing the boundaries of architecture, Rotterdam seems to be in a state of continual development, and the results are stunning…
In the picture above you can see the Witte Huis, one of the few remaining ‘older’ structures in Rotterdam. You wouldn’t believe it now with the sight of the modern structures in the background, but at the time of it’s being built in 1989 it was the tallest building in Europe. Still a striking example of Art Nouveau design, it is a stark display of old vs new.
Below offers another example of the few remaining historical structures in Rotterdam in the midst of a buzzing architectural boom. The building on the right, now the Hotel New York, used to house the head offices of the Holland America Line, a key transport line for thousands of European emigrants beginning a new life in America.
The Markthal, one of Rotterdam’s newest structures, just opened in October of this year and not only did I get to experience it for the first time myself, but so did Merit, a Rotterdam local! An incredible feat of architecture, the Markthal serves as a kaleidoscopic combination of living spaces, market hall, and leisure.
Those little squares of light you can see encircling the entrance are windows to apartments which look out over the heart of Rotterdam! And inside you can find the most enchanting stalls of sweets, fruits, meats, waffles (of course), and my favourite…cheese! In fact, talking of cheese, I tried my first green pesto cheese here and it was incredible so keep an eye out for it!
I spent an incredible weekend in Rotterdam, with a mix of work and play with Go Around Europe so a huge thanks to them for hosting me!
Most travellers to Holland flock to Amsterdam, but I definitely suggest making the time to see Rotterdam at night, you won’t regret it!
Lots of love,