Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Not Amsterdam...The Other One
Along the North Sea in the Netherlands or Holland lie some pretty interesting cities. Most of us have heard all about Amsterdam with it's hash bars and red light district, where you can rent a boat instead of a hotel room, and the colorful row houses are famous. The amazing thing is that we don't hear nearly as much about the world's second largest port city, with amazing things in it's own right that is right down the coast from the world famous Amsterdam. Rotterdam is the city that I'm talking about, and it has some really outstanding things to see and do.
Let's start with a little history. Holland America Line used to be headquartered right in Rotterdam and their old headquarter building is located there still. It's a museum now. But it is fascinating architecture and that is what Rotterdam is also famous for.
Rotterdam has one of the busiest harbors in the world, and the Holland America Line used to be the center of the whole shabang. The SS Rotterdam, at one time the world's largest cruise ship has been retired to the harbor and is now a luxury hotel and restaurant. It is also a museum, and you can take a tour of the old steam powered ocean liner while you stay on the ship. It's a great location right in the middle of the city. It's easy to see the city by land or by one of many cruises around the harbor and canals.
Then there's the why go now factor. Why? Because it's springtime. If you've ever heard anything about Holland, then you probably know that they are famous for their gardens, and particularly for their tulips. Keukenhof Gardens is one of the more famous gardens in the Netherlands, and right now the tulips are out and they are beautiful. It's a spectacle to behold in the gardens, but you can cruise the countryside right now and see fields of the country's most famous flowers blooming like crazy.
Rotterdam is a beautiful city known not only for it's port and gardens, but for it's arts. There are a ton of museums to go to in this city of all kinds. Rotterdam is also bicycle friendly like it's cohort up the coast. Bicycling is very popular in the city.
But, what Rotterdam is best known for this century is it's architecture. The architecture in Rotterdam is ultra modern and pushes the limits of most of our imaginations. The White House, that's what it's called, was only the beginning. It was Europe's first skyscraper and really started something.
The Euromast towers over the city and can be seen from miles away.
The Erasmus Bridge crosses the harbor area.
The Cube Houses were an architect's experiment that have turned into quite the tourist attraction.
The City Market is truly amazing both inside and out.
Architects are drawn to this city in part because of it's Architecture Institute. But it's the creativity that has made it an architectural venue. There are several tour companies that offer architectural tours of the city. They go by boat, by bus, or on walking tours and they can take groups, individuals, or make a custom tour for you. It's a great Adventure for Anyone.
Rotterdam has some of the most interesting modern architecture in Europe, and it's just hanging around on the coast of the North Sea and one of the largest harbors in the world. It's one of those can't miss deals. There are a lot of things to do in Rotterdam and this is a great time to be there.
The Netherlands is one of those amazing countries where so many things happen. In Amsterdam they have indulgences, at The Hague they prosecute international criminals. In Rotterdam, they work both by land and by sea, and they make a gorgeous skyline. It has been said that they play in Amsterdam, they live in The Hague, and they work in Rotterdam. So, take the time to get away from the cities in Holland that we hear about all the time and see the modernity and beauty and creativity that is Rotterdam. Enjoy!