City Orientation Walk, Rotterdam (Self Guided)

Holland's major port, Rotterdam is an attraction in its own right, totally rebuilt after WWII, hence featuring bold, modern architecture, sometimes as peculiar as the world-famous Cubic Houses. The local Maritime Museum, displaying vintage ships and exhibits, attests to the city's great seafaring past. To get to know Rotterdam in its variety, follow this orientation walk and explore the galore of local sights.
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City Orientation Walk Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walk
Guide Location: Netherlands » Rotterdam (See other walking tours in Rotterdam)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.4 km
Author: kane
Market Hall

1) Market Hall

The Markthal (English: Market Hall) is a residential and office building with a market hall underneath, located in Rotterdam.The building was opened on October 1, 2014, by Queen Máxima of the Netherlands. Besides the large market hall, the complex houses 228 apartments, 4600 m2 retail space, 1600 m2 horeca and an underground 4-storey parking garage with a capacity of 1200+ cars.The grey nature stone building has an archwise structure like a horseshoe. The building has a glass facade on both sides, these are made up of smaller glass windows.
Sight description based on wikipedia
St. Laurenskerk

2) St. Laurenskerk (must see)

This basilica was built between 1449-1525 and was the first all-stone building in Rotterdam. Many important events took place here. The last priest of the Laurenkerk was Hubertus Duifhuis. The Reformation took place in 1572 and the Laurenskerk became a Protestant church. Ministers of the church include Laurens Johannes Jacobus van Oosterzee, Abraham Hellenbroek, Jan Scharp and J.R. Callenbach, who wrote a book about the history of the church a few years before the Rotterdam Blitz. The church is still used for worship of the Protestant Church.

In the Rotterdam Blitz on May 14, 1940, the Laurenskerk was heavily damaged. At first, there were calls to demolish the church, but that was stopped by the Germans. The provisional National Monuments Commission had both supporters and opponents of restoration. In particular, committee member and architect J.J.P. Oud opposed rebuilding in 1950 and presented an alternative plan which would preserve only the tower. Next to the memorial, a new, smaller church would be built. This alternative plan was rejected, particularly because restoration of the Laurenskerk was viewed as a symbol of the resilience of Rotterdam's community. In 1952, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands laid the foundation stone for the restoration, which was completed in 1968.

Why You Should Visit:
Remarkable, because it is the only remaining medieval building in Rotterdam.
Besides the typical services, there are also concerts, symposiums, workshops, expositions, and other events.
The church offers a unique insight into the Rotterdam's history, architecture, art, and cultural diversity via an audio tour.

Take a close look at the bronze doors based on the theme of War & Peace, and don't miss the statue of Erasmus out front.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sat: 11am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Kubuswoningen (cube houses)

3) Kubuswoningen (cube houses) (must see)

Cube houses (Dutch: Kubuswoningen) are a set of innovative houses built in Rotterdam and Helmond in the Netherlands, designed by architect Piet Blom and based on the concept of "living as an urban roof": high density housing with sufficient space on the ground level, since its main purpose is to optimize the space inside. Blom tilted the cube of a conventional house 45 degrees and rested it upon a hexagon-shaped pylon. His design represents a village within a city, where each house represents a tree, and all the houses together, a forest.

The houses in Rotterdam are located on Overblaak Street and beside the Blaak Subway Station. There are 38 small cubes and two so-called 'super-cubes', all attached to each other. The total area of the apartment is around 100 square meters, but around a quarter of the space is unusable because of the walls that are under the angled ceilings.

Definitely visit the show house (open for visitors 7 days a week for a small fee) to discover how the interiors work or stay at the StayOkay hotel that is part of the complex.
If you're just passing through, make sure to take the off-kilter photographs that will surely perplex your friends at home.
Be cautious if it's snowing, as the whole area gets slippery if no one shovels.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Witte Huis (White House)

4) Witte Huis (White House) (must see)

The Witte Huis or White House is a skyscraper in Rotterdam, Netherlands, inspired by American office buildings and built in 1898 in the Art Nouveau style. The building is 43 m (141 ft) tall, with 10 floors, and was the tallest in Europe at the time it was built. The building is listed as a Rijksmonument. The architect W Molenbroek designed the 10-storey building, at the time an unprecedented height in Europe. It is constructed from iron, steel, and cement, and includes two thick interior walls to increase strength. Unlike many other contemporary buildings of the time, wood was not a significant construction material due to the fear of fire. It was also one of the few buildings in central Rotterdam to survive the German bombing campaigns of World War II.

Why You Should Visit:
Way more impressive in reality than in the photos, and worth the stop to have a drink while appreciating the little channel & old boat-houses around.
Great for photographs – especially taken from across the Old Harbour, for a reflection in the water.

You can also sit and enjoy the view of Witte Huis at one of the several nice cafés out front in the Old Harbour.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Wed: 3pm-1am; Thu: 3pm-3am; Fri-Sat: 3pm-5am
Sight description based on wikipedia
Maritime Museum of Rotterdam

5) Maritime Museum of Rotterdam (must see)

The Maritime Museum of Rotterdam opened in 1874, making it the oldest maritime museum in the Netherlands. It offers its visitors many different educational programs as well as numerous exhibits. From humble beginnings as a museum with model ships and a small print library, the center's collection of maritime memorabilia has swelled to around 850,000 pieces.

Next to the Maritime Museum lies the open-air Maritime Museum Harbour, which merged with the Maritime Museum in 2014 and contains an exceptional collection of historic vessels and cranes which are maintained in working condition.

Why You Should Visit:
Lots of hands-on things to do and you get to learn about ships, oil platforms and new developments.
Some of the ships in the museum's outer part can also be looked at and explored from the inside.
For kids, they have an awesome rooftop playground with plenty of ships & boats to climb on.

The boats outside are free but you will need to pay for the inside exhibits.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sat: 10am-5pm; Sun: 11am-5pm
The Museum Harbour is open daily until 4pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Erasmus Bridge

6) Erasmus Bridge (must see)

The Erasmusbrug ("Erasmus Bridge") is a famous bridge made of cable-stayed across the Nieuwe Maas river, connecting the northern and southern parts of the city of Rotterdam. It was designed by Ben van Berkel and completed in 1996. The bascule bridge is the largest and heaviest in West Europe and has the largest panel of its type in the world. The structure is called "the Swan" by locals because of its graceful posture over the water. The southern span of the bridge has an 89-metre-long (292 ft) bascule bridge for ships that cannot pass under the bridge. After costing more than 163 million euros to construct, the bridge was officially opened by Queen Beatrix on September 6, 1996. Shortly after the bridge opened to traffic in October 1996, it was discovered that the bridge would swing under particularly strong wind conditions. To reduce the trembling, stronger shock dampers were installed.

Why You Should Visit:
To admire one of the most beautiful bridges anywhere – a triumph of design.
Great crossing whether by bike or on foot. Also, you can take some nice pics of the city, with Maas river and the new skyline of Kop van Zuid.

Worth seeing both during the day & after-dark due to a completely different look.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Remonstrant Church

7) Remonstrant Church

The Remonstrant Church is a Scottish church that has been in Rotterdam since the 17th Century, and which retains a small but dedicated following to this day. This church building was built in 1897 in a mixture of styles. It has survived through the years even though its congregations have been persecuted and its leaders exiled.
Rotterdamse Schouwburg

8) Rotterdamse Schouwburg

The Rotterdam Theater was built in 1988 to replace a temporary theater put in place after World War II. Its modern interior looks crisp and fresh with a classical edge, and fits in perfectly with its surroundings on the modern Schouwburgplein square. The theater's program includes more than 500 performances a year in theater, opera, music, dance and other interdisciplinary works.
Pathe Schouwburgplein

9) Pathe Schouwburgplein

Theatre Square (or in Dutch: Schouwburgplein) is situated in the heart of the city of Rotterdam, and is flanked by the municipal theater, concert hall, central station, restaurants, and shopping malls. The Pathe Schouwburgplein is a cinema located in the center of the Rotterdam. The cinema boats seven screens, one of which is the largest in the Netherlands.
Sight description based on wikipedia
City Hall

10) City Hall

A major historical landmark, Cityhal Rotterdam is one of the few city center buildings which was not bombed in World War II. It is one of the many attractions in the Coolsingel area of the city. Construction of the famous building took six years, and was completed in August 1920. Its central hall is designed to represent Rotterdam as a port and trade city.
Koopgoot (aka Beurstraverse)

11) Koopgoot (aka Beurstraverse) (must see)

Here in this mostly pedestrianized shopping area, you'll find lots of charming and inexpensive jewelry, famous brands of perfume, gifts and souvenirs and plenty more. The shopping area is located close to Coolsingel shopping street, where you'll find a further large collection of shops.

Why You Should Visit:
Beautiful place for shopping with varied enough stores. Koopgoot's unique feature is it goes underneath the main street, hence the name of 'Shopping Gutter' :)

Could be a problem on very rainy days, when staircases will be very slippery.
Lijnbaan Markt

12) Lijnbaan Markt

The famous Lijnbaan - with its extensive range of shops - is the country's original pedestrianized shopping promenade. It's got branches of all the major Dutch stores. Here you can buy delicious ice cream, books, CDs, DVDs and cheap electronics from well known brands.

Walking Tours in Rotterdam, Netherlands

Create Your Own Walk in Rotterdam

Create Your Own Walk in Rotterdam

Creating your own self-guided walk in Rotterdam is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Museums of Rotterdam Walking Tour

Museums of Rotterdam Walking Tour

Rotterdam is a city and municipality in the Dutch area of South Holland in the west of the Netherlands. It's got a rich diversity of museums, where you'll be amazed by the gorgeous and fully-featured exhibits. Check out our rundown of all the best, most famous museums in the city.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 km
Souvenir Shopping Part 2

Souvenir Shopping Part 2

It would be a pity to leave Rotterdam without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Rotterdam, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 km
A Cultural Walk in Rotterdam

A Cultural Walk in Rotterdam

Visitors seeking culture will get the utmost pleasure from their trip to Rotterdam. It's a place that is both open to cultural growth and very much in touch with modern cultural trends. Lots of cultural music events and festivals are held in the city each year. Check out our tour of the top cultural attractions in Rotterdam.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 km
Souvenir Shopping Part 1

Souvenir Shopping Part 1

It would be a pity to leave Rotterdam without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Rotterdam, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 km
Modern Architecture Walking Tour, Rotterdam

Modern Architecture Walking Tour, Rotterdam

The Kop van Zuid (Head of the South) area is an old harbor district which has been transformed into a modern city quarter with high-rise buildings. Take our tour to discover the best sights of Kop van Zuid, including Montevideo, the highest building in the Netherlands.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 km
Cool Walking Tour, Rotterdam

Cool Walking Tour, Rotterdam

What a great name this neighborhood of beautiful streets in central Rotterdam has. Once a manor west of Rotterdam, from 1809 to 1816 it was a separate municipality before being annexed by the city. Be sure to take this tour and visit the multitude of the attractions in this fun and friendly district.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

Souvenirs Shopping: 16 Genuine Dutch Things to Buy in Rotterdam

Souvenirs Shopping: 16 Genuine Dutch Things to Buy in Rotterdam

Just as any other major Dutch destination, Rotterdam is associated with sea, excellent cheeses, marvelous beer, good food and, generally speaking, good taste. A set of gifts from Rotterdam will duly reflect any, if not all, of these qualities. Listed here are some of the items that might prove well...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Rotterdam for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Rotterdam has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Rotterdam, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.