Rotterdam is a municipality and city in the Dutch province of South-Holland, situated in the west of The Netherlands and part of the Randstad. The municipality is the second largest in the country (behind Amsterdam), with a population of approximately 600,000 people and over 1.3 million inhabitants in its metropolitan area.
The port of Rotterdam is the largest in Europe. From 1962 to 2004, it was the world's busiest port; then it was superseded by Shanghai. Now Rotterdam is the fourth biggest port in the world.
Rotterdam is known as a city of architecture. A few square kilometres of the city centre offers a complete overview of what the twentieth century has produced in terms of modern architecture.
Settlement at the lower end of the fen stream Rotte dates from at least 900. Around 1150, large floods in the area ended development, leading to the construction of protective dikes and dams. A dam on the Rotte or 'Rotterdam' was built in the 1260s and was located at the present-day Hoogstraat ('High Street').
Although Rotterdam did well after the middle ages and in the 'Golden Century' - roughly between 1650 and 1750) it was not before the second part of the nineteenth century that the city started to develop itself rapidly. Helped by the digging of a new seaway (The Nieuwe Waterweg) Rotterdam was rid of acces problems caused by the silting of the river and started receiving ever bigger ships with cargo for/from the booming Ruhrgebiet in Germany. Port related trade and industry skyrocketed, and the city started to draw lots of migrants from the then poor Brabant province, for whom the southern part of the city was constructed. At the turn of the twentieth century Rotterdam was well under way to become the largest economic centre in The Netherlands. It was between then and the second world war that large prestigious construction works were undertaken, in part to show off the new found economic pride.
The German army invaded the Netherlands on 10 May 1940. Germany had planned to conquer the country in one day, but after meeting unexpectedly fierce resistance, it finally forced the Dutch army to capitulate on 14 May 1940 by bombing Rotterdam and threatening to bomb other cities. The heart of the city was almost completely destroyed by the German Luftwaffe, and 800 people were killed, while about 80,000 others were made homeless. During the war, Rotterdam was bombed several times during allied raids that were aimed at the harbour area but sometimes also hit the city.
The City Hall survived the bombing. Unlike most other European cities however, the City Council did not aim at rebuilding what was lost, but on taking the opportunity to create a 'new' and better city. Damaged but not destroyed old buildings were torn down in the process.
From the 1950s through the 1970s, the city was rebuilt. It remained quite windy and open until the city councils from the 1980s on began developing an active architectural policy. Daring and new styles of apartments, office buildings and recreation facilities resulted in a more 'liveable' city centre with a new skyline. In the 1990s, the Kop van Zuid was built on the south bank of the river as a new business centre.
In the Netherlands, Rotterdam has the highest percentage of foreigners from non-industrialised nations. Nearly 50% of the population are not native to the Netherlands or have at least one parent born outside the country. Recent figures show that Muslims comprise close to 25% of the city's population. The city is also home to one of the largest communities from Cape Verde in the world, as well as the largest community from the Dutch Antilles.
The atmosphere of Rotterdam is absolutely distinct from other Dutch cities. The mentality can best be described as 'can do'. From the waiters you meet to the businessmen and the people who have just arrived as migrants, all of them breathe a dynamic optimism of getting forward with things and their town. The modern looks of the city, the bustle and its building spree all add to this impression. That said, you might also find that people are sometimes somewhat too straight with you. And yes, the city is not the cosiest, or the most picturesque of towns, especially on drab winter days. But; get acquainted with this small metropolis, easiest done on days of one of the festivals with nice weather, and you will come to love it.
One may also find that visiting this city in spring or summer time is more enjoyable than in winter time, as the Netherlands can be a rainy place and Rotterdam is a city that especially gains a lot of charm when the sun is shining.
ROTTERDAM.INFO (VVV) (Tourist office), Binnenwegplein, Coolsingel 195-197 (Metro: Beurs), ☎ +31 (0)10 7900140, . Mo-Su 09:30-18:00 (closed 1 Jan, 25-26 Dec, ). This well equipped and recently modernized tourist office can provide loads of information like city maps, small guide books, souvenirs and the like, and offers tips and information on what to see and do in Rotterdam. Rotterdam.info also sells the Rotterdam Welcome Card, concert tickets, gift certificate, souvenirs, public transport tickets and parking vouchers. Check the website for upcoming events. edit
VVV Rotterdam Centraal, Stationsplein ,inside the central hall of the Central Station, . Mo-Su: 09.00-17.30; (closed 1 Jan, 25 Dec,). there are brochures with information about Rotterdam and an info desk which will answer all of your questions. edit
Use-it, Vijverhofstraat 47, ☎ +31 (0)10 240 91 58 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . 24/7. This friendly office is very much geared towards helping the budget traveller out. It's also a good spot to meet fellow travellers. Use-it can help with things like finding accommodation or even a temporary job in town. They rent out bicycles too. edit
Upcoming events and performances are listed on the VVV and Use-it websites. The larger events are well documented on the VVV site, for smaller venues check Use-it (under Calendar) for a very attractive and well updated listing of music, expositions, movies and parties that need checking out.
Once a month the Uitagenda is distributed around the city. You can take your free copy at a lot of locations (like bars, supermarkets, municipal offices). Besides some articles about interesting things going on in town it also has a large calendar.
Once arrived at Rotterdam Airport you can use public transport to get in the city. RET shuttle bus 50 connects to metro station Meijersplein where you can transfer to metro line E to Slinge (total travel to Rotterdam Centraal about 20 minutes), or Metro Line E direction Den Haag ( The Hague )
You may also take bus 33 which runs frequently to Rotterdam Centraal Station and takes you there in about 25 minutes.
Alternatively you can book airport transfers upfront with Tinker. A transfer with a private cab from the airport to Rotterdam Centraal is available from €19.
Most major and international carriers will fly to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (IATA: AMS), which is connected directly to Rotterdam Centraal station by a frequent high-speed rail service (called Intercity Direct). The journey to/from Schiphol Airport in 26 minutes. Trains run every half hour and a one-way ticket costs €13.90 (as of January 2013). The train station is situated underground, directly below the terminal building. Tickets are available at the station through automated machines, at the ticket desk, or can be booked in advance.
Ryanair flights go to Eindhoven airport (IATA: EIN). The train from Eindhoven takes about 75 minutes.
Rotterdam is served by an international rail link, operating out of Rotterdam Centraal Station, from Belgium and France. High-speed trains from Antwerp (Antwerpen-Berchem, 30min), Brussels (Brussels Midi, 1h12) and Paris (Paris Nord, 2h37) are operated by Thalys. Book well in advance to secure the best ticket deals. Beyond that, a (very much) slower and (slightly) cheaper intercity service, operated by Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), links Rotterdam Centraal to Antwerp (Antwerpen Centraal, 1h16), Mechelen (Mechelen, 1h35) and Brussels (Brussels Midi, 1h57).
Rotterdam is easily reached by car. From Amsterdam take the A4 South to The Hague, change to the A13 to Rotterdam. From Utrecht take the A12 and change to the A20 just after Gouda.
Traffic congestion on highways is common during peak hours (morning and evening commutes).
Parking on the street it's only possible to pay with a chip card (Dutch: Chipknip). The card has a balance in euro and can be purchased at various points in the city, such as tobacconists and multi-storey car parks. Some meters in the centre and near major attractions accept credit card. There is no option to pay with cash.
Parking garages can be easily found by following the sign-marked P-route, or check locations on this  site (Dutch only). The easiest way to pay is by credit card, just insert your card on the way in, and insert it again on the way out, and the total time is automatically deducted. You can also pay with cash, chip-knip or PIN.
Park & Ride (P&R) facilities outside the centre of Rotterdam offer free or cheap parking with public transport connections into the city centre.
Free and secure P&R facilities are: Slinge A15, Hoogvliet A15, Kralingse Zoom A16/E19 and Alexander A20/E25. The parking is free when you travel to the centre with public transport, you need to scan the ticket at the ticket machine.
For all P&R locations and information on cost and opening times, see Bereikbaarheid Regio Rotterdam (Dutch only).
P&O Ferries has a daily overnight sailing from Hull to Rotterdam Europoort. From Rotterdam Europoort P&O Ferries operates a shuttle bus service that takes you to the city center of Rotterdam (45min) Please book this shuttle service while you book your sailing.
StenaLine has a daily day as well as a daily overnight sailing from Harwich to Hook of Holland. From Hoek van Holland Haven you have a connecting rail service to Rotterdam Centraal Station that takes you to the city centre of Rotterdam in 30 minutes at a fare of €5.40.
DFDS Seaways has a daily overnight ferry crossing from Newcastle to IJmuiden, next to Amsterdam. You can drive to Rotterdam in approx. 50 minutes.
By Cruise Ship: The port is in the center of the city.
Like any city in The Netherlands, Rotterdam is very, very bicycle-friendly. Getting around by bike is probably the fastest way of travel within the city. There are separate bike lanes on most major streets and there are separate traffic lights for bicyclists. Avoid getting your tire in the tram rails. Always cross tram rails at an angle. Always lock your bike securely when leaving it, preferably chained to a fixed object.
Renting a bike
Handy places near Central Station to rent a bike are:
The official NS rental office is recently (2014) situated in a new underground bicycle parking. You will find the entrance at the square before the main entrance of the station
Alternatively, try Use-it, which rents out nice Kronan bikes (Vijverhofstraat 47, leave Central Station on the backside, turn right onto Provenierstraat, and you will find it after a 5 min walk on the right (after a former railway)
Also different hotels and hostels offer bikes for their guests
The public transport system in Rotterdam is very well organized. If you are not sure about which kind of public transport route you should take, you may find advice on 9292 . All metro, tram and metropolitan bus lines are operated by RET. The RET FrequentNet map (PDF) has an overview of all RET lines with frequent service Mo-Fr 7-19h (10 minute interval or better). RET also provides a PDF map with all lines in the Rotterdam area.
You need an OV-Chipkaart ("Public Transport chip card"). In trains you can still choose whether you want to use the chipcard or the old ticketing system. See the section in the Netherlands article for more information about the card and for suggestions on which version to get.
The Rotterdam Welcome Card provides unlimited use of all RET public transport for 1, 2 or 3 days, and 25% or better discounts on 50+ attractions, museums, restaurants and more. See the website for further information on conditions and locations to get the card. If you don't need the discounts, the 1, 2 or 3 day passes are also available from RET ticket machines available in all metro stations for (slightly) cheaper prices.
If you are planning to travel with other transportation companies than RET (i.e. outside Rotterdam), especially more then one or two times, then the most convenient card is the anonymous OV-Chipkaart. You can purchase an anonymous OV-Chipkaart for € 7,50 from ticket offices (only in selected stations) and from ticket machines available in all metro stations (purchase from ticket machines will cost 6,50). The amount is for the card alone, to travel with an OV-chipkaart, you must first credit your card with a travel product and/or balance. This can be done at ticket machines. The anonymous OV-Chipkaart is valid for a minimum of 4 years up till 5 years.
When travelling, remember to check in and out, especially when you transfer from any one form of transport to another. A small army of inspectors swoops down occasionally to make sure everyone has a valid check in.
When you arrive by train at Central Station, you will find a SERVICECENTER in the corner of the Central Hall, for information about traintickets ( desk 1-5) public transport Rotterdam, RET ( desk 7-9) and a bank for changing money (GWK bank)
There are five metro lines operated by RET. Lines A (green), B (yellow) and C (red), share tracks between Schiedam Centrum and Capelsebrug and offer an east-west connection.
Lines D (light blue) and E (blue, also known as RandstadRail) share tracks between Rotterdam Centraal and Slinge and offer a north-south connection. Interchange between all lines is possible on Beurs station in the city center.
Lines A, B and C operate each every 10 minutes which allows 3-4 minute intervals on the main section between Schiedam Centrum and Capelsebrug. Lines D and E operate every 10 minutes, which give shorter intervals between Rotterdam Centraal and Slinge. There is a more frequent service during rush hours. The Rotterdam Metro operates from 06.00 until midnight.
See also the Map of the metro system
Remember to check in and out on metro stations without gates !.
RET operates 10 tramlines. Al tram lines except line 2 will stop at Rotterdam Centraal. Tram stops provide a detailed map of the public transport system. All lines operate every 10 minutes with more frequent service during rush hours on some lines. Each tram has a conductor.
Multiple companies operate buses in Rotterdam, RET, ARRIVA and Connexxion. These companies share some of the bus stops, but the route numbers are not interchangeable. RET is the larger operator in the metropolitan area itself, while ARRIVA and Connexxion service areas outside the metropolitan area. Use the front door when boarding a bus.
WaterBus provides boat connections between Rotterdam and the Drechtsteden (Dordrecht and surrounding cities). The Waterbus is also used to reach the windmills of Kinderdijk. Therefore you change at the stop 'Ridderkerk' to another ferry called ' Driehoeksveer',
Once started as a fast ferry connection between Heijplaat on the south bank and the city center, the Aqualiner now also offers fast connections to Katendrecht and Lloydkwartier. Single tickets are sold on board (cash only). The OV-chipkaart is not valid.
If you do need a taxi you will have to find yourself a taxi rank or call a taxi company like the Rotterdamse Taxi Centrale RTC N.V. at +31 10 462 60 60 or the Coöperatieve Taxi Onderneming St. Job at +31 10 425 70 00. There is a minimum taxi fare of around €2,50. Additionally, each subsequent kilometer is charged €1,95. You could book your taxi also online  or use a the free smartphone app .
If you need a Airport transfer from Schiphol to Rotterdam you can use Tinker at +31 (20) 290 0050.
If you want to travel from shore to shore in a special way, the nicest way to go is to take the Water Taxi. This speedboat will escort you over the Maas.
They have more than 250 landing stages. Call Watertaxi Rotterdam at +31 (10) 403 03 03 or check their website.
The ferry service between Hotel New York and Leuvehaven, and Hotel New York to Veerhaven sails back and forth on a scheduled timetable.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Museumpark 18-20 (Metro: Eendrachtsplein), ☎ +31 (10) 441 94 00 (fax: +31 (10) 436 05 00), . Tue-Sun: 11.00AM to 5.00PM; Mon: closed. The museum, founded in 1849, houses a rich, broad collection that can be generally grouped into four wings: Old Art, with masterpieces such as Pieter Brueghel the Elder's The "little" Tower of Babel (1563). The collection of Prints and Drawings and the collection of Applied Arts and Design with their international allure. And the Modern Art wing has an important collection of surrealism, prominently featuring Salvador Dalí and René Magritte. Adult: €12,50; child under 18: free entry, students € 6,25. edit
Kunsthal, Westzeedijk 341 (Metro: Eendrachtsplein, tram 8), ☎ +31 (10) 440 03 01, . Tue-Sat: 10.00AM - 5.00PM; Sun: 11.00AM - 5.00PM. <. An exhibition hall that houses some 25 expositions annually. The Kunsthal often experiments with themes that have never been used for an exhibition before. This approach produces a fascinating and widely varied repertoire. In total, the Kunsthal has 3,300 m² of exhibition space in a striking building, designed by OMA (Rem Koolhaas / Fuminori Hoshino) and is a true work of art all on its own.Adult: €11,00; child 6-18: €2.00; child under 6: free entry, students € 5,50. edit
Het Nieuwe Instituut(The New Institute) formerly known as NAI, Museumpark 25 (Metro: Eendrachtsplein), ☎ +31 (10) 440 12 00 (email@example.com, fax: +31 (10) 436 69 75), . Tu-Sa: 10:00-17:00; Su: 11:00-17:00. Closed on Mondays, 1 jan, 30 apr and 25 dec. The ticket for the NAI also provides access to Sonneveld House Museum.Adult: €8.00; child 12-18: €5.00; child 4-11: €1; child under 4: free entry. edit
Nederlands Fotomuseum, Las Palmas building, Wilhelminakade 332 (Metro: Wilhelminaplein, tram 20,23,25), ☎ +31 (10) 213 20 11 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +31 (10) 203 04 06), . Tue-Fri: 10.00AM - 5.00PM; Sat-Sun: 11.00AM - 5.00PM. The Nederlands Fotomuseum focuses on photography in the broadest sense of the word. By doing so, the museum wants to show the diversity of forms of photography. Not only as an artistic form of expression, but also and especially as a medium of social expression and commentary.Adult: €6; child under 12: free entry. edit
Maritime Museum, Leuvehaven 1 (Metro: Beurs,tram 7), ☎ +31 (10) 413 26 80 (fax: +31 (10) 413 73 42), . Tue-Sat: 10.00AM - 5.00PM; Sun: 11.00AM - 5.00PM; Mon: 10.00AM - 5.00PM in July and August as well as during school holidays in Rotterdam. A variety of expositions about the harbour of Rotterdam and maritime history. The museum also has an outdoor part.Adult: €7.50;group + 15 people: 5 €; child 4-16: €3.00; child under 4: free entry. edit
Museum of Chess-Pieces, Overblaak 94 (Metro: Blaak), . saturday and sunday 14-17. This little museum can be found among the famous Cube houses and houses a diverse collection of chess games. From ancient Chinese to all sorts of cartoon characters. edit
Chabot Museum, Museumpark 11 (Metro: Eendrachtsplein), . Mo-Fri: 11.00 - 16.30; Sat: 11.00-17.00; Sun: 12.00 - 17.00. This neat little museum is housed in a splendid modernist 30's villa. It houses a collection of works of the expressionist painter Hendrik Chabot. A very recommendable if short visit for art lovers.Adult: €6.50; child under 12: free entry. edit
Natuurhistorisch Museum, Westzeedijk 345 (Next to the Kunsthal, Metro: Eendrachtsplein,tram 8), . Tue-Sun: 10.00AM - 5.00PM. The "Natural History Museum" Is situated in the Museumpark, near Boijmans, the NAi and the Kunsthal. It has changing expositions and a fixes collection of mammals, plants and fossiles. The current director Kees Moeiliker became famous in 2003 for winning a scientific prize on his study and book about the strange behouvior of a duck in the garden of the museum. His predecessor did a lot for the whales and left his collection at the museum. Adult: €4.00; child 4-15: €2.00; child under 4: free entry. edit
Wereldmuseum, Willemskade 25 (Metro: Leuvehaven,tram 7), ☎ +31 (10) 270 71 72 (email@example.com, fax: +31 (10) 270 71 82), . Tue-Sun: 10.30 - 17.30. The Wereldmuseum (World Arts Museum) focuses on encounters and cross-cultural inspiration.Adult: €12.50; children t/m 12 free. edit
Witte de With, Witte de Withstraat 50 (Metro: Eendrachtsplein), ☎ +31 (0)10 4110144 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +31 (0)10 4117924), . Tue-Sun: 11.00AM - 6.00PM. Witte de With(Centre for Contemporary Arts) exhibits, lectures, multimedia for comtemporary arts.edit
Mariniersmuseum, Wijnhaven 7-13 (Metro: Blaak), . Tue-Fri: 10:00-17:00, Sat,Sun: 11:00-17:00. The museum of the Marine Corps is situated in a historic building in the Oude Haven. It shows the history of the 340 years-old corps as well as it's modern day role. Special attention is given to the heroic role of the corps in the 1940 defence of Rotterdam. In the nearby White House you can still notice the bulletholes in the stone wall.edit
Oorlogs Verzets Museum, Coolhaven 375 (Metro: Coolhaven, it's under the bridge), . Tue-Fri: 10:00-17:00,Sun: 12:00-17:00. The small 'War and Resistance Museum' paints life in Rotterdam and the Netherlands during the Second World War. Attention is also given to the military developments of the time and the destruction of the city of Rotterdam. Lectures and evenings with documentaries are often on the programm. € 4,00, children € 2,00. edit
Railz Miniworld, Weena 745 (Near Rotterdam Centraal), . opening hours see website. It’s the largest indoor model railroad layout of The Netherlands.edit
City Hall, Coolsingel 40 (Metro: Stadhuis). Mon-Sat: 8:00-17:00. Rotterdam City Hall was built in 1914 in a somewhat exuberant Art Deco style. It is nice to walk into the monumental main hall and see the statues. The courtyard is also worth a look. As the City Hall is still in use you are free to enter the public areas and have a look. The other halls will be off limits, unless you can persuade one of the guards to open the showpiece Burgerzaal for you. The City Hall also has a belltower with carillon which is often played, while the roof of the middel tower is made of gold.edit
Erasmus Statue, Grotekerkplein (Metro: Stadhuis or Blaak). The statue of Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam stands opposite the Grote of Sint Laurenskerk. It is a handsome bronze of the hand of sculptor Keijser and dates from 1622. Children are told by the elderly that Erasmus turns his page every hour.edit
De Verwoeste Stad Statue, Plein 1940 (Metro: Beurs). This statue, "The Destroyed City", by the Franco-Belarussian sculptor Ossip Zadkine dates from 1953. Zadkine got his inspiration when visiting Rotterdam shortly after the second world war. The cubist statue depicting a man in agony who just lost his heart (symbol of the bombed city centre) still evokes strong feelings in Rotterdam.edit
Sylvette, Westersingel (Metro: Eendrachtsplein). This large work by Pablo Picasso was erected in 1973. It is one of the elaborations Picasso made based on the portraits of his muse Sylvette David. Definitely worth a look.edit
Rotterdam has only seven windmills left. Of these, only De Ster and De Lelie are open to visitors on a regular basis. Other windmills are open to visitors when the mill is turning (easy enough to see), but there are some exceptions to this rule of thumb. A blue flag also indicates that the mill is open to visitors.
Windmills De Ster and De Lelie, Plaszoom (Metro: Voorschoterlaan. From there it is a 10 minute walk (follow the Julianalaan until you reach Plaszoom), . open every 2nd Sat of the month: 10.00 - 16.00; And also whenever the mills are in use. These two windmills (Star and Lily) date from 1777 and 1829. They are very handsomely situated on the side of the Kralingse Plas lake. The mills do still do their original job wich is grinding ingredients for spices and snuff tobacco. Adjacent is a small shop where these products are sold. edit
De Prinsenmolen, Prinsenmolenpad (Take tramway 4 to Lommerijk. Walk 5 minutes along the Prins Bernardkade to reach Prinsenmolenpad. From there it's another 10 minutes.). closed to visitors. De Prinsenmolen dates back to 1648 and worked until 1966 to keep the adjacent polder dry. It's a house now, but the mill is still in working order. It's a nice walk alongside the Bergse Voorplas lake. edit
De Vier Winden, Terbregse Rechter Rottekade (From De Prinsenmolen it's 10 minutes further along the Rotte river). closed to visitors. De Vier Winden was built in 1776. Until 1964 it was used to grind wheat. Although the mill itself is not open to visitors, it has a small shop with old fashioned mill-products. edit
De Speelman, Overschiese Kleiweg (Go by bike or car). Open when turning. De Speelman was built in 1712. Heavily damaged during WW2 it was restored and moved to its present location.edit
De Zandweg, Kromme Zandweg (From Maashaven Metro station take tramway 2 towards Charlois to the end of the line). Open when turning.. De Zandweg dates from 1723. It's situated at the southern part of town called Charlois. When walking a litlle bit futher you can also see the nice Oliphant country mansion.edit
De Distilleerketel, Voorhaven 210 (Metro: Delfshaven). Open We; 13.00-17.00 and Sat; 10.00-16.00. De Distilleerketel ('the Distillers' Kettle) was rebuilt in 1986 after the original mill was destroyed in WW2. The original mill from 1727 was meant for grinding malt for the numerous distilleries in Delfshaven. Now it works as a mill for grinding wheat on a commercial basis. edit
Rotterdam Zoo, Blijdorplaan 8 (20 minutes walk from Central trainstation, or bus 33,32 or 44)), ☎ +31 (10) 443 14 95, . Mon-Sun: 9.00AM - 5.00PM. Rotterdam Zoo (Dutch: Diergaarde Blijdorp), established in 1857, is one of the most popular day trips in the Netherlands. Walk through different parts of the world, seeing interesting animals that feel right at home in an approximation of their natural habitats. An interesting feature of Rotterdam Zoo is the Oceanium. Feast your eyes on your journey through this enchanting world of water, filled with ocean and coastal dwellers, including exotic fish and puffins. Price € 21,-, children 3/12 € 16,50edit
Arboretum Trompenburg, Honingerdijk 86 (beneden) (Tram 21,24 towards De Esch, Woudestein stop), ☎ +31 (10) 233 01 66 (email@example.com, fax: +31 (10) 233 01 71), . Mon-Fri: 9.00AM - 5.00PM; Sat-Sun: 10.00AM - 5.00PM. Arboretum Trompenburg, dating back to 1820, is a lovely park filled with well-designed walking paths. The seven hectare park houses a rich collection of trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs. Adult: €6.25; child under 12: free entry. edit
Botanische Tuin Kralingen, Kralingse Plaslaan 110b (Take tram to 7 to the Jericholaan stop), . Mon-Fri: 8.00 - 16.00; Sat-Sun: CLOSED. This small botanical garden is known for its medicinal plants. As it is currently being brought back to its old glory the visit is recommended if you were to walk by, or for garden buffs. free entry. edit
Please note that in The Netherlands churches are generally closed to visitors on Sundays.
Grote of Sint Laurenskerk, Grotekerkplein 15 (Metro: Stadhuis or Blaak), . Tue-sat 11:00-17:00. The "Great or Saint Lawrence church" (Saint Lawrence is the patron saint of Rotterdam) is a late-gothic inner city landmark that dates from the year 1449. It is nice to visit its spacious and attractive, but not so elegant interior. Of special interest are the large organ and the elaborate graves of Dutch sea heroes Kortenaer, Witte de With and Van Brakel. All kinds of cultural and musical venues take place here. In the summer you can climb the tower at wednesdays and saturdaysedit
Paradijskerk, Nieuwe Binnenweg 25 (Metro: Eendrachtsplein), . Sat: 14:00-17:00. This church only dates from 1910, but it was built on purpose to house the baroque interior from 1719 of its predecessor. It is interesting to have a look at the baroque carvings. Also noteworthy that this church belongs to the small Old Catholic denomination.edit
Pilgrimfathers' church, Aelbrechtskolk 20 (Metro: Delfshaven), . This historic church, the Oude Kerk (old church) of Delfshaven, is from which the Pilgrim Fathers set sail to the new world. The building dates from 1417. It is also possible to attend to classical concerts here.edit
HH. Laurentius en Elisabethkathedraal, Mathenesserlaan 307 (Metro: Coolhaven), . The cathedral of Rotterdam (Roman Catholic) is a somewhat heavy neo romanesque creation from 1907. The interior is quite well proportioned and atmospheric. Sunday mass is at 11.00 (sometimes with a good choir). Besides assisting at the normally well attended mass you can walk in before or after to have a look inside.edit
Euromast, Parkhaven 20, ☎ +31 (10) 436 48 11 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Mon-Sun: 10:00AM - 10.00PM. There's also a great restaurant halfway up the tower, with good food at a good price. Adult: €9.25 ; child 4-11: €5.90; child under 4: free entry. edit
Spido harbour trip, Willemsplein 85, ☎ +31 (10) 275 99 88 (email@example.com), . You only see the first 8 km of the harbor starting at the Erasmus bridge (the trip doesn't go all the way to the north sea, and skips some of the more interesting harbors) But Rotterdam is REALLY big, so even in those first 8 km there's plenty to see.In the summer there are longer toursedit
De pannenkoekenboot, . Eat as many pancakes as you like while you cruise, departs from near the foot of the Euromast.edit
Shipyard 'Rotterdams Welvaren' ('De Delft'), Schiehaven 15 (Take tramway 8 from Rotterdam Centraal towards Spangen and get off at Oostkousdijk), ☎ +31 (10) 276 01 15, . Tue-Fri: 10.00AM - 4.00PM; Sat-Sun: 11.00AM - 5.00PM. Follow the construction of the 18th century ship-of-the-line 'De Delft' from close-by. 'De Delft' will become one of the largest ship replica's in the world. Adult: €6.00; child 4-12: €3.00; child under 4: free entry. edit
The kuip, football stadium of the club Feyenoord 
Football. Rotterdam boasts three professional footballclubs, Feyenoord, Sparta, and Excelsior . Especially games of Feyenoord , that draw huge crowds, and Sparta ( with a more homey atmosphere) are well worth a visit.
The area around train station Blaak. The area was destroyed by a German bombardment during World War II, forcing the Netherlands to surrender. After the war, it has been reconstructed with all kinds of strange and fascinating buildings. Especially the Cube Houses are worth seeing. The marketplace is also here on each Tuesday, Saturday (all year around) and every Sunday (in the summer), it is definitely worth a visit to get acquainted with local food and customs. And the Old Harbour (Oude Haven) is around the corner for a drink and a bite to eat.
Delfshaven. Easily accessible by metro (station of the same name), historic Delfshaven is a very scenic walk. It consists of an 17th-century area around two canals with a lot of charm. By day visit the Dubbelde Palmboom museum, the pilgrimfathers' church, or the little shops in this neighbourhood. By night atractive pubs and restaurants make the visit worthwile.
Chinatown. Just walk out the front of Rotterdam Centraal Station to the first intersection. You can't miss it!
Maeslantkering, Havennummer 882 - Hoek van Holland, ☎ 0174-511222 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Storm surge barrier that is one of the largest moving structures in the world.edit
The Snerttram, a historical tram, runs on weekends and provides a guided tour of Rotterdam along the tram routes for around 90 minutes. Extensive commentary is given in Dutch, but you can get some English too if requested. 
De Rotterdam (ss Rotterdam) (Steamship), 3e Katendrechtse hoofd 25 (Metroline D Rijnhaven, then bus 77, busstop Katendrechtsestraat), ☎ 0900-337 68 83, . Nov-Mar: 09.00-16.00; Apr-Oct: 09.00-19.30. from € 10 (adults)/€ 6 (children 4-11) including audioset. edit
Escape010, a Live Escape Room at the Gouvernestraat 89 in the centre of Rotterdam. Live Escape Room is an exciting, challenging and unpredictable game. With a group of 3 to 6 people, you go into a room and the door will be closed. The object of the game is to leave the room within 60 minutes. 
There are two huge megacinemas in Rotterdam. The one in the city centre is called Pathé Schouwburgplein (located at the Schouwburgplein), the other one is on the southside of the city. It's called Pathé De Kuip (located next to the Feyenoord stadium De Kuip). In these cinemas you can see Hollywood movies and occasionally an arthouse movie.
If you're more into alternative cinema go to Lantaren/Venster Cinema (Otto Reuchlinweg 996 (Wilhelminapier), ). Here you'll get European, Asian and latin american cinema in a nice atmosphere. It has a nice bar too. The other option is Cinerama (Westblaak 18) which shows a combination of art/house films and commercial Hollywood flicks. During the IFFR (International Film Festival Rotterdam), which usually takes place in at the end of January, art-house movies are shown at much more locations throughout the city.
In August, an open air cinema at the Museumpark shows both blockbusters and independent films. Entrance is only a few euros, and you can either bring your own chair or rent one onsite. To get there, take the subway or tram to Eendrachtsplein and walk for about 5-10 minutes to the Museumpark.
When you want to combine a unique experience with a great view over the city of Rotterdam, you can make a (tandem)skydive at Skydive Rotterdam. At Skydive Rotterdam (also called The Flying Dutchman) you can book a tandem skydive or do a complete skydiving course and jump from a height of 3 or 4 kilometers. It's the only skydiving school in the "Randstad" area and the only place in the Netherlands where you can jump over a a major city like Rotterdam. When the weather's good you will have a spectacuair view over the Rotterdam skyline and other parts of the Randstad area, all the way to the coastline.
An airplane can be rented at reasonable rates at Rotterdam Aiport at Happy Wing. Nice tours above the city, its ports or the coastline are on offer.
On summer Sundays, it is possible to lower yourself down from the Euromast. On last Sundays of summermonths you can glide down in 15 seconds on a wire (tokkelen). Both: Not for the faint of heart!
Check the website of Heightspecialists 
The closest good beach is a short trainride (32 min) away at Hook of Holland. Trains leave Rotterdam Centraal station every half hour. Wait for the last station, Hoek van Holland Strand (strand = beach). Here you will find a very fine sand beach with good swimming and enough entertainment. Leave the town of Hoek van Holland proper to itself, there is nothing there.
For a more urban-party beach experience head to Scheveningen where you can find everything beach-party addicts dream about; Endless rows of beachside bars, restaurants and discoteques and a boulevard along a splendid fine-sand beach. It can get very crowded here. Take the train to Den Haag HS station and from there Tram 1, or take the train to Den Haag Centraal Station and Tram 9 subsequently.
Rotterdam plays host to a lot of events, a lot of them yearly ones. Besides these there are a lot smaller ones that can be very nice, so ask around and check the VVV website.
A few of these yearly events to name:
Rotterdam Unlimited a huge caribbean-oriented parade and party in the city centre in June, the former Dunya and Summer Carnival festival.
The sublime North Sea Jazz festival in July with loads of worldfamous artists.
The Racesalon in August, a streetrace formula 1 event.
Heerlijk Rotterdam three day event where you can sample dishes from Michelin-star restaurants for a reduced price (dates vary, summer edition usually late August, first winter edition in 2010 in January)
The World Port Days a weekend full of activities centered around the large harbour of Rotterdam (early September)
The classical music Gergiev festival in September, led by master-conductor Valery Gergiev.
For full listings of events check the website of the Rotterdam VVV; and Use-it .
Being a major harbour and having lots of waterways and lakes, Rotterdam has a lot to offer for water-enthousiasts.
Boating: There are four major lakes in Rotterdam. The Kralingse Plas, The double Bergse Plas, the Rottemeren and the Zevenhuizer Plas. All of them have active yachting communities and sometimes sailing races can be seen. The Zevenhuizer plas is mainly populated by Windsurf enthousiasts. Sailing boats can be rented at the Kralingse Plas at the Van Gent sailing school , Plaszoom, a 10 minute walk from Metro Voorschoterlaan (walk through the Julianalaan until you reach Plaszoom). Rowing- and sailing boats can be rented at the windmill at the very end of the eastern Rottekade at Van Vliet's (Rottemeren, go by car or bike, a very nice ride).
Yachting: When visiting Rotterdam with your own yacht you will find that most yachting harbours are on the inland waterways, were there are a lot of them. On the river Maas you will only find the City Marina , behind a bascule bridge on the southern bank, and the Veerhaven , right in the city center on the northern bank. Unless you need the better shelter of the characterless City Marina, go for the admittedly a little choppy Veerhaven marina, very central and scenic.
The main shopping areas in the center are the Lijnbaan and the Hoogstraat. Both are pedestrianised.
The Lijnbaan, which runs straight south from the Weena (close to Rotterdam Centraal) was the first pedestrianised shopping street in the world when it was built in 1953. Now it is more of an average shopping street with average shops. In weekends it's very crowded.
Linking the Lijnbaan with the Hoogstraat is the Beurstraverse, dubbed Koopgoot (Buying-gutter). A subterrainean passage, also connecting to Beurs metro station. It's all rather big and somewhat strange for a Dutch city, but it fits perfectly into the Rotterdam aspiration of being different. If you're looking for it, ask for the Koopgoot, as the official name is little known. A more alternative shopping experience could be found at Botersloot and Pannekoekstraat, which have many independent, some outright odd shops. Both streets run parallel to the east from the market square where Blaak metro and train station is located.
There are about 12 larger and smaller open air markets dotted around Rotterdam. Most of them are enjoyable places to walk through.
A nice place to visit is the inner City Market (Tue and Sat, in summer also on Sun a smaller version) which is a huge (about 450 stalls) open air food and hardware market. It's at the eastern end of the Hoogstraat on the Binnenrotte. Metro: Blaak. More exotic and colourful is the Afrikaanderplein Market (South of the river, Metro: Maashaven). This market is geared very much towards Rotterdam inhabitants of Antillian, South American or African descent (a lot of whom happen to live nearby). Wed and Sat, about 300 stalls.
The Beurstraverse gives direct access to the city's main department stores:
De Bijenkorf; This upmarket store offers a lot in terms of better clothing, perfumes, fashion articles, jewellery and the like. The store offers quality, but it comes at a price. Every year in October there's a special sale (called 3 dwaze dagen, the 3 mad days) during which you run the risk of being trampelled over by stampeding bargain hunters.
Vroom & Dreesmann; A more middle class department store. Rather lacking in allure, V&D as it is always called, is an average priced store that offers value. The assortment is rather broad and varies from food to children's games and clothing. A safe bet, but not special.
HEMA; This star of Dutch budget shopping has a limited range of clothing, food and hardware. HEMA has a reputation of delivering quality goods at very competitive prices. A lot of what it sells is of a fresh and bright design.
De Groene Passage is a collection of sustainable shops including a grocery store, restaurant, bookstore and butchery. Mariniersweg 1 – 33 near Blaak train- and metrostation.
Things to buy
Dutch cheese is very famous, you can get some at grocery stores or wider variety at the marketplace. Other typical Dutch things are stroopwafels, hagelslag and drop (liquorice).
The area around metrostation Blaak, called Oude haven (Old Harbour), is not only worth seeing but has also a lot of pubs and restaurants. The Rotterdam dining scene is developing very fast with new restaurants opening very often. While most of the attention focusses on new Michelin-star aspiring places, there is very much a trend towards high quality mid-range restaurants offering French/Dutch cuisine.
Angelo Betti, Schiekade 6a, ☎ +31 (10) 465 81 74. Mon-Sun: 4.00PM - 10.30PM. Italian kitchen and ice cream parlour. Whether you come for a dinner or a takeaway pizza, you always have to wait. But everything hre is definitely worth the wait! And what is so bad about having to wait a while when you can sit in the sun with a glass of great Italian wine in front of the restaurant? The good ingredients and the classy Italian waiters make the picture complete. In one word: fantastic!Three-course meal: €12.50 / table wine: €2.90 by the glass. edit
Lokanta Dunya, Proveniersstraat 40a, ☎ +31 (10) 243 06 69 (fax: +31 (10) 243 09 31), . Mon-Sun: 12.00AM - 11.00PM; Sat-Sun: no lunch. The first floor is much like a Turkish market square. It is fully decorated and cozy, the fake balcony and window pane complete the market square. Through a small staircase you reach the ‘living room’. Tip: Enjoy the fresh baked bread before you start your dinner. They have a wood stove that gives the food that extra authentic taste; some great wood-heated meals are stuffed zucchini and stuffed kofte. This place is comparable to the Wereld Eethuis Bazar in the Witte de Withstraat 16. However, if you are looking for more intimacy, good and honest food and superb service, this place is where you want to go!Three-course meal: €20.00 / table wine: €2.15 by the glass. edit
Restaurant Café Lux, 's-Gravendijkwal 133, ☎ +31 (10) 476 22 06 (fax: +31 (10) 476 00 69), . Mon-Sat: 6.00PM - 11.00PM; Sun: 5.30PM - 11.00PM. Nicely decorated Italian restaurant where you don’t just drop by for a simple pizza. As a matter of fact, they don’t even serve pizza. With the fine use of herbs, garlic and more interesting stuff that the Italian kitchen has to offer, it is almost impossible to not like this food. The personal is professional and for what you get the prices are actually not too bad. In summer you can eat outside (there is a small terrace at the back). A nice feature of this restaurant is that the kitchen is open until 11:00PM, something that is not very common in Rotterdam. For sure you’re going to love this one!Three-course meal: €35.00 / table wine: €2.60 by the glass. edit
Restaurant Soit, 's-Gravendijkwal 136b, ☎ +31 (10) 436 31 14 (email@example.com), . Sun-Thu: 5.30PM - 9.30PM; Fri-Sat: 5.30PM - 10.30PM. When you follow the Nieuwe Binnenweg towards the west side of Rotterdam and u take a left on the 's-Gravendijkwal you don't expect to find a nice cosy restaurant like Soit. This restaurant is well known for their staff. The smile of the hostess towards her customers is genuine; she knows that they're going to enjoy their dinner. It is not really cheap and can be compared with Eten. They have a nice mix of French, Dutch, and Asian food. Definitely a good place for romantic dinners. Don't forget to make a reservation!Three-course meal: €29.00 / table wine: €2.75 by the glass. edit
Stalles, Nieuwe Binnenweg 9, ☎ +31 (0)10 4361655. This café at the offers pizza's for € 4,50-7,00 on Mondays and Tuesdays. The atmosphere in the restaurant is relaxed and friendly. The menu furthermore features salads, sandwiches, tapas and more... The owner also owns Club Vibes, around the corner. edit
Restaurant Amarone, Meent 72 (near the City Hall (Stadhuis)), ☎ +31 (0)10 4148487, . A culinary gem in the very heart of the city, this stylish restaurant needs to be booked well in advance. Very rewarding french cuisine. Valet parking.About €50 for 3 courses. edit
Rotown, ☎ +31 (0)10 4362669. This is 'the' place in town for creative people. Or it used to be, because lots of people now go to the next-door café's Stalles and Parket. Rotown has a restaurant with decent food for a decent price. The daily changing menu (meat, fish and vegeterian) costs around € 9,-- and usually you'll get something nice. After eating you can go watch a band or drink your drink in the café.edit
Bierhandel De Pijp, Gaffelstraat 90 (Take Tram 4 to the Bloemkwekerstraat stop on the Nieuwe Binnenweg), ☎ +31 (0)10 4366896. daily 12.00-14.00 and 17.30-00. Closed on Sun and festive days and Sat afternoon. Prepare yourself for something special when visiting this famous eatery. The outside is absolutely rundown (so is the interior) and you must convince yourself to really push open the dark door. Once inside you will be welcomed by waiters in white and you will be allocated directly next to other visitors on benches. Good food is served (traditional Dutch and French fare), cooked in the same space that you're sitting. The place is frequented by Rotterdam businessmen and students and guests should fit in in terms of behaviour and appearance.(Mick Jagger was famously denied acces here for not being a gentleman.)From €30 for 3 courses. edit
Café Restaurant Sijf, Oude Binnenweg 115. In weekend open till 2:00.. Very nice old-looking bar. They also serve food for a reasonable price and most of the food is home made. Try the grilled beef with Spanish pepper and garlic! Or have one of their great sandwiches or salads. Wanna have a nice Belgium beer that gets u all fuzzy? They have a awesome Belgium beer called “la Chouffe” (the midget) on draft... Very tasty! A good start for the evening.edit
Zinc Restaurant, Calandstraat 12a (Take Tram 7 to Westplein and walk 4 minutes from there), ☎ +31 (0) 10 43 66 579, . Tue-Sun 18.00-00.00. Located in a very pleasant area called Scheepvaartkwartier this nice little (crammed) place offers good cuisine for a very good price. There is no á la carte dining, but a fixed menu with a limited choice per course (always 3 courses). The kitchen is French and Dutch oriented and focusses on traditional fresh seasonal ingredients. Reserve your table as it's often fully booked.€ 27,50 for 3 courses. edit
Werelds Restaurant, Witte de Withstraat 81, ☎ +31 (0)10 4121652. 11AM-11PM. Amazing fish and chips on a Monday and Tuesday, and Irish stew is great.€15 for 3 courses. edit
Restaurant Parkheuvel, Heuvellaan 21 (Metro Dijkzigt + a short walk through the 'Park'), ☎ +31 (0)10 4360530, . This sublime Michelin 2 star is the best place in town. Very nice views and service to match.From €75 for 3 courses. edit
El Aviva, Schiedanseweg 22, . KAPSALON is a wonderful variation of Shoarma that was invented at this resturant in Rotterdam. It has now become famous all over the Netherlands. A delicious, greasy meal! €4,00-7,00edit
De Rotterdam (ss Rotterdam), 3e Katendrechtse hoofd 25, ☎ 0900-337 68 83, . At the Rotterdam are two fine restaurants and a bar. When the weather is nice there is a great terrace with a view. Before the F&B you can book a tour. Or even better, spend the night at this fabulous cruiseship.edit
Open, Jacobusstraat 215, ☎ +31 (10) 213 62 57. A great place to have a soup or salad. The food looks great and tastes even better. The prices are around 10-12 euro.edit
Nightlife in Rotterdam is extremely varied, every subculture has its own area in the city. The Oude Haven (close to the Kubuswoningen) and the main market square Blaak are the hang out spot for business, economic and law students. The cafés and restaurants in the Oude Haven (Old Harbour) are located around a picturesque little harbour. Scenery of water, city lights, boats and Het Witte Huis, the first skyscraper of Europe (1897). The atmosphere is really great and it is best to go when the sun sets, very romantic! Great place for a night out.
Close to the Oude Haven area, the streets around the Pannenkoekstraat have recently emerged as a new center for shopping and going out. Amidst small boutiques, selling clothes and interior design by young, upcoming designers, you can find cocktailbars such as Level or Soho, which both attract large crowds. Espeically in the summer this is a great place for a mojito.
The most lively bar area in town is Eendrachtsplein/Nieuwe Binnenweg. Alternative, easy going and full of friendly, open-minded people. The cafés you should be looking for are Stalles, Parket and Rotown. This is the place to be for the more creative orientated people, musicians, designers and artschool students.
Walk down de Nieuwe Binnenweg and arrive at Café Ari (Nieuwe Binnenweg/Mathenesserlaan) and Westerpaviljoen (grand café with the best terrace in the city). This is a good place to start the evening. Walk a little bit (3 minutes) down the Binnenweg again and go left at ‘s-Gravendijkwal (you'll see the flashy neon lights of sexclub OQ). Across the street you'll find Jazz Cafe Dizzy. A great place for a quality beer and some live jazz music. You can also eat at almost all places mentioned.
Now walk back the Binnenweg up eastbound. Cross Eendrachtsplein and go to the right towards the Westersingel. Walk 3 minutes and on your left there is the Witte de Withstraat. Some nice café's like De Witte Aap, Mondriaan, Bar P, and De Schouw are located here, along with some good restaurants as well. This is also the most arty street of Rotterdam. Here you'll find Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art , MAMA, showroom for media and moving art  and many more. Drinking in style!
The Hofplein area, just east from Central Station on both sides of the train tracks, recently emerged on the nightlife map after a gentrification project. It attracts a creative crowd, mostly art students. Main attraction is the formerly vacant office building Schieblok, with the Berlin-esque BAR, that hosts underground techno nights. They do good food, too. Behind the building is the Bavarian style Biergarten. To find the Schieblok, look for the massive wooden pedestrian bridge across the road that leads north from Hofplein. Around the corner is also the massive and somewhat tacky club Hollywood, that boasts everything from top 40 to hardstyle to a teenage crowd. North from the train tracks is the Hofbogen, underneath the former Hofplein train station. It houses a bunch of cafés and clubs, including BIRD, that plays jazz and funkie house till late. On the roof there's an open air cinema.
If you're into loud music, your best option would be to go to De Baroeg  at the "Spinozaweg" in Rotterdam-Lombardijen. Loads of heavy metal acts play here each year. Should you not feel like making your way all the way into sub-urbia, you could also try your luck at the Rhythem on Oude Binnenweg. A popular hang out of alternative types.
The clubscene in Rotterdam is well-renowned. For example, it gave birth to the gabber-housescene in the early 1990's and was home to the Now&Wow, one of the world's trendiest clubs. The Now&Wow is now defunct, but in its last lcoation, an old grain silo near metro station Maashaven, there are still numerous dance parties. Just as with the barscene, there are clubs that cater for different groups of people. Moreover, Rotterdam nightlife is very dynamic: places come and go, move around, change ownership, etc. Currently, it is mostly centered around:
Kruiskade: clubs as Off Corso (housed in an old cinema) and Thalia Lounge have good parties over the weekends and mostly attract 20-somethings.
Stadhuisplein: number of bars and disco's that are more directed towards the working class.
Delftsestraat: the Hollywood is a large disco that fills up quickly in weekends with an overall somewhat younger crowd. The Apres Ski Hut recreates the atmosphere of Tirol in the same colourless street.
Some listings that can be found around these places:
Club Vie, near the old harbour area, is a more stylish, trendy club, which also offers nice views over the Maas river.
Stalles, Nieuwe Binnenweg 11a. A small bar next to Parket. They serve a large variety of single malt whiskys. It's pretty small, but very cosy. edit
Will’ns en Wetens, Nieuwe Binnenweg 111-A. Forgot your name, can hardly walk, and had so much beer that you can’t see the difference between your socks and underpants? No worries! When all bars are closed you can always go to the Will’ns en Wetens. You don’t want to be around there when you're sober, you don’t want to be around there when you hate drunk people and maybe even under the influence of other products, but you DO want to be around when you like burping, like whiskey (40 kinds), like weird conversations, and like Heineken! Open till the last person walks out.edit
Grand café Westerpaviljoen, Nieuwe Binnenweg 136. Open till 2:00 in the weekend. Rotterdammers like to read their newspaper here. For a solid breakfast (Dutch “wentelteefjes”), good lunch, or a fast meeting Westerpaviljoen is a perfect place. Hang out on their huge and fantastic terrace, drink a nice glass of Amstel or Hoegaarden White beer.edit
Le Vagabond, Nieuwe Binnenweg 99, ☎ +31 (0)10 4365293, . The oldest, but best bar of the Binnenweg. It attracts a mixed crowd of musicians, journalists, students and travellers. The atmosphere is very laid back during the afternoon, but at night there are various activities being organised. Thursdays and Saturdays there are DJ's who organise HipHop and Britpop parties which are definitely worth a visit if you want to party it up. Every Sunday there is live music by a great variety of bands.edit
Café De Witte Aap, Witte de Withstraat 78 (Metro: Eendrachtsplein), . Voted as best bar of the world by Lonely Planet readers this classic Rotterdam pub (The White Monkey) draws a very varied and often too large crowd for its premises. It's a cool place to have a few drinks before dinner or before exploring the rest of this very lively neigbourhood.edit
Café De Unie, (Metro: Eendrachtsplein). This restaurant/café/art society is a Rotterdam institute. Housed in a magnificent building reminiscent to a Mondriaan painting it also hosts all kinds of cultural venues and parties. A good place to have coffee too.edit
Pol Bar, Meent 46-48. In weekends open till 2:00. Nice looking bar with modern solid patio. Crowd can be sort of posh sometimes, but don’t let that scare you too much. Right next to the market (Tuesday and Thursday), and they won some prices with their sandwiches.edit
Exit, Mauritsstraat 173 (From Metro Eendrachtsplein walk up the Oude Binnenweg. It's the seceond street on your left), . A fairly recently opened bar. On Thursday through Saturday this place offers live music. Most of the bands you'll find here are new yet-to-be-discovered-soon type of bands. You may be charged a small cover charge, but most of the time it is worth it. Check their website to know what's on.edit
O'Shea's Irish Pub, Lijnbaan. This Irish pub is in many ways quite typical. On Friday and Saturday nights the place is quite often overflowing with a decent mixture of the average going-out-partying type of young men and ladies. Tuesday nights they host a pub quiz with prizes to be won. On most other nights it's a bit more quiet and you can meet some interesting characters in there. Thursday through Saturday this place hosts live music which can be anything between really good and sheer crap. If you're lucky there might be a jam session on Sunday nights which usually is enjoyable. Under the new management it has lost its original atmosphere and it's more of a Dutch pub now.edit
Dynamo. Muzikantencentrum Dynamo is a place which rents out rehearsal rooms and a studio to musicians. It also has a bar that operates as late as the bar staff decide to make it. It is located a bit of the beaten track and is one of Rotterdam's secrets (over 95% of the locals don't even know about it!). It's location won't be disclosed here, but if you're lucky enough you might find someone who can take you there.edit
De Pui, Oostzeedijk Beneden 221 (Metro: Oostplein), . Very nice bar in a corner building in the heart of Kralingen. Recognizable by the distinguished red awnings. There are students there, but it is not a student pub. There are musicians there, but it is not a musicians cafe. There are businessmen there, but that makes it no business cafe. It is the mixture of people and taste, that makes it so enjoyable.edit
Tiki's, Hartmansstraat 16/A (between Witte de Withstraat and Westblaak). Don't let the cheesy Hawaiian interior put you off. Frequented by an alternative arty crowd, with rockabilly and ska (and occasionally Ethiopian jazz) on the loudspeakers. Cocktails and small dinner menu.edit
LaBru, Hartmansstraat 18. Next to Tiki's, this cool bar-slash-art gallery is decorated with art and vintage furniture and attracts an older crowd. Menu includes a huge selection of remarkable beers, wine and spirits and the bartender here knows what he's doing.edit
As everywhere in The Netherlands, the possession (of small quantities) and use of cannabis (hash and weed) is tolerated in Rotterdam. Since Amsterdam draws more coffee-shop tourism prices are lower in Rotterdam.
Some renowned places:
Coffeeshop "Pluto" (Nieuwe Binnenweg 139a) Actually a headshop. They also sell loads of paraphernalia like pipes, bongs etc.
Coffeeshop "Greenhouse" (Nieuwe Binnenweg) Ditto.
Coffeeshop "The Reefer" (De Meent, City center)
Coffeeshop "The Pool" (Westersingel, 5m from Central Station) A nice Coffeeshop located on the 1st floor where you can sit and relax by a table or bar. Or play some pool on the 2nd and 3rd floor.
Coffeeshop "Nemo" (Nieuwe Binnenweg) Unlike many coffeeshops this place is bright, open and airy with large windows and comfortable seats; the walls are covered in a (Disney) Nimo-esque montage and the music is more relaxed than many coffeeshops. A good place for someone wanting something softer than many other coffeeshops.
Please remember that possesing large quantities of hasheesh or cannabis is a crime in The Netherlands, and please do not take stuff with you when leaving The Netherlands (you can be punished severely in neigbouring countries). It's also unwise to buy for someone else, especially if it's a foreigner as you can be punished in his or her country of origin (it has happened).
A noteworthy fact is that smoking tobacco is currently banned inside food and drink establishments — even coffeeshops! That being said, tobacco smoking appears to be tolerated in coffee shops, and their pre-rolled joints are often mixed with tobacco.
Stadscamping Rotterdam, Kanaalweg 84 (Bus 33 (Airport) or 40 (Delft) from Rotterdam Centraal Station, metro stop Blijdorp or busstop Blijdorpplein), ☎ +31 (0)10 - 4159772 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +31 (0)10 - 4373215), . The Rotterdam City Camping is located just northwest of the center. For camping near the city it's the only option. There are a lot of trees to give shelter from sun or wind. Basic facilities. Little chalets (2/4 persons) can be rented too.Tent € 5,--, Person € 6,--. edit
hostel Ani & Haakien, Coolsestraat 47 (From Central Station take the first right called Weena. Go straight on and Walk 500 mtr go left where you see the big green building you enter the COOLSESTRAAT. Walk till you find nr 47-49! There you are!), ☎ 00 (31) 6 188 797 19, . checkin: 24/7; checkout: 11.00. Hostel Ani & Haakien is the best located hostel in Rotterdam. In this comfortable hostel filled with cool "grandma’s stuff" we offer travellers a place to meet in an old fashioned, intimate and artistic atmosphere. You find this cozy hostel just 5 min walk from Central Station in the middle of Downtown. Surrounded by a mix of cultures, cheap shops and places te eat. Some facts: Comfortable living room, well equipped guest kitchen, Sunny garden with hammock!!, Double rooms & Dorms, Lockers with power outlet, Bike rental, Free wifi (also in your room)from 16 euro. edit
Hostel ROOM Rotterdam, Van Vollenhovenstraat 62, ☎ +31 (10) 282 72 77 (email@example.com, fax: +31 (10) 240 07 40), . checkin: 24/7; checkout: 24/7. Hostel ROOM Rotterdam is in the city center in the popular district named Scheepvaartkwartier enclosed by the river Maas, the Erasmus bridge, the Westzeedijk and the park at the Euromast. In a 1920's Art Deco building they offer 16 theme rooms (like the Port room, Festival room, Dutch Delight), a lively bar, guestkichen, common room, etc. From the hostel everything in Rotterdam is just a doorstep away. Member of the I-hostels network Prices start at 15€. edit
Hostel de Mafkees, Vijverhofstraat 47, ☎ +31 (10) 2409158 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . checkin: 14.00; checkout: 11.30. Hostel de Mafkees offers great value accomodation in three spacious rooms. Prices start from €12.50 per night, including breakfast and taxes. Linen is not included, but you can bring your own sleeping bag or rent some. The hostel is integrated with Use-it, a service- and information center for backpackers and international students. Here you can get local city info for travelers on a budget and rent a bike.€12.50. edit
Stayokay Rotterdam (Cubic Houses), Overblaak 85-87 (Metro: Blaak), ☎ +31 (0)10 436 57 63 (email@example.com), . Clean, safe and easy to find. Since they are in the world-famous Cubic Houses, all the rooms are different shapes and nothing is 'square'. Surrounded by bars and concrete, party noises are amplified and bounced into your room. Not a problem if you plan on staying out late...edit
Eurohotel Centrum, Baan 14-20, ☎ +31 (10) 214 19 22 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +31 (10) 214 01 87), . A double room starts at €79 per night, breakfast included. edit
Grand Hotel Central, Kruiskade 12, ☎ +31 (10) 414 07 44 (email@example.com, fax: +31 (10) 412 53 25), . A double room starts at €75 per night, breakfast included. edit
Hotel Baan, Rochussenstraat 345, ☎ +31 (10) 477 05 55 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +31 (10) 476 94 50), . A double room starts at €78 per night, breakfast included. edit
Hotel Bazar, Witte de Withstraat 16 (Metro: Beurs or Churchillplein), ☎ +31 (0)10-2065151 (email@example.com, fax: +31 (0)10-2065159), . Get in touch with real Rotterdam multiculturalism in this splendidly decorated place. Do not forget to dine here too. Ideally situated in the lively Witte de Withstraat.Doubles from €75,--, breakfast included. edit
Maritime Hotel, Willemskade 13 (Metro: Leuvehaven from where it's a short walk to the riverside), . This no-nonsense 3 star has an excellent location directly on the riverquay in the interesting Scheepvaartkwartier neighbourhood.Doubles from €75 per night, breakfast included. edit
Hotel New York, Koninginnenhoofd 1, ☎ +31 (10) 439 05 00 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +31 (10) 484 27 01), . The former headquarters of the Holland Amerika Lijn, was done up somewhere in 1993 and is still a hip and lively place. Rooms start at €105 per night and are worth it.edit
Best Western Crown Hotel, Schiekade 658, ☎ +31 10 4663344 (email@example.com), . The Crown hotel is situated a little bit out of the city center on the (very) busy Schiekade street. Best Western standard quality.Doubles from € 120,--. edit
Rotterdam City Hotel, Schilderstraat, ☎ +31 10 720 8000 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . The Rotterdam City Hotel is located in the city center of Rotterdam and offers nice and modern rooms. They also have a fantastic lounge bar and restaurant.Doubles from € 135,--. edit
Golden Tulip Rotterdam-Centre, Leuvehaven 80 (Metro: Leuvehaven), ☎ +31 (0)10 413 41 39 (email@example.com, fax: +31 (0)10 413 32 22), . The Golden Tulip offers commanding vieuws of harbour and the Erasmus Bridge. The modern building is indeed very remarkable.From € 125,-- for a double. edit
MyCityLofts, City Center Rotterdam, ☎ +31 6 38304873 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Stay in a comfortable loft apartment in Rotterdam city center. As comfortable as a hotel room, with all the same services, but much more spacious! Fully equipped kitchens, a lounge area, dining table and separate bedrooms. And as much service as you can handle! edit
Bilderberg Parkhotel Rotterdam, Westersingel 70 (Metro: Eendrachtsplein), ☎ +31 (10) 436 36 11 (email@example.com, fax: +31 (10) 436 42 12), . The somewhat stately Parkhotel has a reputation of offering real value. It's location is very practical too, just off the lively Witte de Withstraat and close to the major museums.edit
The Manhattan Hotel Rotterdam, Weena 686 (Rotterdam Centraal Station), ☎ +31 (10) 430 20 00 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +31 (10) 430 20 01), . This towering high rise is located just across Rotterdam Centraal. Luxurious rooms that are some times to be had for as little as € 100,-. Check the site (walk-ins pay far more)edit
The telephone country code for the Netherlands is 31, and Rotterdam's city code is 010. If making local calls to reserve hotel rooms or restaurants, or calls to other cities in the country, you will need a phone card (€5 minimum) as many green KPN telephone booths do not accept coins. Blue/orange Telfort booths accept both coins and cards. The KPN booths are currently being replaced by newer models, which will accept coins again.
In case of an Emergency, dial 1-1-2 from any public phone for free. Be advised, however, that with the rise of cell phone use, many public phones have been removed, and can therefore be hard to come by.
When staying for a longer time, buy a prepaid sim card for your mobile phone.
You should take normal precautions against pickpockets and baggage theft, especially in the main shopping streets, at markets, in trams and trains, at stations, and anywhere where tourists congregate.
It is not wise to hang around Stadhuisplein when nightlife ends. Fights often occur in this area after midnight. Rotterdam also has a reputation of mass venues getting out of hand, though you shouldn't worry too much about it. If violence breaks out at football festivities (not so unlikely) or at the end of sun soaked festive days, like Queensday (even less unlikely, especially at the Stadhuisplein), just get out of the way and you're unlikely to be affected. It's advisable not to wear a football jersey of Ajax Amsterdam or any other stuff promoting Ajax or Amsterdam.
In terms of general safety, at daylight most areas in the city are safe. But at night, some areas such as Spangen, Oude Noorden, Oude Westen and all area's in the South of Rotterdam are wise to avoid.
When you drive a car with a foreign numberplate (especially if it's a French or Belgian one) you might or will be approached by so called drugsrunners. This can occur on the motorways surrounding the city and in the city proper. These guys try to lure people to places were drugs are dealt. Do not respond to their signals and do not follow them.
If you do not have a car, the hub for leaving the city will allmost invariably be Centraal Station from where trains leave in all directions at short intervals (so you can generally drop in and catch the next train to your destination). Most regional and longer distance buses leave here too, with the exception of most buses to southerly destinations and the province of Zeeland that leave from Zuidplein Metrostation. Contrary to trains bustimes should be checked in advance as they can sometimes be far and between.
Nearby destinations like Schiedam or even Delft can also be reached by bike if you fancy a somewhat longer ride. Bike routes and directions are well marked and available in abundance. A good idea for a sunny day! Schiedam can be reached by metro in 15 minutes too.
Historic center of Schiedam including the 6 tallest windmills of the world. In the historic center you can also find the attractive Stedelijk Museum with nice modern art exhibitions. Easily reached by bicycle, or take the train from Rotterdam Centraal Station to Schiedam Centrum, or metro A, B or C line to Schiedam Centrum station, or tramlines 21 or 23, Broersvest or Koemarkt stop.
Historic town of Delft, a 15 min. trainride from Rotterdam Centraal Station. Very historic and scenic, but a little bit touristy.
Historic Town of Dordrecht, a 20 min. trainride, or even better, take the Waterbus (see Get around). A magnificent historic town with little tourism and an ecellent old art museum .
Visit the small picture postcard town of Gouda and see the magnificent stained glass windows in St. Johns church, an UNESCO monument . Also 20 minutes by train.
There is a small hill at Carnisselande, near the final stop of Tram route 25. It's only 30 feet high but if you climb to the top it gives you breathtaking views of the entire city of Rotterdam, and the countryside to the South of it
Delta works. The Delta Works consist of a range of big works in coastal defence of which the Oosterschelde surge barrier is the most impressive.edit
Neeltje Jans, (From the Rotterdam Ring motorway follow the A15 towards Europoort. Take exit 12 to Brielle/Middelburg/N57. Follow the N57 and after 10 km you will reach the Haringvlietdam. Keep on following the N57 and you will cross the Brouwersdam, and after 20km more the Oosterschelde surge barrier. Neeltje Jans is indicated there), . Water theme park at the Oosterschelde storm surge barrier.edit
Windmills of Kinderdijk, where 19 windmills still help to control the water level. Windmill number 2 is open to the public (€3), allowing you to see the inner workings. Arriva bus 90 from bus and metro station Zuidplein will get you there in 50 minutes. Kinderdijk is also accessible by boat  from the city centre (near Erasmus bridge).
Visit the medieval fortified town of Brielle. The center is a nice ensemble of old houses and churches, enclosed by the original earthen defensive walls. There are some museums and the Roman Catholic shrine of the Martyrs of Gorcum. Walking around town and fortifications is a treat. You can easily spend the day in Brielle. Take bus 103 at the Spijkenisse Centrum Metro station. All in all the ride is 70 minutes from Rotterdam.