The second-largest city in the Netherlands, Rotterdam is home to some 1.6 million people. A major international centre of commerce, Rotterdam’s main claim to fame is its sprawling port that connects the North Sea with the rest of Europe. In fact, Rotterdam was ranked the world’s busiest port up until 2004 when that distinction was passed to Shanghai.
Coupled with Rotterdam’s rich history, this enormous port area makes the city a popular port of call for both cruise ships and river cruise ships alike.
Like many European cities, World War II had a devastating effect on Rotterdam. Following the German invasion in 1940, the town centre was nearly destroyed and almost one thousand people were killed. Rather than trying to recover what was lost, the city rebuilt in the postwar years by tearing down old or bombed-out buildings. The result today is a city that is at once historic and modern, and one which changes its appearance on a street-by-street basis.
Your River Cruise Ship Docks…
As with many river cruise ports, you’re not far from the action in Rotterdam. Ships typically tie up at various locations within the Port of Rotterdam, all of which are close to the action in this fantastic city.
When in Rotterdam…
This friendly Dutch city offers numerous possibilities for those arriving by river cruise ship:
- City Hall – one of the few central Rotterdam buildings to survive the German bombings of 1940, City Hall was constructed in 1914 and is open today from 8am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday. Admission costs nothing, and it can be pleasant to stroll the grounds around city hall and explore the interior spaces open to the public.
- De Verwoeste Stad Statue- Erected in 1953 by sculptor Ossip Zadkine, the Destroyed City statue still evokes strong feelings in Rotterdam. The inspiration for the cubist statue depicting a man in agony came from the aforementioned destruction during World War II.
- Het Schielandshuis– This museum boasts the distinction of being the only 17th Century structure still standing in downtown Rotterdam. Popular today with tourists, Het Schielandshuis was also popular with Napoleon Bonaparte, who slept here while visiting his troops when they occupied the Netherlands.
- S.S. Rotterdam – the former flagship of the Holland America Line is now permanently moored in the port of Rotterdam. She has been restored to her original splendour and functions as a floating hotel and convention centre. An absolute must-see for any maritime or cruise fanatic.
River Cruisers Should Know!
- The currency in the Netherlands is the Euro (€).
- Crime is generally not an issue in Rotterdam; still, it pays to exercise the same degree of caution you would in any major city.
- Like Amsterdam, Rotterdam has a number of coffeeshops that specialize in cannabis, or pot. While their use is permitted in small quantities in the Netherlands, possession of moderate to large amounts is a criminal offense. If you do indulge, do so safely and do not, under any circumstances, try to bring any with you to another country, by air or otherwise. Also be aware that some cities, like Singapore, have a zero-tolerance policy to many drugs that result in an automatic death penalty for trafficking, regardless of the quantity.