When people plan to go the the Netherlands it is mainly to visit Amsterdam. The city that seems to be so fascinating that no one can miss out on visiting it at least once in their lives. With the charming little channels it is the picture of the country. I think it is time to change this. With the city I was lucky enough to call home for a year: Rotterdam.
All people think about when it comes to this city is the biggest harbour in Europe, without a doubt it has a big influence on the culture and mindset of the real “natives” of the city. Nevertheless, there is so much more to it than that. I could probably gush about the beauty at the Maas river for hours but I want to give you a quick run of my SPF. (Shops, Places and Food) You won’t be needing the real SPF as the sun hardly shines, if it does decide to come out there is no place like R’dam. So let’s get started shall we?
I’m not sure if you are already aware of that but I do enjoy to stroll around in shops and see what’s the newest trend. Rotterdam has loads of small indie shops that are totally worth a shoutout. The shop where I could go in every single day and still be obsessed with is Hutspot. It is a concept store where you get brands like Matt & Nat, Samsøe & Samsøe and Second Female. It is a very scandi inspired gem with beautiful jewelry as well as home bits. Don’t get me started on the clothes, just get me everything and you will be forever in my favour. Guess what, there is another concept store on the list, this time it is Sissy-Boy. It is kind of hidden but located really central just a couple of steps away from the before-mentioned. I love it for the relaxed vibe, great smelling hand-soap and great inspiration which is always provided for. Especially if you want something special, you’ll be in good hands here. I couldn’t for the life of me ignore the fact that one of my favourite brands atm is actually from the Netherlands and their store in my old home town is just perfectly intimate with great staff. I’m obviously talking about Scotch & Soda, a brand I am sure most of you know and if you don’t you should! It is the essence of Dutch style in one brand. Very timeless, yet always on trend. Just to die for pieces and quality! Not to miss are also Dille & Kamille, Søestrene Grene and the all-time-classic Hema for anything ranging from homeware, interior bits or straight up anything you are still missing.
Enough of the shops, even though I could go on a bit with those. On to my favourite spots in the city, some will undoubtedly be tourist spots others just places I loved to go. The place I loved so much I got a year card to go there whenever I felt like it, was the Euromast. The wind up there clears your head, the view is like no other right on to the skyline of Maashatten and the sunsets are just something else. In contrast to this rather modern construct is a place for summer BBQ’s or wintery strolls: Kralingse Bos. It is a massive lake surrounded by one side with classical windmills, a beach on the opposite site and more than enough trees for a proper session of hide and seek. If you walk to the most northern point of it you will be able to see the skyline of the city and yet feel like in the countryside. The park makes the perfect place for BBQ sessions for the few sunny days that need to be used properly! Rotterdam’s city center is rather modern with loads of skyscrapers, if you are longing for a more classical Dutch atmosphere you’ll feel right at home in my old neigbourhood of Delfshaven. There are still a couple of traditional houses right next to a canal giving the picture perfect image of the Netherlands. I will have some food/drink spots that will double as one of my preferred places in the city, so do not fear.
Food & Drinks
I realized halfway through writing this article that a couple of my places are not on there for the food but for the drinks. Working for a HousingAnywhere, a start-up with mainly 20-somethings working there, I went out for drinks far more often than not. The number one on my list must be the Saturday/Tuesday market and the Markthal in the city center. It was one of the things I grew to love so fondly, together with being able to pay with card everywhere, and really miss back in Germany. Strolling through the market on a Saturday morning and buying fruits, veggies, meats and a snack along the way is the perfect way to start the weekend. If you feel more fancy just head to the next door Markthal for treats from around the world in the architectural masterpiece. (Don’t miss out on the Saucisson stand to get you the french feeling!) I couldn’t possibly make this article without mentioning the place I spent most of my summer evenings: BIERGARTEN! One of the many perks being that the winter escape for After-After-Work-Drinks Bar (yes there is a bar called Bar in Rotterdam) is part of it and it is across the street from my former office. it is easily reached by a walk on the Highline or Luchtsingel of Rotterdam. On warm summer days you have the feeling all of Rotterdam is meeting up there to get the typical afterwork Beer and chat in, but the vibe is great and definitely not to miss!
A bit of a more foodie must-go is Little V right next to Laurenskerk. Great food, delish drinks and just a super cool interior makes this place a total gem. Pro-Tip: Go for their Menu chosen by the Chef, so you do not have to decide what to eat but get a bit of all the heavenly Vietnamese treats! I have to mention another great spot for Mexican food and nice drinks: Popocatepetl. It’s a tongue twister so I normally just call it Popo. Great dishes, nice views on the Oude Haven and super cool interior make a not to miss restaurant out of this place. If you are already in the area a must go for drinks is, and I won’t argue with anyone about this, NOAH! Why? Because of the cocktails, duh. Amazing signature blends, cool vibes and always a recommendation for your specific taste if you just can’t decide. Trust me you won’t be able to decide. My favourite at this hangout is the Zakje and I can tell you with confidence that once the co-workers tried it most of them had to have one of them as well. If you want more recommendations on Lunch or Brunch spots in Rotterdam check out my other blog posts.
As you might be able to tell I could go on and on about all of the three categories. But I will stop here. For now. But not without mentioning some places that are totally worth checking out as well. First up five words: Witte de With and Wunderbar. Locus, Panzero, de Ijssalon, Pomms’, Shabu Shabu and Vibes complete the list at least for this time. If you are heading to or living in my old home town, I’m happy to share some more info and recommendations with you, just hit me up!