Rotterdam Local Customs

  • Photo op of Michael
    Photo op of Michael
    by windoweb
  • Local Customs
    by berenices
  • Vijverlaan - Kralingen, Rotterdam
    Vijverlaan - Kralingen, Rotterdam
    by ATLC

Best Rated Local Customs in Rotterdam

  • ATLC's Profile Photo

    Kapsalon (hairdressers): a snack that's hot

    by ATLC Written Jan 22, 2008

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The fast food snack called 'Kapsalon' is a new Rotterdam invention. A Rotterdam-West invention, in fact. It started in shoarma shop, and it was invented by a Capeverdian guy called Tati. He's a hairdresser. Every day he would order a shoarma and fries in one container, from the next door shoarma shop (El Aviva in Delfshaven, Rotterdam) . This order became known as 'kapsalon'.

    Now, what is it?
    It's takeaway fast food: fries with shoarma meat on top and cheese. Then a whole load of garlic sauce and sambal (chili sauce). Then into the oven and finally lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber are added on top.

    The snack has become popular with the young people that enjoy Rotterdam nightlife. Before going home they will order this snack against the almost certain hangover that they'll have the next morning.
    Popularity has spread over the whole country. All over customers are begging their local shoarma joints to start selling 'kapsalon'. There's even a kapsalon group on Hyves, the Dutch online community.

    Finally I understand what the sign means, outside our local shoarma shop around the corner. We already have 'kapsalon' in my hometown Brielle!

    Related to:
    • Food and Dining

    Was this review helpful?

  • ATLC's Profile Photo

    Shaved ice

    by ATLC Written Aug 14, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    ROTTERDAM SHAVED ICE CART

    This is actually a local custom from Suriname but you see them around Rotterdam a lot these days, especially during the extremely hot summer of 2003.
    The carts are loaded with a huge block of solid frozen water. When you buy, you get a plastic cup filled with ice shavings (a bit like the modern slush) and covered with one or two cordial flavours (tamarinde is my favourite). Filled up with a splash of milk or water and a straw. For 1, 50 euro you see all!

    Related to:
    • Food and Dining

    Was this review helpful?

  • ATLC's Profile Photo

    Afrikaander Tapes

    by ATLC Updated Aug 26, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Afrikaanderwijk, Rotterdam
    2 more images

    An off the beaten path interactive audio tour for people that understand Dutch. The website lets you download a map and about 200 small MP3 files that explain everything about the downtown neighbourhood Afrikaanderwijk. Known for it's multicultural population, recent renovations, the interaction between people from Turkey, Morocco, Cape Verde.... discover hidden mosques for the Turks or the Pakistani, a Hindu temple. Discover city life and the complexities of such a neighbourhood, what the city government offers, and much more. The audio tour is hosted by Farid Boukakar, a Moroccan guy who grew up in the neighbourhood.

    Have a look here for an interactive map.

    You can also walk the route with a handheld PDA with GPS. For that you need to contact Rotterdam Roots, ticket information below, on working days between 9-17.30 hrs.
    The starting point is the library at Afrikaanderwijk, address: Bibliotheek Afrikaanderwijk, Paul Krugerstraat 61, Rotterdam (see photo 4). Daily, except Sundays, Tuesdays and 25/26 December.

    I walked the free version with an MP3 player, which took about 3 hours and had great fun.
    Enjoy the following tips.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Imbi's Profile Photo

    Bicycles

    by Imbi Written May 19, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    Would you believe that we could cut down pollution on our Earth on by half if we cut down use of cars/other vehicles. I think Rotterdam people know about it and they are on a mission. You could see everywhere people using bicycles instead of cars and other vehicles.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • ATLC's Profile Photo

    Afrikaanderwijk 3

    by ATLC Updated Aug 27, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Afrikaanderwijk, Rotterdam
    4 more images

    The building in photo 1 is a school for school drop outs (yes, a contrast in terms!). It is genially called Back 2 Your Future. The Bothastraat (photos 2-5) used to be known for the street gang the Botha Brothers. There used to be street gangs for Morrocans, Turks and Surinamese. They didn't really fight but you had to look over your shoulder... These days the youngster organise football games or meet each other in nightlife places. Much better, no?
    The poster in photo 4 pleads for cheaper house rents. Photo 5 is a photo of Bothastraat 157. A Dutch couple used to live there. They had barricaded their house with extra locks and cameras. Obviously they could not understand their foreign street neighbours and vice versa. In the end the couple moved to another part of the country.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • ATLC's Profile Photo

    Afrikaanderwijk 4

    by ATLC Updated Aug 27, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Afrikaanderwijk, Rotterdam
    4 more images

    Cafe Bloemfontein is the next stop. A local pub with a kind landlady. We talked about her experience with the new smoking rule. I asked her if there were any downsides. Not really, she said. The smoking smells had gone, but she renovated every 3 years anyway. The only thing she didn't like is when the bar was full and one guest would go out to smoke outside. Then the rest would follow and the bar would be empty.
    We were watching the police and noted that someone was being arrested. One of the guests remarked: hey, is that so-and so? Why is he arrested? It can't be about anything!
    If you look up (photo 3), you see the busts of famous Afrikaners. Dutch men that made it great in South Africa, like Botha, Paul Kruger, Cronjé, Joubert. If we should be proud of that, remains a discussion. In any case, their names are now street names in this Afrikaanderwijk.
    Opposite the pub is the modern library where you can start the audiotour if you reserved a PDA with GPS. We were making do with an MP3 player which was fine (and free!).

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • ATLC's Profile Photo

    Afrikaanderwijk 2

    by ATLC Updated Aug 27, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Afrikaanderwijk, Rotterdam
    4 more images

    The walk started for us at the Brede Hilledijk where one finds a children's playground (photo 1) and a recycling shop (photos 2 and 3), a wonderful browsing place of household cast offs which you can buy for next to nothing. An odd business on the corner of Cronjéstraat: a church organ builder (photos 4 and 5).

    Farid tells us that there is a sign there on the Brede Hilledijk, which forbids gatherings. However, the sign is never there. It is constantly stolen by the Morroccan youngster that... you've guessed... gather here all the time!

    Was this review helpful?

  • ATLC's Profile Photo

    Afrikaanderwijk 7

    by ATLC Written Aug 27, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Afrikaanderwijk, Rotterdam
    4 more images

    Like many streets in the neighbourhood, one side is old and the other side is modern. On the corner (no photo) is a Morrocan club. The club board consisted of four men, all family. But they belonged to different tribe than the members. So there was trouble when the subsidy money came. How was it going to be spent? They didn't trust each other.

    Photo 1 and 2 show the boxing school that is run by a Dutch couple since 1982. The gold medalist Bep van Klaveren (featherweight, Olympics 1928) used to frequent it too. Just to look, I suppose. He must've been an old man by then.

    The other side of the street still have old houses (photos 3-5). With those typical curtains and very clean windows. I saw lots of window cleaning during our walk here!

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • ATLC's Profile Photo

    Afrikaanderwijk 8

    by ATLC Written Aug 27, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Afrikaanderwijk, Rotterdam
    3 more images

    Photo 1 shows that Christiaan de Wetstraat still kept the old houses. I hope they stay. So much of the old neighbourhood is renovated. Which is a good thing. People deserve to live in good houses. But the atmosphere is different. On one of the modern flats (photo 4) I made photo 2. Seven out of ten of the names are foreign. That's quite exemplary of the people that live in the neighbourhood 'Afrikaanderwijk'. Photo 3 shows the entrance sign to a large childrens playground, right in the heart of the neighbourhood, the Afrikaanderplein (plein=square).

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • ATLC's Profile Photo

    Afrikaanderwijk 9

    by ATLC Written Aug 28, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Afrikaanderwijk, Rotterdam
    4 more images

    Halfway Riebeeckstraat there is a 'Vogelklas' (bird school). Initially set up for school children but they come less and less. It's sort of a bird hospice. If a sick bird is found, it can be left here in one of the boxes (photo 3) and then it is taken care of. The foreign children don't really care much for birds. Sometimes they catapult one out of a tree and then bring it to the hospice!
    Photo 4 is a tiny botanical garden. Photo 2 is the entrance. It was closed but we could see it well through the wiring.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • ATLC's Profile Photo

    Afrikaanderwijk 10

    by ATLC Updated Aug 28, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Afrikaanderwijk, Rotterdam
    4 more images

    Photos 1 and 3 show the playground on Martinus Steynstraat. Just across from the primary school Da Costa (photos 2 and 5). Miss Agnes has worked there for 25 years and experienced the 'colouring' of the neighbourhood. In the beginning of her career it was unusual to have a Turkish child in her class. Nowadays, she thinks 'help! I have a Dutch child in my class'.
    This is a problem in many downtown areas of Dutch cities. We're even talking about black and white schools and the government is trying to change that by making schools more mixed.
    Photo 4 shows a popular pasttime for children of many countries. Hinkelen this is called in Dutch.

    Continue the walk here

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • ATLC's Profile Photo

    Afrikaanderwijk 5

    by ATLC Updated Aug 27, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Afrikaanderwijk, Rotterdam
    4 more images

    This is the Paul Krugerstraat, where we saw some street cleaners in their orange coats (photo 1). They were just passing the coffeeshop (photo 2). The swimming pool is in photo 3. There are swimming children images in blue on the outside. The local Morroccans and Turks have a bit different swimming attitude. Some of the boys don't shower naked. Not all of the girls like swimming either.
    Not sure why they kept the old house in photo 4. It stands in the middle of a field, sown with wild flowers and sunflowers. It looks very nice! They put picnic tables there as well (photo 5). A good place to sit down and listen to some more files on the audiotour.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • ATLC's Profile Photo

    Afrikaanderwijk 6

    by ATLC Written Aug 27, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Afrikaanderwijk, Rotterdam
    3 more images

    This was a Morrocan snackbar for years. When it was taken over from the Dutch owners, they kept the name 'Jan & Jan'. Now it is owned by a Turkish guy and he renamed it 'Kent'. The coffee is quite cheap (1,25 euro). Now what is a Kapsalon?! It means Hairdresser's Parlour. But it isn't it's edible. Shoarma and fries with salad and sauce all in one. A famous Rotterdam snack (meal, more like!) that became popular throughout The Netherlands.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • ATLC's Profile Photo

    Afrikaanderwijk 18

    by ATLC Written Aug 28, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Afrikaanderwijk, Rotterdam
    4 more images

    Along Marentakweg I noticed this flowery balcony (photo 1). It's fun to see how people live. This balcony was all flowers. Another was more an extended room with cupboards, laundry, or satellite discs. A Turkish artist made a beautiful blue street sign in photo 2. The Dutch name Stokroosstraat (stokroos is a kind of rose) was depicted with a comment that it originated from the Middle East. Photo 3 shows the youth center De Brug. Here's where youngsters come to chill. And make trouble. If they can... then all the windows break! Because being bad is cool... Fahid tells us in the audio tour that the Odastraat (photo 5, shown with all those city names in the previous tip) is a popular place for drugs dealing. From there they have a good overview over Oleanderplein and can see police coming from afar. We often saw police (photo 4), on bikes or scooters or in a car.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • ATLC's Profile Photo

    Afrikaanderwijk 22

    by ATLC Written Aug 28, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Afrikaanderwijk, Rotterdam
    4 more images

    Final photos of the Afrikaanderwijk tour. A big fish shop that looks more like a Turkish coffee house when I peeped inside (photo 1). On Wednesday the market is on. A very big market, they were just putting up the stalls (photos 2 and 3). Again loads of outlandish shops (photo 4) and finally an interesting shop that I should visit in future (photo 5). It's a tea and vegetarian shop.
    The shop where I bought some Surinamese snacks is not on the photo. The guy (Hindustani) was interested that we should visit his neighbourhood. I said I liked it. He offered us some fresh Surinamese black pudding. I declined but only because I had just eaten. I like black pudding!

    This outing gave us a good impression of life in the Rotterdam inner city. It has certain problems. It also has enormous cultural richness. It has poverty. But also the wealth of looking after each other and the many things they do together (like in the buurthuizen or cultural centers). There is a higher crime rate. But we didn't really see anything happen and personally I felt completely safe.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Rotterdam

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

111 travelers online now

Comments

Rotterdam Local Customs

Reviews and photos of Rotterdam local customs posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Rotterdam sightseeing.

View all Rotterdam hotels