Street Scenes, Sights, and Art, Rotterdam
This is a really fun thing to do, to learn more about Rotterdam during a tram ride!
From October-April there's a special tram that takes you through Rotterdam in 90 minutes. During that time there is a real Rotterdam speaker who tells you all about the sights you see. And there's live music (accordeon) to accompany his talk. Last but not least: traditional Dutch peasoup (snert) and drinks are served during the ride.
Even though I know Rotterdam well, I learned a good few new things. And the trip really covers a large area of Rotterdam, going east to Delfshaven, south to Kop van Zuid and Feyenoord, and the modern center (Coolsingel), Kralingen (east).
The ride costs € 15 per person and you can make reservations with the details below.
A tour with an English speaking guide, or other languages, is possible. But only as a group. This costs € 150 per tour plus the individual fare of € 15 p.p. But it is exclusive!
3034 EM Rotterdam
As a modern city, Rotterdam is proud of having a picasso sculpture. But this wasn't always so, as many discussions took place before the sculpture found its place in the city. Sylvette, a girl who became the "muse" of Pablo Picasso in his late period, is the title of this sculpture. It was made in partnership by Pablo Picasso and the norwegian artist Carl Nesjar. The sculpture was unveiled in 1970, and for many years it stood close to the central station at the crossing of Weena and Kruisplein. Standing in the shadow of a skyscraper, somewhere under the tree, it was decided to look for a new place. Shortly before the big hole in front of the central station was digged, the sculpture moved to its current place.
In summer many people come to this park to relax or for a BBQ. Also a lot of cultural events happen here.
And like you could have seen from the name: most of Rotterdam museums are located here: Netherlands Architecural Institute, Boymans van Beuningen, Kunsthal and Natuurmuseum. The Euromast is located in the middle of the park.
The origin of Rotterdam as harbour city has started in the Oude Haven, meaning 'Old Harbour'. In the 13th century the ships sailed away from the Oude Haven, being a natural harbour in the Rotte estuary. Later in the 16th century new harbours were dugged out like the Haringvliet.
In the Oude Haven you can see historical vessels of the Open-air Inland Shipping Museum. Around the Oude haven are lots of restaurants and bars. It's a lovely place to sit at one of the many terraces looking out on the harbour.
At the background of the Oude Haven you see the modern architecture of the Cube Houses of Piet Blom at one side and the historical White House and merchants houses at the other side.
Along the waterfront of the Maas is a spacious walking boulevard. In the past about one century ago it was still a quay for the huge sea ships. From the Boompjes the view at the river, the Erasmus bridge and the noorder Eiland is great.
Along a part of the the Boompjes are steps, which can be used for the audience looking at performances and concerts at the river with it's skyline as background. Half way the boulevard is a pavillion with a wall of glass at the riverside with stunning views, while taking a drink or meal. Along the boulevard you walk between the flags of all kind of nationalities.
From the water you have a view at the three highrise buildings with apartments behind the boulevard.
Have a nice walk around the Boompjes, the Oude haven and the Leuvehaven. You will get a beautiful impression of this area by night. The Boompjestorens (sorry for the picture, I will try to replace it by a better one this summer), the two bridges (Willemsbrug and Erasmusbrug) and many other buildings, including some on the other side of the Nieuwe Maas are illuminated. Ideal for your first night in Rotterdam. And if you want, you can spend the rest of the night in one of the bars and restaurants at the oude haven.
Close to the Cube houses is another bulding, designed as well by Piet Blom. The building is called Pencil (or Potlood in dutch language). Why this name ? The answer is obvious: this unusually shaped block with apartments looks like a pencil. It has even the the six sides of a pencil.
I am not sure if the architect has meant to design a pencil-like building or not. The real name of the building is Blaaktoren (or Blaaktower), which name you can see at the entrance of the apartments with all the colourful letterboxes.
For going to the beach it is not neccesary to go the the North Sea Coast. Also in the cityventre of Rotterdam you can go to the citybeach and enjoy the sun, the sand and the cityskyline at the same time at the sunbeds or in the huge cushions. The view from here at the Erasmusbridge is really striking.
There is a pavillion and a big terrace, a very relaxed place at a sunny day to have a drink or snack. I had here a delicious lunch. In the evening there is swinging music or salsa dancing.
Opposite the Central Station stands the 132 m high Millenium Tower with 32 floors. The rather new building has the shape of a rocket. Some people say the resemblance with the Empire State Building in New York City is striking.
The 12 first floors are used by the luxury five-star hotel Westin, the other floors up are used as offices. A bridge connects the building with the Doelen and the conference halls at the southside.
I stayed in the Westin hotel two times myself, a special offer for the weekends. The views from the rooms at the city are great.
The Beurs-World Trade Center in Rotterdam is a modern building with an historical past. The first Rotterdam Beurs (Exchange) was founded in 1698. When the succesful Beurs became too small, the enlarged Beurs on the Coolsingel was opened in 1941.
The new building housed not only a lot of exchanges, but also offices, shops, conference halls and a bar. In the 70s and 80s the demand for offices and conference halls increased more and more. So in 1984 the construction of a new office tower at the existing buildings started. I came here a few times for conferences.
This green elliptical tower, completed in 1987, is an eyecatching landmark in the citycentre. When I walk in the city at unknown places, I use the WTC tower as orientation point.
The third wellknown lawyer from Rotterdam's history - besides Johan van Oldebarnevelt and Hugo de Groot with statues in front of the cityhall - is Gijsbert Karel van Hogendorp. His statue is at the entrance of the Beurs-World Trade Centre.
In honor of Marten Toonder's 90th birthday the city of Rotterdam erected a monument in july 2002. The six-meter high monument features several characters from the famous Toonder comic 'Tom Puss and Oliver Bumble' (Tom Poes en Heer Bommel). At the foot of the monument is a bench, so except having a close look at the characters you can have sit for a while as well.
I f you have a close look at the artwork, which is designed by the Artoonisten from Rotterdam, you see that the five depicted characters are Tom Poes, markies De Canteclaer, burgemeester Dickerdack, professor Sickbock en schilder Terpen Tijn. Olivier B. Bommel himself is absent.
"Tom Poes verzin een list"
Marten Toonder is one of the most important dutch author of cartoons. His creations have been published newspapers and magazines all over the world. His most famous cartoon 'Tom Poes en Heer Bommel', running for almost 45 years, reflected his view on daily life.
The lower part of the Beursplein is called the 'koop goot' or 'shopping gutter'. This subterranean Beurs Traverse connects under the streetlevel the both sides of the Coolsingel. About 50 shops are situated along this 300 meter long shopping gallery. The department stores like the Bijenkorf, Hema and C&A have entrances down at the Koopgoot and up at the normal street level.
The Koopgoot with its striking architecture is built like a new style canal. People standing at the bank can look down at shopping people. It's a very lifely area for shopping (mainly fashion), but also for windowshopping and watching other people.
When Ossip Zadkine saw the bombed and devastated city of Rotterdam on his way to a friend in 1946, these impressions inspirated him to design the monument ’the devastated city’. The local people of of Rotterdam called the sculpture also 'Jan Gat (meaning John Hole).
The monument was erected in 1953 close to the Leuvehaven at Plein 1940. With this monument Rotterdam commemorates the Second World War and the destruction of the old city centre.
The first book I saw of Rotterdam as kid had the sculpture of Zadkine at its frontpage and I can remember that the expression of the tortured figure impressed me. It took decades before I saw it with my own eyes, now surrounded by high bank buildings.
A nice peace of modern architecture. It looks like it is about to fly away to Mars, but it is just a normal train station. This is one of the first constructions of the new Rotterdam. Behind the station you will find the 2-weekly market and the famous library.
The « Koopvardijmonument » is better known as « De boeg » and is dedicated to the approximately 3500 vicitms of the mercantile marine who died during WWII. Rotterdam’s harbour was severely destroyed by the Germans as well as later by the allies during the liberation. Approximately 500 civil ships were sunk in this period. “De boeg” was finished in 1957, a small group of bronze figures, standing next to the monument, was added in 1965. By the way, “boeg” is the dutch word for the nautical expression “bow”.