The largest port in Europe, Rotterdam is an intriguing mix of the old and the new. The city's lineage is ancient - Count Willem III granted city rights to the sleepy fishing village on the Rotte in 1328, yet much of the city dates from the six decades following the end of World War II. An important industrial center and a major European port, Rotterdam was among the first targets of the Nazi blitzkrieg against the West. On May 14, 1940, the German Luftwaffe firebombed the city, Rotterdam was gutted. The post-war years saw a slow rebuilding but by the early 1960s the maze of port facilities extended all the way to the North Sea. Today, this city of over half a million is the economic powerhouse, not just of the Netherlands but of Northern Europe.
The Nazi bombardment of 1940 gutted most of the old city. As a result, Rotterdam's architecture is an intriguing mix of old and new: modern glass skyscrapers often stand adjacent to 19th- and 18th-century buildings.
Points of Interest
Canal Boat Cruise
A canal cruise takes you past the iconic symbols of Amsterdam, from windmills and 17th-century mansions, to carillon-crowned churches and warehouses, which line the canal banks.
The Hague & Royal Delft
Visit The Hague and pay a visit to Delft and the Royal Delft Factory, where spectacular ceramics have been produced for over three centuries.
Van Gogh Museum
The Van Gogh Museum features the works of the Dutch painter, Vincent van Gogh, and his contemporaries, with the largest collection of Van Gogh's paintings and drawings in the world.
Anne Frank's House
Anne Frank's House is a museum dedicated to the Jewish wartime diarist. In addition to the preservation of her hiding place, the museum offers an exhibition of her life and times.
Windmills are vanishing from the Dutch landscape. Kinderdijk is home to nineteen original windmills - many in working order. In 1997 the mills of Kinderdijk were put on the World Heritage List of UNESCO.
Delfshaven is a historic harbour and one of the oldest places in Rotterdam. You will find many antique shops, the historic museum Rotterdam, shipyard De Delft and the famous Pilgrim Fathers Church in this area.
Keukenhof Tulip Festival
Keukenhof also known as the Garden of Europe, is situated near Lisse, Netherlands, and is the world's largest flower garden.
Dominating Dam Square, the opulent Royal Palace has served a number of purposes since the mid-17th century. Built as the Town Hall, it is currently at the Queen's disposal for lavish ceremonies.