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Holland’s jazzed up port city

Holland’s jazzed up port city

Rotterdam, until recently, was the world’s largest port. This seaside location helped to grow the city into the largest economic center in the Netherlands at the turn of the twentieth century. Bombing ripped out the heart of the city during WWII, and instead of aiming to rebuild what was lost as many other leveled cities have done, the city council took the opportunity to create a new and better city instead.

Although close to 50% of the population of Rotterdam today is not native to the Netherlands, you can still find a "can do" mentality in its people. This thrust toward modernity is on display in the architecture around the city. The Kijk-Kubis – or Museum House, is a fully furnished showcase house among an unusual collection of cube-shaped homes. The interior was specially developed to give visitors an impression of how it’s possible to live in a cube house with sloping walls.

The Kunsthal Rotterdam is designed by famed avant-garde architect (and native son) Rem Koolhaas. The building is as much the destination as what’s housed inside. The museum stages some 25 exhibitions a year in a wide range of disciplines: new art, design, photography, and frequently experiments with themes never seen before. Like lingerie.

For aural art, the annual North Sea Jazz Festival is held every second week of July. Founded by a wealthy businessman and jazz lover, the fest began in 1976 and was an immediate success. The event has grown to 15 stages, 1200 artists and nearly 25,000 visitors a day, and is known for the many musical styles it presents: from traditional New Orleans jazz to funk and soul. Past performers include Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie.

About Netherlands

Just east of Rotterdam, the windmills of Kinderdijk are one of the most beloved and best-known Dutch attractions and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Accessible by boat, you’ll learn more about their fascinating history while on board. With a Holland Pass, your journey is included, not to mention vouchers for free entrance into your choice of five museums in Holland, plus 25 discount vouchers to use at other major attractions in the country and so much more.

Rotterdam train station connects you to cities all over The Netherlands. You won’t be blue in charming Delft – just 12 minutes away. The Hague can be seen in 24 minutes and cheese-y Gouda in 18. Even Amsterdam is just 43 minutes away thanks to the high-speed Fyra. With such proximity to each other, a Eurail Benelux Pass is ideal for saving time and money.

You can also use this pass to get to Antwerp in 30 minutes and Brussels in just over an hour. If you want an architectural contrast to Rotterdam, Paris is less than three hours away on Thalys.

Rotterdam may not be on your list of cities to see in The Netherlands. There are no charming canals, precious porcelains or beaches. But this is a city that for centuries ruled the waterways of the world. Rotterdam is a city that demands to be navigated. Once on its terra firma, you’ll feel its power – like the waves of the open sea.

Rotterdam station(s)

Trains are convenient way to reach any town and city in Europe. All main towns have a railway station, while major cities have more than two railway stations. Nearly all railway stations are located in the city centre. Check our map to locate railway station(s) in Rotterdam.

Rotterdam city guide

Customer reviews

  • Value for money
    Bremen to Osnabrueck | Nath Parameswaran v. | 2015/11/14
    "Travel was comfortable but few things could have made my travel more comfortable - 1. Position of coach could be informed much better since we had to ask a few people where the coach will be coming 2. For people travelling with bags, there is no place to keep the heavy bags. Lighter bags can be kept at the overhead places but not the heavy ones. Suggest to provide a place for heavy bags "

  • Convienience and Comfort | . | 2015/10/14
    "As a business traveller weekends are the worst! I travelled by train on a Sunday so that I could enjoy the comfort and the view of the countryside. This form of travel is not only cheaper than flying but provides a better overall experience. "

  • Value for money
    Convenient and efficient | Yu Cheung Billy h. | 2015/09/23
    "We are satisfied with the rail system in the Netherlands in general. "

  • Value for money
    My first ever train journey | Vanessa m. | 2015/07/28
    "Friendily and helpful staff, seating was wonderful in 1st class, I was shocked to see I even got a meal which was a huge surprise. Looking out the window and watching the senery is amazing, free wi-fi was an added bonus and I really enjoyed everything. Can't wait to travel with thylas again Vanessa "

  • Good | . | 2015/06/30
    "The trains are on time. Use the code on the ticket can pass the gate of Rotterdam. "

  • Value for money
    Train Journey | Malcolm i. | 2015/04/22
    "Train arrived on time Could not connect to free wi-fi not enough room to store luggage "

  • Value for money
    Gsharps review | Alaistair s. | 2014/11/06
    "The cabin was clean, the seats comfortable and the noise level relatively low. "

  • Value for money
    very good | Menahem e. | 2014/10/31
    "Good "

  • Value for money
    Brussels-Rotterdam and back  | Olga k. | 2014/09/20
    "We enjoyed traveling with Thalys (from Brussels to Rotterdam and back)! Agents were always attentive, trains arriving/departing on time and with very comfortable seats even at 2nd calss. It was much more convenient for us to use Thalys and pay extra money then using other trains and make one to two changes, which means jumping off the train and taking bus to catch the connecting train at the other train station. Our trip was EXCELLENT! Big thank you to Thalys people from me and my friend! "

  • Value for money
    Trip to Paris from Rotterdam | Aygun b. | 2014/09/09
    "It was very comfortable, staff was very nice and helpful. "

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