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Rotterdam – The Netherland’s Second City

By Laura Blake

Posted: 7th February 2014 14:37

This could most certainly not be anywhere…despite sitting in the shadow of its big brother Amsterdam, Rotterdam is a second city that refuses to go the bed quietly while the big cities play.  It’s unapologetic in its desire to try out new identities; all at once Rotterdam is a gritty port city, a stylish night life hub, a sophisticated shopping destination, a city of sport and an up-and-coming art scene. 

In terms of history, the Rotterdam that stands today is very much a young city.  Practically bombed flat during WWII, Rotterdam dusted itself off and got to work building a shining postmodern city that screams cool.  It didn’t matter that they’d lost all their classic architecture, because what was built out of the ruins is a European destination that is completely unique.  If you want Dutch history, go to Amsterdam. 

The streets of Rotterdam are quite literally paved with art.  Sure, you’ve got your museums, galleries and exhibitions, but for a real taste of the Rotterdam art scene, simply stroll around outside for a few hours – from graffiti to murals to commissioned sculptures, the achingly hip, artistic legacy of Rotterdam is everywhere.  A favourite sculpture to look out for is Paul McCarthy’s Santa with Butt Plug.  Rotterdam definitely likes to do things its own way.  

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