CAR TOUR OF Rotterdam
The second largest city in the Netherlands, Rotterdam lies on both banks of the Nieuwe Maas, the tidal southern arm of the Rhine, where it's joined by the little River Rotte. It's also the world's largest port, home to the massive Europoort facility through which so much freight passes on its way to and from the continent. Although almost completely destroyed by German air attacks in 1940, central Rotterdam was energetically rebuilt after the war and re-planned with modern shopping streets, residential districts, and high-rises, making it one of the most modern and architecturally interesting cities in Europe. Despite it's modernity, the city dates back to medieval times and was already prosperous by the 13th century when a dam was built to separate the Rotte from the Nieuwe Maas (hence the city's name). Rotterdam has also long been important as a cultural hub, its early prosperity leading to the birth of Rotterdam's most celebrated citizen, the humanist Erasmus, born here in 1467. Today, it's as popular a destination for its vibrant entertainment options as it is for its many fine museums and splendid architecture.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, one of the Netherlands' most important art establishments, is known around the world for its superb collections of paintings, sculptures, and applied and decorative arts from across Europe. Painters of the 14th to 16th centuries are particularly well represented, with works by Hubert and Jan van Eyck, Hieronymus Bosch, and Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The 17th century is represented by Rembrandt and Rubens (26 of the latter's works can be viewed), while later centuries are represented by Monet, Gauguin, and Van Gogh. Contemporary painters represented include Picasso, Matisse, and Chagall. Another museum of note is the Wereldmuseum Rotterdam, an ethnographic museum established in 1883 with excellent displays of artifacts from ancient and modern cultures from around the world.
One of Rotterdam's most distinctive landmarks, the Euromast lies at the north entrance to the Maas Tunnel. Erected in 1960, this 185-meter-high tower boasts two restaurants with superb views over Rotterdam, each at the 92-meter mark. For thrill seekers looking for more than just great views there's the chance to abseil down the building, while those looking for a unique overnight stay can book one of two stunning suites located at the 100-meter point.
Rotterdam is home to many fine examples of modern architecture, much of it inspired by the city's waterside setting as well as a response to the devastation of WWII. Pushing the architectural envelope to the max are the city's famous Cube Houses (Kubuswoningen). Designed by Dutch architect Piet Blom, this block of houses with their unique cube-shaped upper stories can be enjoyed as part of a walking tour of the city (one of them, the Show Cube, is open to the curious and contains displays regarding the design and history of the buildings).
Established in 1857 - and one of the oldest zoos in the Netherlands - Rotterdam's Royal Zoo (Diergaarde Blijdorp) makes for a very pleasant outing. The zoo is well known for its successful breeding programs, highlights of which include a number of young elephants, as well as the rare red panda, fascinating creatures to watch as they explore the large enclosures designed to resemble their natural habitats. Other features of note are the Asian section, complete with a swamp forest with two large aviaries for exotic birds, a Mongolian steppe, a bat cave, a Chinese garden, and numerous creatures indigenous to the region. Also worth exploring is the Oceanium, an excellent aquarium featuring a large collection of marine life from the Americas.
Guide services (departure from Amsterdam)
Duration: 4 hours. Price EUR 300.00
￼Number of persons: 1-10
￼(Car rental - at extra charge. Car category - on request)
Guide-driver services (departure from Amsterdam)
Duration: 4 hours. Price EUR 375.00
￼Number of persons: 1-3
￼(Transport included. Standard category)
Commission to agencies - on request.
For more details about transfers from Amsterdam - please read here