Rotterdam, "Manhattan on the Maas"
Head for Rotterdam, one of the world's largest ports and city of contemporary Dutch architecture, to get a taste of The Netherlands as a modern economic powerhouse.
Take a harbour boat tour to experience how sea and river traffic comes together in this city that sits on both banks of the River Maas (or Meuse). Follow up with a visit to the fully interactive Maritiem Museum and the open-air collection of working ships, engines and port machinery at the Havenmuseum (Harbour Museum). Nearby attractions include the Boijmans van Beuningen Museum, the 2,600ft (800m) long Erasmusbrug and the Piet Blom designed Cube Houses. For a comprehensive overview of Dutch architecture, NAi, The Netherlands Architecture Institute, is the place to go.
Visitors with a passion for shopping may be interested to know that Rotterdam is the birthplace of architect Rem Koolhaas (now associated with cutting edge retail store and shoe design). And it was here that Europe discovered the pedestrian zone, Lijnbaan being Europe’s first, back in the 1950s. City centre shops, such as those on Beurstraverse, are open 7/7, and for the ultimate Dutch market experience, a meander around the 500 stands of the Centrummarket is a must. Rotterdam really is different from other Dutch cities - and what's the very best way to appreciate this? With a bird's eye view of the city from the viewing platform of the famous 607ft (185m) high Euromast.