If you’re planning a Netherlands trip, be sure to include these hotspots to capture the best photos of Rotterdam! Architecture from quirky to mesmerizing, old to modern, and a gorgeous city skyline.
This is a guest post by Bruna of Maps ‘n Bags
The most modern city in the Netherlands is a paradise for architecture and photography lovers.
Rotterdam has a quite interesting collection of skyscrapers, quirky constructions, and a few traditional buildings, making a photo walk one of the best things to do in Rotterdam. For that reason, I’ve listed the best photo hotspots in the city below, so you can see these spots for yourself.
Rotterdam is a perfect day trip from Amsterdam, so if you have a spare day, take the train and go explore the second largest city in the Netherlands!
Like many European cities, Rotterdam was destroyed during the Second World War. After what seemed a long battle for such a small country (4 days), the Germans decided to stop the Dutch resistance by bombing the city center and devastating it (almost) completely. The Dutch surrendered the next day.
In the following years, the city started to be rebuilt and adhered to a modern and contemporary architecture. So, most of the places I’ll list here are built post-war.
Where Can You Get the Best Photos of Rotterdam?
01. Central Station
A symbol of Rotterdam, the central station as we know today dates to 2014 only. The new building was part of an expansion required to cope with the increase of tourists that would travel in and through the country.
Among the main train stations in the Netherlands, the Central Station is one of the best photo hotspots in Rotterdam as it is not only a modern and quirky construction, but also because of the surrounding buildings. So take your time to explore this area. And don’t think only the outside of the station is worth your time. Oh, no! The platforms with glass roofs give some pretty cool shots too.
02. Delft Gate Building (De Delfste Poort)
Right next to the station you’ll see a spectacular twin-tower skyscraper, the Delft Gate Building. This commercial complex is 496.6 ft and 305 ft high and to Dutch standards, this is huge, trust me. That’s is so true that the highest tower of these two was the tallest one in the Netherlands until 2009.
Well, such a place you can’t just let pass, right?
Ps: The Boulevard in front of the station, the Kruisplein, also has some quirky, yet gorgeous buildings.
03. Luchtsingel Bridge
17,000 yellow planks placed along 1,280 feet make this wooden bridge a special photo spot in Rotterdam. The Luchtsingel bridge is made out of planks which either have a message or the name of its sponsor carved in them. And I mean carved in single one of them.
People can just buy a plank at a website and choose something to write on the plank they have just bought. This interesting concept made it possible to reconnect the North area to the Central Station.
04. City Hall
As I said above, almost the whole city center was destroyed during the war, but luckily a few buildings survived the attack and the City Hall is one of them. Sculptures on the facade of this 1920 building represent different virtues and values, so you might want to get closer to take some good shots.
An indoor market, a residential and an office building, all in the same place. This horseshoe-shaped construction is Rotterdam’s gem (and a must-see in the city). Look up and gaze at the Horn of Plenty, the colorful art piece printed on 4,000 aluminum panels covering the whole ceiling. Impressive 1.47 terabytes, that was the size of this enormous 3D file, making it the largest artwork in the world.
Also, the Markthal has a great variety of cuisines so maybe you can have lunch here before continuing this itinerary.
06. Cube Houses
Quirky. That’s the first thing that came to my mind when I saw these yellow cubes tilted 45 degrees. Well, after all, it’s not every day that we see this kind of architecture, right?Some things you just won’t see unless you leave Amsterdam. Just for context, the idea behind the cube houses is that each house is a tree, and together they are a forest. Most of them are residential, but there is also a hostel there, Stayokay, so if you’re looking for a place to stay in Rotterdam, you have just found it.
07. The White House (Het Witte Huis)
A National Heritage Site, Het Witte Huis is an art nouveau building built in 1898. Like the City Hall, this construction also survived the war and today you can have a few drinks in the cafe on the ground floor. You can find Het Witte Huis behind the Cube Houses, on the old port.
Ps: Take a picture from the other side of the water, so you can capture the whole building and area.
08. Erasmus Bridge
The second largest bridge in the Netherlands is an icon of Rotterdam. The Swan, a sweet nickname given to the bridge, is 2,631 feet long and 456 feet high. Walk along the Boompjeskade to take a few photos of it with the perfect backdrop: skyscrapers.
On the left side of the bridge, you can spot the Maastoren, the tallest building in the Netherlands (541 feet).
On the right side is De Rotterdam building, three interconnected towers that serve as a hotel, office rooms, and a residential space. Can you imagine living there?!
Anyway, it occupies a soccer field area and rises 492 feet in the sky offering (probably) the best photo hotspot of the city!
09. Wilhelmina Pier
To take the best shot of the Wilhelmina Pier, head to the point indicated in the map below and explore this area to find more angles and views! From here you can perfectly see some of the most famous buildings in Rotterdam, the New Orleans and Montevideo buildings. They’re the light yellow, the orange one and the white one, respectively. Look for the New York Hotel (a gorgeous building which dates to 1901), next to the base of the Montevideo edifice. You don’t see that many traditional constructions in Rotterdam, so take your time here and appreciate how the old and new merge perfectly.
Ps: The best way (and angles) to capture the beauty of the ‘Manhattan of the Maas River’, a kind nickname given to the Wilhelmina Pier, is from a boat, and you can find a few interesting options of boat tours throughout the city.
You have seen most of the city from the ground, now it’s time to see it from above. This observation tower is 341 feet high and gives you a perfect view over the Wilhelmina Pier, Erasmus Bridge, and the Maastoren. The entrance fee is 9.75 euros but take a debit or a credit card with you as they don’t accept cash.
The map below has all these locations mentioned above so you know where to find them. The city isn’t so big, and I did it all on foot, so you can most likely do it as well. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes.
Rotterdam is full of stunning photo hotspots and I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun discovering them. If you have some time left you might want to check out the St. Laurens Church, the Scheepvaart en Transport College building, and the Nieuwe Luxor Theatre.
What other locations would you add to this list? And what is your favorite photo from the ones above? Drop your answer in the comments!