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61 Interesting & Fun Facts About Rotterdam: Top things and facts to know before you visit Rotterdam, The Netherlands

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Discover interesting, fun and cool facts about the Dutch city of Rotterdam. From things you have to know about Rotterdam before you travel here to extra tips to unique & unusual things you can do in Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland, The Netherlands.

There are many interesting and fun facts to discover about Rotterdam, The Netherlands, This Dutch city is one of a kind and there is so much to explore and learn. From Rotterdam during WW2 to the Rotterdam port. And from things to know about Rotterdam to discovering the population, history and name of Rotterdam.

Discover what Rottterdam is famous for: 51 facts about Rotterdam you have to know

Did you know Rotterdam refers to a river? No? Cool.  Or did you know there was an airport in Rotterdam before the Rotterdam The Hague airport? The history of Rotterdam is complex and filled with horror, magical moments amongst many other things. Discover Rotterdam and its facts and figure here. And learn more about the amazin Dutch city that Rotterdam is.

1. The flag of Rotterdam is green, white and green

Green and white have been the colours of Rotterdam since the Middle Ages, but the number of lines has changed regularly. The current flag has been officially the flag of Rotterdam since the 10th of February 1949. The white resembles the river De Rotte and the green comes from the Hof van Wena. The Hof van Wena was a castle that used to be located on the Hofbogen (one of the urban hotspots of Rotterdam). And the colour represents the family van Wena.

2. The coat of arms of Rotterdam is green wit green, has a crown and four lions

The colours have been discussed already, as the flag comes from the coat of arms. But the four lions? Earl Willen III of Holland and Henegouwen gifted the coat of arms to Rotterdam, as he was thankful for the support of the Rotterdammers in his battle against Flanders in 1304.

The lions are two red Dutch lions and two black Flemish lions, together they for the coat of arms of Henegouwen. This part of the coat of arms has been used since 1351. The crown was granted to Rotterdam by royal decree on the 16th of July 1816. Around that time two lions that are holding the shield of the coat of arms were also added.

3. The motto of Rotterdam is ‘sterker door strijd

‘Sterker door strijd’ is placed underneath the coat of arms of Rotterdam. It means ‘stronger through battle’. It has only been added to the coat of arms of Rotterdam after the Second World War. Queen Wilhelmina chose the motto because of the courage and power of the Rotterdammers during the Second World War. People went through a lot: Several bombardments, hunger winter, razzias, the battle for Rotterdam, the destruction of the harbour of Rotterdam, revenge on civilians and more.

4. Rotterdam has 644.618 inhabitants

The amount of people that live in Rotterdam has been exponentially growing since 2013. Back in 2013 616.294 people called Rotterdam their home, which has grown to 644.618 in 2019. This makes Rotterdam the second largest city of The Netherlands, as Amsterdam is the biggest city.

5. Rotterdam is home to more than 170 nationalities

One of the many things that Rotterdam is well-known for is the multicultural society. People from all over the world live and thrive here. They cycle their way through the city and make the most out of the bustling city that is Rotterdam every day.

6. The Euromast was built for the Floriade of 1960

The Euromast was built as an observation tower and restaurant for the Floriade of 1960. Both the Floriade and the Euromast were opened on the 25th of March 1960 by, at the time, Princess Beatrix.

7. There’s a good reason why it’s called the Euromast

Before the tower was built the name Euromast was already decided. Rotterdam is located in the heart of the European market area and near the Europoort harbour, that was developed since the end of the ’50s. That’s the reason for choosing the first part of the word: Euro.

The word mast was chosen instead of tower, for two simple reasons. The first one is that ‘mast’ refers to the shipping industry that was and is very important for Rotterdam. The second reason is that ‘mast’ is an internationally known word, while many languages spell it slightly different, it makes it easier to discover what the Euromast represents.

8. The coat of arms of Rotterdam used to include an eagle and three bees

This was during the time that the French occupied The Netherlands (1795 – 1813). This showed that the city belonged to the ‘good cities’ in the French empire.

9. The city of Rotterdam in the state of New York (U.S.A) has almost the same motto

The motto of this city in the United States of Amerca is ‘stronger through effort’.

10. Rotterdam is home to 68 football clubs

Three of those football clubs: Sparta, Feyenoord and Excelsior play in the Eredivisie, which is The Netherlands professional football league.

11. Rotterdam is an old city, even though it doesn’t look like it

People started to live in and around the Rotterdam area in the 9th century and Rotterdam obtained it’s city rights back in 1340. Rotterdam was heavily bombed during the Second World War, which is the reason why the city is so diverse in architecture.

12. The name Rotterdam actually makes sense

Even as a Dutchie I get confused with names of Dutch cities, towns and villages. But turns out, that there is a river called the Rotte. This river is a small bog river and is currently used as a storage basin to pump the surplus water out of the polders North of Rotterdam.

Nowadays this river is cute and small. But back in the days, everything was different. So the inhabitants placed a dam in the river the Rotte. And voila, there you have it: Rotte(r)dam.

13. Rotterdam was the largest tile manufacturer in The Netherlands

During the 18th century Rotterdam was killing the game and it surpassed any other Dutch city in the tile industry. Yes, even Delft and Amsterdam. Millions of tiles of the highest quality were made in Rotterdam. They were mainly used inside the house to cover walls and skirting boards. You can find the Rotterdam tiles all over the world in prestigious houses, castles and churches.

14. Rotterdam is home to 73 bridges

The Van Brienenoord bridge is the biggest bridge of Rotterdam and the Erasmus bridge is the most famous attraction and must see of Rotterdam. Spanjaardsbrug is the oldest bridge of Rotterdam (1886) and can be found in the centre of Rotterdam, near the Oude Haven and Haringvliet.

15. The Maastunnel is the oldest immersed tunnel of The Netherlands

The Maastunnel connects Rotterdam with the shores of the New Meuse river. The tunnel exists out of four pipes: two for cars, one for cyclists and one for pedestrians. Building started back in 1937 and the project was finished in 1942.

The tunnel was opened on the 14th of February 1942, but there was no ceremony or festivity because people refused to make it into a nazi festivity (as Rotterdam and The Netherlands were still occupied during that time). In 1944, explosive were placed in the Maastunnel by the Germans. But luckily the tunnel wasn’t blown up and we can thank the resistance fighters for that, as they made the explosives defect.

Every day 75.000 vehicles and 5000 cyclists and pedestrians use the tunnel. The maximum speed in the Maastunnel is 50 km/h and the closed part of the tunnel is 1070 meters long. The deepest point is 20 meters below NAP (Normaal Amsterdams Peil: Normal Amsterdam Level).

You can recognize the Maastunnel above the ground by the characteristic ventilation components that are located on both sides of the shore. They can be seen from the Euromast very easily.

16. There’s a tree more than 130 years old

The plane tree located on the Westersingel in Rotterdam is more than 130 years old. It was moved to another area in the 60s and got its own little island on the Westersingel back in the 90s.

17. Rotterdam housed the first Admiralty of The Netherlands

From the 14th until the 18th century the Admiralty was an organization that arranged the marines in The Netherlands. And the VOC (Dutch East India Company), was a regular. The Admiralty of Amsterdam was the biggest and most famous one, but Rotterdam was first. It was named ‘Admiraliteit aan de Maze’, or Admiralty on the Meuse. It was located on the current Admiraliteitskade in Rotterdam. Many ships were built here. One of them was the ship the Seven Provinces that was one of the ships of Michiel de Ruyter.

18. The Hoogstraat is the oldest street of Rotterdam

You don’t have to start running to the Hoogstraat now, as you won’t find any very beautiful and old buildings here (thanks to WW2). However, it was the first kind of dike or dam that stopped the water from coming in. Houses were built on the dike and around this, the city of Rotterdam extended into what it is today.

19. There are 38 cube houses in Rotterdam

When you walk near, and underneath, the cube houses in Rotterdam is doesn’t seem like there are that many. But there are actually 38 of them and they were built between 1982 and 1984. You can even visit one of them.

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20. The most famous bridge of Rotterdam, Erasmusbrug, has a nickname

The Erasmusbridge is actually lovingly called ‘De Zwaan’ in Dutch, or the swan, thanks to its elegant shape. You will get to know some more facts about the Erasmusbridge below.

20.1 Maximum 10.000 people are allowed on the Erasmusbrug at the deck at the same time

20.2 The Erasmus bridge weighs as much as 1700 adults elephants (6800 tons)

20.3 The final cost of the Erasmus bridge was 362 million Guilders: 165 million Euros

20.4 The bridge is 800 meters long

20.5 The highest point of the Erasmus bridge is 139 meters

20.6 The designer of the bridge, Ben van Berkel, is an Amsterdammer who designed the Erasmus bridge back in 1990

20.7 In 1992 the construction of the Erasmus bridge started. It was officially opened on the 4th of September 1996 by, at the time, Queen Beatrix.

20.8 Four days after the bridge was opened it was closed again. Several cables were shaking due to strong gusts of wind. This resulted in movements of the road surface. It was fixed a few days later.

21. Rotterdam is home to around 600.000 trees

While you might know Rotterdam for its architecture, it also has quite some greenery. There are plenty of parks to be found in Rotterdam and trees can be discovered throughout the entire city.

22. Delft used to have a colony in Rotterdam

Delfshaven is nowadays a neighbourhood and district in Rotterdam, however that wasn’t always the case. Around 1389 the people from Delft wanted a connection between the Meuse river and Delft for boats. So they dug the river the Schie and built a sluice. Around this sluice, a small village emerged. Because Delfshaven was located quite far from Delft, people called Delfshaven a colony.

Delfshaven was part of Delft until it became a independent municipality in 1795. In 1886 Delfshaven was annexed by Rotterdam. The brewery, Brouwerij, De Pelgrim can be found in the old city hall of Delfshaven.

23. Rotterdams harbour Europort is the 10th biggest port in the World

Not only is Europort the 10th biggest in the world, it is also placed on the 11th place of biggest container ports of the world. Europort is the biggest port of Europe and has even been the number one port in the world for quite some time.

24. The Laurenskerk (church) didn’t always have a flat tower

Back in 1615, Rotterdammers wanted to add a beautiful platform on the tower to replace the simple tentroof. But subsidence was something that they needed to think about when adding the new part of the roof. So they asked the expert in building towers: the Amsterdammer Hendrick de Keyser. He advised the Rotterdammers to use a lightweight platform and thus he made a wooden tip, which was finished in 1622. Only to be demolished again because of disrepair twenty years later.

25. There are 37 museums in Rotterdam

So if you’re spending one day, or even a weekend, in Rotterdam there are plenty of things to do. And there’s something to enjoy for everyone.

26. Jimi Hendrix performed in Rotterdam

On the 10th of November 1967, during the Hippy Happy Convention, Jimi Hendrix performed in a building at the Pompenburg behind the Hofplein. It was Jimi Hendrix’s his only performance in The Netherlands.

27. The Hofplein (square) was a populair clubbing area

In 1940, before the bombardment of Rotterdam, the Hofplein area was a very populair and crowded area with clubs, pubs and bars. After the war, it never returned.

28. On the Kruiskade there are two buildings that survived WW2

While that might not sound very special to you, you have to remember that Rotterdam was almost completely bombed during the Second World War. So to have two buildings in the same street, survive the war, is a pretty big deal. The two buildings date both from 1917. The old Luxor Theater and Hotel Central were both designed by architect P. Vermaas.

29. The Stadhuisplein didn’t become what they wanted it to

The Stadhuisplein is the square in front of the city hall of Rotterdam. They designed the square to create more grandeur for the building. But, the way the designers and architects imagined it to be, couldn’t be further from the truth. On one side you can find the city hall of Rotterdam and on the other side you can find some of the best clubs, pubs and bars of Rotterdam. So you can imagine how the square might look during weekends. Not that grand look that they had in mind.

30. Icecream shop Capri has been here since 1957

The ijssalon Capri can be found at the Karel Doormanstraat 334 and has been there since 1957. Nowadays the shop is opened year-round. However, that wasn’t always the case. Years ago Capri was turned into a shop where you could buy fur during the winter months.

31. The Coolsingel didn’t look like this

Nowadays asphalt can be found in the Coolsingel, however this street used to be a canal. But it was slowly filled with soil between 1905 and 1915.

32. The Oude Binnenweg has mostly survived WW2

You know that I’ve just told you that two buildings surviving WW2 in the same street is special. But most buildings of the Oude Binnenweg have survived this war. You can even find two old Dutch brown cafes in this part of Rotterdam that have been there for over hundred years: Cafe Timmer (1875) and Melief Bender (1876).

33. Adolf Hitler personally made sure the Laurenskerk wasn’t demolished

After the most famous bombardment of Rotterdam the tower of the Laurenskerk (church) was on fire. The fire spread to the rest of the church and the damage was big. Some people talked about demolishing the entire church, but Hitler forbad this. He made the church a protected monument.

The Laurenskerk is the only building that is left of the Medieval centre of Rotterdam. The Grote or Sint-Laurenskerk was built between 1449 and 1525 as the first stone building of Rotterdam. It is also the biggest church of Rotterdam.

34. The roof of Rotterdam Central train station is quite special

It exist out of 28.000 square meters of glass plates and 10.000 meters of stainless steel. 10.000 square meters of the glas houses 136.000 solar cells, which supplies eight percent of the daily electricity the train station uses.

35. The LED display in the station hall is one of the biggest in the world

The LED screen at Rotterdam Centraal train station is 40 meters by 4,5 meters. It’s a gift from the port of Rotterdam, which is why you will see quite some information and facts about the port of Rotterdam on the screen. They need a special camera to shoot footage for this screen, as normal cameras cannot handle the size of the screen.

36. The train station of Rotterdam is big. Very big

The station hall of the train station of Rotterdam is 10.000 square meters and the highest point of the station is 30 meters high. The tunnel, that passengers use to get to the tracks, is 49 meters wide and 3,3 meters high. The old station hall was 9 meters wide and 2,5 meters high. It’s quite a change, but the rebuilding has made the train station of Rotterdam, one of the most beautiful train stations of The Netherlands.

37. Gabberhouse originated in Rotterdam

In 1970 the first popfestival was held in Rotterdam and youth cultures, such as punk and hiphop, were upcoming in the city. A youth culture that also appeared around that time period is gabber. In 1989, there was a new sound that was different from the mellow house in the club Parkzicht. A dj from Amsterdam called the new harsh sound gabberhouse.

But this was only the beginning of the gabber scene. Besides a noticeable music genre and dance style, they created their own way of life and clothing style (bomberjackets, Nike Air Max, etc.). Nowadays gabber youth culture is barely celebrated and has decreased in popularity and size over the past decades.

38. The first civilian airport in Europe was created in Rotterdam

While you are probably aware of the existence of Rotterdam The Hague Airport, or Vliegveld Zestienhoven, Rotterdam has had an airport before the current one. Vliegveld Waalhaven, or Airport Waalhaven, was the first civilian airport in Europe and opened in 1920. On the first day of the opening of the airport a mail flight went to London. The first Dutch cargo flights took of from this airport since 1924. In the 30s the airport was a famous place to go for a day trip in and around Rotterdam. In 1939, during the general mobilisation the airport was claimed by the Dutch army and was completely destroyed after the German invasion.

Things to know of the airports Schiphol of The Netherlands | General information The Netherlands | Visiting The Dutch Countryside

39. The oldest and biggest museum harbour in The Netherlands can be found in Rotterdam

The Leuvehaven in Rotterdam is a beautiful area to visit in Rotterdam, especially if you’re interested in discovering more of the history of the shipping industry and maritime Rotterdam. Leuvehaven is the oldest and biggest museumharbour in The Netherlands. You can visit the Maritime museum in Rotterdam to get a better understanding of the history and influence of the maritime world in our day to day lives.

40. There’s a very important forgotten bombardment in Rotterdam

The bombardment of May 1940 on Rotterdam by the Germans isn’t the only one that hit the city in its heart. There’s at least one bombardment that took place in Rotterdam that isn’t spoken about. On the 31st of March 1943, the allies wanted to bomb shipbuilding facilities and a railway yard in the west of Rotterdam. But a massive disaster was on its way. Instead of bombing the industry area between Keilehaven and Merwehaven, American bombers disposed dozens of firebombs around the Marconiplein and on houses around the Schiedamseweg. Between 326 and 400 people die and there were more than 400 wounded. Around 16.000 people became homeless in minutes.

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A spark of hope was the rescue of a 3-year-old girl that was found under the debris after 50 hours and survived.

41. The reason why one of Rotterdams’ nicknames is 010

Almost a century ago you used to call telephone operators, you’d have to tell them which city you had to call and they would connect you to the city. When the 1920s was on its way, tests were conducted to make the operator unnecessary so you could call directly to any other city. In the 1930s a national numbering plan was designed. First there would be a zero, after the zero you’d choose the number for the district, the next digit would be the sector and the last digit was the telephone network.

After that area codes were coming to town. For instance, the district of Rotterdam was first numbered 08, but later 018. Amsterdam used to be 09, but later it became 029. Until the early 1950s, the first zero of the area code was written as ‘K’. As early Dutch telephones had a dial with in addition to numbers also the letters A to H, J and K. And the 0 corresponded to the K.

We’re getting closer to figuring out why 010 is the nickname of Rotterdam. When the telephone network was automated, each city in The Netherlands was assigned a code. The code for the Rotterdam area changed from 018 to K1800. As the number of telephones rose explosively, the area codes changed again in 1954. At that time Rotterdam became 01800.

But the rise of the telephones and telephone numbers was unstoppable, people even had to wait months to get a connection. And soon, there was a need for shorter area codes in larger cities within The Netherlands. They looked at the area codes and figured that they’d had to stay as close to the original number as possible to not confuse people. Amsterdam was changed from 02900 to 020 and Rotterdam went from 01800 to 010.

So, there you have it. How and why Rotterdam is nicknamed 010. And for if you’re wondering, yes, one of Amsterdams nicknames is 020. Discover more interesting and fun facts about Amsterdam here.

42. The neighbourhood of Hillegersberg in Rotterdam is pretty old

The oldest known writings and certificates about Hillegersberg date back to 993. Nowadays Hillegersberg is part of Rotterdam, but that wasn’t always the case. Hillegersberg has been a part of Rotterdam since 1941. The foundations of the church of Hillegersberg dates back to around the year 1000, although its current form dates to around 1500.

Technically that would make the church the oldest monument of the city of Rotterdam in its current form. However, if you look at the city of Rotterdam itself, without the added neighbourhoods, it’s not.

43. The Pilgrim Fathers left Delfshaven in 1620 to go to the U.S.A

Delfshaven was a part of Delft, as I have told you in this facts about Rotterdam article a little earlier. The Pilgrim Fathers left for the U.S.A in 1620 from Delfshaven, with a stopover in England. And they had their last service in one of Rotterdams, or should I say Delfts, most beautiful buildings.

In the middle of one of the most beautiful areas of Rotterdam, you can find the Old or Pilgrim Father’s Church. It was built as a Roman Catholic church in 1417. In 1574 the church was converted into a Protestant church. The facade of this church in Rotterdam dates back to 1761. Only the pillars in the church are from the 15th century.

44. Napoleon entered his visit of Rotterdam through the Delftsche Poort

In 1811 Napoleon, the emperor, visited Rotterdam and entered the city through one of the city gates of Rotterdam called the Delftsche Poort. Nowadays one of the highest buildings of The Netherlands is located on this exact location and it’s called, surprise surprise, the Delftse Poort.

Rotterdam used to have around ten city gates, but the Delftsche Poort was the last city gate standing until it was demolished by the German occupiers. Nowadays you can find a modern and steel version of the Delftsche Poort on the original location of the city gate at Haagseveer 7, 3011 AW Rotterdam. Around the gate you will see some remains from ornaments that were saved from the old city gate.

45. The LED lights on the streets of Rotterdam actually have a very important meaning

You might have noticed them when you’re walking around Rotterdam, LED lights are placed all throughout the city. There a two kind of lights: red and green. Obviously, the lights can be seen best during the evening.

The red lights form a border through the city of Rotterdam. It refers to the edge of the burning city after the bombardments by the German airforce of the 14th of May 1940.

54 Heinkel bombers flew from the east and dropped 97.000 kilo high-explosive bombs all over Rotterdam. In 15 minutes, a big part of the entire centre of Rotterdam was destroyed by the bombs. But that wasn’t all. Spring was warm and dry that year, plus the gusts of wind were heavy. This made the fire spread very fast and the fire brigades had a lot of trouble to control the fire. Especially since water pipes were destroyed as well, so the city of Rotterdam burned for days in a row. Since the 14th of May 2010, exactly 70 years after the bombardment, the edge of the burning city has been permanently marked with led lights.

You can follow the lights of the edge and walk one of the best walking routes of Rotterdam, but there are also clear maps of the route available at the tourist office of Rotterdam and bookshops all throughout the city. The entire length of this historic WW2 walking route in Rotterdam is 12 kilometers. You are often able to see the contrast of the old and new buildings when you walk through streets in Rotterdam. It’s in my opinion one of the best things you can do in Rotterdam when you have 24 hours or a weekend.

The green lights can be found on the Noordereiland (Northern island). The reason why these lights are green is because these parts of Rotterdam have been destroyed by friendly fire (Dutch fire to be exact) to defend the city. On the other side of the bridges across the Meuse river in Rotterdam, Dutch marines were shooting on Germans that were located on the Noordereiland. You can see that the icon in the green lights misses the silhouet of a German bomber, which can be found in the red lights.

46. The Witte Huis was the first skyscraper of Rotterdam

The Witte Huis, or The White House, is the name of the first skyscraper of Rotterdam. It was the highest office buildings of Europe for a while and was one of the only buildings in the city centre of Rotterdam that survived the big bombardment in 1940.

At the end of the 19th century, architect Willem Molenbroek, designed the 11 stories tall building (43 meters). But there were many skeptical people who believed that the soil wouldn’t be able to support the building. The white house was built between 1897 and 1898 for 127.900 Guilders.

The Witte Huis was heavily under fire during the Second World War, which still can be seen by the bullet holes in at the side of the WIjnhaven. On the roof of this ‘skyscraper’ you can find a beautiful viewing platform and discover one of the best views of Rotterdam.

47. Rotterdam is home to 905 restaurants

So, if you’re having trouble with finding a restaurant in Rotterdam, then I don’t know how you do it. However, not all of them are great of course.

48. The previous flagship of the Holland Amerika cruise line is still in Rotterdam

The SS Rotterdam is a legendary ship from the old Holland Amerika Lijn. It’s 228 meters long, 28 meters wide, 51 meters high and it’s a hotel nowadays. So if you’re looking for special and unusual places to stay in Rotterdam, then the ss Rotterdam is the perfect accommodation for you.

49. There’s a great hidden cocktail bar in Rotterdam that is very secretive

This bar is hidden in the Scheepsvaart area of Rotterdam and you won’t find it without instructions. It’s called Dr. and is completely doctors themed. This is one of the best cocktail bars of Rotterdam and has been opened since 2012. You are only allowed entry in the bar through your patient number that you get when you reserve a spot on the website of Dr. Rotterdam.

No one is allowed to take photos inside the bar or use cellphones, nor are you allowed to talk about the bar as it spoils the mystery. And trust me, you’re willing to play the game. The only photo that you are able of to get a photo of this unusual place in Rotterdam, is a polaroid that can be taken by one of the bartenders, or doctors. Inside the bar you will find darkness, light up candles and a one of a kind atmosphere.

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50. Kapsalon was invented in Rotterdam

When you translate the Dutch word of kapsalon, you will discover that it means hairdresser. But this is not what makes kapsalon so special. Kapsalon is a dish, or actually, the perfect food after a night out and it was first thought of by a hairdresser in The Netherlands.

He came to shawarma shop El Aviva in Rotterdam and wanted fries plus shawarma in one little container. Add a few slices of cheese, some lettuce, tomato, garlic sauce and sambal, and you have the world famous kapsalon. You can find El Aviva at Schiedamseweg 22A, Rotterdam

51. The Witte de Withstraat is one of Rotterdams most populair streets

What I find so interesting about many populair streets in cities all throughout The Netherlands nowadays, is that many of these streets were rough areas decades ago. The Witte de Withstraat was the same. In the 70s it had a very bad reputation as there were many illegal casinos and shady cafes.

During the 90s, the Witte de With was getting a major makeover as part of an area that had to connect the Museumpark and the Maritime Museum in Rotterdam. As of today you will find that the Witte de Withstraat is one of the most fun streets to explore in Rotterdam. You can find great cafes, restaurants, shops, art galeries and monuments all throughout this 320 meter long street.

52. The parking garage underneath the famous Markthal has a free museum

De Tijdtrap is one of Rotterdams free museums that you must visit. Here you can find a permanent exhibition of archeological artifacts that they found in the soil before they built the Markthal.  This exhibition in Rotterdam will take you through the history of Rotterdam. It can be visited every day in this parking garage in Rotterdam at level -2, -3 and -4 and doesn’t cost you a single thing. Every floor has a different period of time that is discussed and to be discovered.

53. Parts of the city centre of Rotterdam were used as farmland

Rotterdam went through a horrible time during the Second World War. Big, open spaces remained in the city after the bombings of May 1940. And part of those open spaces were used as agricultural land.

54. Rotterdam has its own cheese

Rotterdamsche oude, or old cheese from Rotterdam, has to be the perfect Dutch souvenir to buy from Rotterdam. Old Amsterdam cheese was served in the business lounge of the Kuip stadion, but wasn’t the taste of the visitors. So entrepreneurs decided that Rotterdam needed its own cheese as well. Et voila.

55. The Rijnhavenbrug (bridge) isn’t its correct name

The Rijnhavenbrug is the shortest way to get from Katendrecht to the Kop van Zuid. The name might be officially correct, the locals call it a little different. Local Rotterdammers call the Rijnhavenbrug ‘De Hoerenloper’, or the regular user of prostitutes. The reason for that is that it refers to the history of Katendrecht. Katendrecht was a famous area for the regular visitors of prostitutes and bars.

56. The port of Rotterdam isn’t as controlled as you might think

Only 1,3% of all containers that arrive in Rotterdam are checked by the border security. This while more than 12 million containers arrive at the port of Rotterdam every year. Whether a container is checked or not depends on the destination and its content.

57. Airplanes are flying from Western Europe because of the harbour in Rotterdam

Another fun fact about the port of Rotterdam is that the oil refineries in the harbour have direct pipelines to the airports of Schiphol, Zaventem and Frankfurt. So when you’re flying from these three places, you’re getting there thanks to the fuel that comes from the port of Rotterdam.

58. Gnome buttplug is the most famous piece of art of Rotterdam

The actual name of the statue is Santa Claus and its Christmas tree. It was made by artist Paul McCarthy who wanted to discuss and discourage the superficial consumer culture. He got more and more annoyed by the Christmas advertisements from Coca Cola, which contributes to the consumer culture surrounding Santa Claus.

So Paul created the statue to make fun of the commercials. Funnily enough, the statue was first placed in the museum Boijmans en van Beuningen. Nowadays, you can visit the statue at Eendrachtsplein, 3012 LA Rotterdam. You will understand very soon why everyone calls it ‘Kabouter buttplug’, or Gnome buttplug.

59. You will find a town in the middle of the petrochemical industry in the port of Rotterdam

Between the harbours of Rotterdam you will find the neighbourhood of Heijplaat. One of the companies that was involved in the shipping yard industry started building and maintaining ships in 1904. One of the ships was the ss Rotterdam. But because it was quite a remote area, employees were hard to come by. So they built the village of Heijplaat, including churches, schools and shops. And the port continued to grow around the village. Nowadays, Heijplaat is a neighbourhood of Rotterdam.

60. The bombardment of Rotterdam in 1940 could’ve been even worse

German general Schmidt ordered the fire of dozens of signal flares on the Noordereiland (Northern island), that was currently in the possession of the Germans. He did this to protect his troops and because he knew that the capitulation wouldn’t take long. While the negotiations were happening, bombers were already on their way. The bombers that arrived in Rotterdam from the south saw the flares and turned around without dropping the bombs on Rotterdam.

61. The German ultimatum was handed to Dutch officials at Statenweg 147

On the 14th of May 1940, the German ultimatum was handed to the Dutch officials. This happened at Statenweg 147. Nowadays you will see a normal house on its exact location, but there’s a monument across the building in commemoration of the event.

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I hope you enjoyed this article and have discover many fun and interesting facts about Rotterdam. And I truly hope that you’ve learned something new, because that makes exploring and travelling to Rotterdam so much more fun. You will be able to get off the beaten path in Rotterdam with the few extra tips I gave you and discover some fun and free things to do to add to your one day in Rotterdam itinerary. All of that while discovering and learning more about Rotterdam, with every step you take. Share this post!!

 

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Manon

Founder of Visiting The Dutch Countryside at Visiting The Dutch Countryside
Hey there! My name is Manon and I'm the founder of Visiting The Dutch Countryside, a local travel blog about The Netherlands. I also wrote the article you just read. I'm a Dutch, born and raised, travel blogger. I decided that it's time that tourists explore The Netherlands beyond the crowds and not just Amsterdam. Have fun exploring The Netherlands!
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