Hanneke W. is a Music Lover, Global Explorer, and Art Aficionado. She recently went to Rotterdam for the art lover's paradise, Art Rotterdam Week, and discovered the city's highlights, from top sights to hidden gems. This is her guide.

Rotterdam Cube Houses

I just came back from visiting Art Rotterdam this year and was super impressed by the charm of Netherlands’ second largest city. If you plan on visiting, here are some tips I gathered from my trip!

It may play second fiddle to Amsterdam, but Rotterdam is a young dynamic world city with striking new architecture, 644 000 people with over 170 nationalities and an unpolished charm. Bombed in WW2, it has now completely risen into an amazing vibrant city.

Whether it’s the constantly changing skyline with its bold architecture, the port or the can-do mentality of its residents, Rotterdam is an energetic city with a distinct character, always in motion. Its art, design and food scene is well worth exploring.

Art Rotterdam

If you’re into art, the best time to visit Rotterdam is during Art Rotterdam Week in early February.

During Art Rotterdam Week, the city changes into a mecca for art lovers. Rotterdam is then all about fairs and special exhibitions. While getting to know the artistic side of Rotterdam, you end up in the most special places. There are exhibitions, open studios, pop-up shows, art fairs and parties that attract visitors around the world.

Art Rotterdam is the main art fair, with galleries from all over the world, displaying contemporary works in one of the coolest buildings of the city: the Van Nelle Fabriek, a former tobacco factory.

Van Nelle Fabriek

Designed by famous Dutch architect, Rem Koolhaas, and recently renovated, Kunsthal Rotterdam, on Museumpark, showcases contemporary art and photography. On view through March 8 is the first retrospective on French creator Thierry Mugler. This major exhibition reveals the multiple universes of this undeniably artistic figure — visionary couturier, director, photographer and perfumer — in a retrospective of his work, especially his ready-to-wear and haute couture creations, including his famous outfits from George Michaels’ “Too Funky” video.

Haute Photographie is the boutique photography fair initiated by Roy Kayhmann, Director of the Kahmann Gallery and Publisher of GUP Magazine. This fair is interesting for both the seasoned art collector and the young photography fan. Haute is the fair without booths, pushing the idea of the art fair to a new level.

In addition to Art Rotterdam, Kunsthal Rotterdam and Haute Photographie, there is much more to visit during Art Rotterdam Week, including Object Rotterdam, TEC ART Rotterdam, The Performance Show and more.

Where to stay

  • Supernova

  • Citizen M

  • The Slaak

  • The James

  • Bazar

  • Room Mate Bruno

  • Hotel New York

  • Mainport

  • Pincoffs

Where to eat

  • San Frou Frou

  • Mecca

  • Euskadi

  • Diego’s

  • Cotazur by Rosso

  • Calaboose

  • Parquit

  • Euromast

  • Wes

  • Supermercado

  • Tres

  • Heroine

  • Rebelz aan de Rotte

  • Brasserie Nieuw Noord

  • Weena

  • Cornelis

Where to play

  • Roes

  • The Suicide Club

  • Barrel proof

  • Now & Wow

  • Perron

  • Maassilo

Where to shop

  • Wendela van Dijk

  • Evernow

  • De Garage

  • Dear Hunter vintage

  • Pantoufle

  • Keet

  • Hutspot

  • Louen

  • Bijenkorf

What to visit

Kralingse Bos — Image by Iris van den Broek via Ridderkerks Dagblad

  • Rent a bike and explore Kralingse Bos park

  • Have dinner at the restaurant in the Euromast

  • Visit the Foodhallen

  • Take an architecture tour, and make sure to include the famous Cube Houses

  • Watch a match of Feyenoord Rotterdam

  • Check out Hotel New York

  • Cross the Erasmus Bridge

No matter what time of year you go, there's lots to enjoy in this up-and-coming city. Safe travels, ICBRKRs!


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