How to Make the Most of Your Day in Rotterdam

It’s been a few years since I last visited Rotterdam. This time, work brought me here, so I didn’t have much time for a thorough city tour. Ideally, I would have loved to explore the city the whole day.

But is one day enough? I think it is. Rotterdam may be a small city, but it offers excellent public transport, which can help you cover much ground in a day. However, how much you can see in one day depends on the weather. Fortunately, I was lucky that the sun shone brightly during my short stroll.

My plan for the day was simple: see as much as possible on my way to the Erasmus Bridge and then to the Blaak quarter. I planned to walk, but Rotterdam offers several public transportation options. After breakfast, I started the walk through the city. Luckily, I stayed in a hotel in an excellent location on Eendrachtsweg, where several street sculptures exist.

Art and sculptures in Rotterdam

I found many works of art and sculptures scattered throughout the city. However, I saw only a tiny fraction of them.

In the first place I visited Qwertz, which was right in front of my hotel. The sculptures were created by the Austrian artist Franz West and placed on Eendrachtsweg in 2001. I call them “colourful caterpillars” because they remind me of caterpillars crawling on the grass. These sculptures can stimulate the imagination and create different associations for each person.

Qwertz, Rotterdam

Just a few meters away from the caterpillars, there is a controversial statue of Santa Claus by Paul McCarthy. Typically, I would expect Santa Claus to hold a Christmas tree and a bell, but this Santa Claus was different! Instead of a tree, he had a huge anal plug. This provocative sculpture was originally created as a response to a Coca-Cola ad and is sure to evoke a strong reaction.

The Gundam was only a few meters away from the colourful caterpillars and Santa Claus. This statue reminds me of my favourite character from the Transformers movie – Optimus Prime. Of course, I couldn’t resist taking a photo with him. The author, Hans van Bentem, was inspired by the Japanese animated series Gundam, so technically, this statue is not a Transformer, but that doesn’t stop me from calling him Optimus Prime. Another sculpture in the same park is Anita by David Bade.


At the intersection of Westblaak and Schiedamsedijk was Cascade by Joep van Lieshout. It consisted of 18 oil barrels stacked on each other, creating a waterfall effect while forming human bodies. The sculpture was intended to highlight the economic crisis and the depletion of natural resources. Its location in the centre of Rotterdam’s commercial and financial district amplified these messages.

Cascade by Joep van Lieshout

The last statue I saw on my way to the Erasmus Bridge was the Marathonbeeld by Henk Visch. This colourful artwork depicted the different nationalities participating in the marathon. In the background, you could see another icon of Rotterdam, featured in many music videos, the Inntel Hotels Rotterdam Centre.

Marathonbeeld and Inntel Hotels Rotterdam Centre

Rotterdam offers many more sculptures scattered around the city, including the Lost Luggage Depot, Elevazione (a bronze tree trunk), Three Columns, The Long Thin Yellow Legs of Architecture, and many others. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to see them all.

Erasmus Bridge, the symbol of Rotterdam

The Erasmus Bridge, built in 1996, is one of the most iconic symbols of Rotterdam. This modern bridge stretches over 800 meters and connects both banks of the Nieuwe Maas. Named after the famous Dutch philosopher Desiderio Erasmus, born in Rotterdam in the 15th century, the bridge is a must-see attraction for tourists and visitors. It offers stunning views of the city and the surrounding area. Additionally, boat trips are available, allowing one to view the city’s architecture from the river.

Erasmus Bridge
Erasmus Bridge
de Boeg monument
de Boeg monument

Just a few meters from the colourful Marathonbeeld statue is the de Boeg monument, dedicated to all who fought in World War II. It symbolizes the ships that left Rotterdam during the war and serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by many. While walking from the monument to Willemsburg, I tried to find the Slovak flag and was surprised that I didn’t recognize some flags. How many flags did you guess correctly? Tell me more and comment below.

Willemsburg, a historic district of Rotterdam built in the 19th century, was named after Dutch King Wilhelm I. Originally an exclusive area for the wealthy residents of Rotterdam, it features many beautiful houses and monuments, such as the Cathedral of St. Vavrineca, the Nederlands Fotomuseum, and the SS Rotterdam museum. Willemsburg also boasts a large shopping centre where visitors can enjoy shopping or dining in various restaurants and cafes.

Blaak: Kubushaus and Markthal

The Blaak area is well-known for two buildings – Kubushaus and Markthal. Firstly, I went to see Kubushaus, cube-shaped houses painted in yellow. Some of these houses operate as a hostel, providing tourists from all over the world with the opportunity to stay in this unique building. One of the houses is open to the public, allowing anyone curious to see what it’s like to live in such a house from the inside for a fee of €3.


Afterwards, I went to Markthal that was opened in 2014 and served as a mixed-use residential and commercial building. Inside, there are numerous food stalls featuring cuisine from all over the world. Look at the stunning, colourful ceiling. There are many food stalls in Markthal that offer traditional Dutch food (more about it in this article).

My walk ended in the Markthal. However, this does not mean there aren’t more exciting places to see in Rotterdam. The city offers even more attractions that are worth visiting. For those who want to experience a fantastic bird’s-eye view, I recommend visiting the Euromast, which provides a 360-degree view of the entire city and its surroundings. For those who would like to experience a bit of history, I recommend visiting Delfshaven, the oldest part of the city, which is the only area that survived the bombing during the Second World War. If you don’t want to walk, use 9292 or Citymapper to plan your routes.

Ancient Windmills in Kinderdijk

If you have more time, I strongly recommend visiting Kinderdijk, near Rotterdam. You can admire many ancient windmills and water mills in the village. Kinderdijk is home to 19 such mills, over a century old, and have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1997. In addition to the water and windmills, you can also enjoy beautiful scenery, take walks and relax in the peaceful environment that Kinderdijk offers. If you decide to visit Rotterdam, Kinderdijk is definitely a place you shouldn’t miss.

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