November can be a tough month for everyone – maybe we get homesick or we crave a holiday, yet we’re only halfway into the semester. Adding the current situation on top of this, it makes it hard to have new experiences and discover more of Rotterdam. But there’s hope! I have put together two tours that maybe will allow you to go someplace new, and see exciting parts of Rotterdam that stand by themselves and do not need to be filled with bars and restaurants to be appealing. This is for my fellow bikers and walkers, to be enjoyed on a sunny day; all the places I love in this city and that tourists do not bat an eye to, usually.
A good start into your journey to the West is the newly-built Boijmans Depot – an art archive that will allow the public to see a complete art collection, instead of just glimpses of it displayed in a museum. It’s not open yet, but you can still admire the glass structure from the outside.
Het Park is just around the corner, and it’s a good spot to walk around and relax a little. Make sure to check out “The Lost Pearl”, an artwork which functions as a playground.
Detour – Maastunnel
The Maastunnel for bikes and pedestrians was just reopened and it takes you from the area around Euromast all the way to the South side – this saves you from going through the effort of biking over a bridge. The bike ride itself is fascinating, especially when done at night.
Moving on, from Het Park, Delfshaven is just a 10-minute bike ride away. It used to belong to Delft until it got annexed to Rotterdam. It is what you would expect from a typical Dutch scenery – small canals and century-old, narrow houses with outdoor ornaments. Take a stroll around Delfshaven’s streets and check out its historical harbor. On the way there, you might bump into de Schat van Schonderloo, a volunteer-made small garden, where you can take a break from your city tour.
You can then get closer to the outskirts of Rotterdam, where a surprising cultural life usually takes place. Located near Marconiplein, spots such as Keilecafe, AVL Mundo and de Weelde are where the young artistic scene of Rotterdam finds refuge.
You can take a look at the industrial halls of the area and admire some outdoor artworks, like the ones displayed at AVL Mundo.
Don’t forget to check out DakPark, a man-made park on the rooftop of a long and narrow building. It has a nice view of the river and harbor and it’s a nice escape from the industrial feel of the area.
Oude Noorden, considered the creative hotspot of the city, is one of my favorite neighborhoods of Rotterdam. A good starting point in your journey is the well-known yellow bridge, right across from the New Delft Gate – some of you might know it as the big orange structure. The yellow bridge will take you close to Vijverhofstraat, an active street with coffee spots, a vinyl shop and a lot of creatives’ studios. You can discover most of them by following the path of the non-functional railway bridge which now hosts small businesses and the home of many creative professionals.
You will eventually reach Eudokiaplein, from which you can either follow the path of the canal on Bergsingel, or you can go take a look at Zwart Janstraat, where a lot of cheap places are open for food take-away. Reaching the end of this street will take you to Zwaanshals, another charming street filled up with vintage shops and small boutiques where you can discover what some of Rotterdam’s artists are up to!
All in all, these tours might help you get an (even) more meaningful perspective on what Rotterdam is like, or they might offer you a refreshing afternoon walk or bike.
Author: Bianca Raicu
Editor: Gwendolyne Cheung
Photographer: Vitalii Zharinov