A few years ago I read about pristine islands facing the North Sea and not too far from the Dutch coast. After keeping this idea on hiatus for a long time, last summer was the right one to return to the country of tulips, see some of his most famous cities and drive us to the Frisian Islands.
Landed in Eindhoven, we get on board a rental car and begin our journey on the road.
We are heading to Rotterdam but, before arriving, a dutiful stop awaits us at the nineteen mills of Kinderdijk Molens (Children’s Dam), wrapped in an ancient and fairytale atmosphere. Some of these were built in 1740, two are original and are put into operation every other day.
This is truly the perfect place to start enjoying all the “Dutchness” of the country. While we tourists walk around intent on enjoying the atmosphere and catching the perfect shot, the local kids are amused by diving from the pier or crossing the dam aboard old boats to face an unusual fiery temperature.
The last time we visited the famous “gateway to Europe” was in 2012, the year in which we lived for 6 months in Brussels. The desire to see her again was strong. We had to go back! So we kick off with our tour, aiming for the heart of the city, parking not far from the brilliant Cubic Houses by Dutch architect Piet Blom.
These unusual perched and overturned houses – similar to thick canopy of trees – were built in the 1960s and are still in use today. The sun is high and warm over the old port where the boats are moored. The yellow of the kubuswoningen appears brighter in the midday light. They are so beautiful that we observe and photograph them from every point of view as if we were seeing them for the first time.
Our stomach is sending starving signals and so we sit not too far from here to have lunch at the tables of LOT & DAAN.
We leave our luggage at the hotel before parking the car in one of the very expensive Dutch parking lots. The small and historic Hotel Van Walsum will be our home for one night. We walk towards the center to reach our first appointment today. The museums in the city are numerous, and although we would like to review the Witt DeWit and discover the others, we have secured an entrance ticket for the “brand new” DEPOT.
The DEPOT, with its circular shape and rigorously covered with mirrors, offers a whole new point of view on art and its conservation. As the name suggests, in fact, it is a museum-deposit where it is possible to savor the art on display, in the storage rooms, in the restoration laboratories and during the assembly of the installations. The museum also houses a restaurant / café and a roof garden that views the whole of Rotterdam from above.
If the view of the city from the Depot is not enough, right in front is the Het Niuwe Instituut with a shocking pink rooftop from which, also here, it is possible to observe the sunset and the city skyline for free (after 5pm).
Walking around we find familiar places such as the shopping streets of Oldenbarneveltstraat and Mauritskwartier, the pointed Laurenskerk and the new Markthal which, with its rounded shape, envelops the open-air market where there are numerous restaurants and street-food stalls to have a culinary tour of the world. With the sun fading and its descent begins, we go to the ultramodern district of Kop Van Zuid, the same where the famous New York Hotel stands with its orange-white striped curtains.
It is aperitif time and the locals do not seem to be disturbed by the heat, they drink drinks sitting at the tables of the Hotel or in the raw seats overlooking the water of the Nieuwe Maas river.
To reach this renewed side of the city it is essential to cross the Erasmusbrug, the bridge similar to a white swan that connects the new city to the old one. The sky begins to turn orange and purple, so we decide to eat while looking at the river and the skyline of the city as the sun goes out and the lights of the buildings come on in front of us. A fresher air arrives, perfect for strolling on a romantic mid-August evening.
The following day, after breakfast, we are ready to leave for the next destination:
NEXT STOP > Den Haag
In these ten years, also due to recent inflation, even Rotterdam has become more expensive than it once was.
FLY: With Ryanair you arrive at Eindhoven airport. In about 1 hour and 30 minutes by car you can reach Rotterdam.
SLEEP: The cost of good quality hotels is around € 85 and does not include breakfast.
MOVE AROUND: We rented a car from the Alamo. We have always had a good time with this company because it is competitively priced.
EAT: Choosing trendiest places to eat “light” means investing some extra money with an average cost of about € 40/50 for two people.
- LOT & DAAN (Mix)
- Brasserie Tines (Mix)
- Soufflé Cafè (Japensese)
- Kite Restaurant (Middle Eastern)
- Barlou (European)
- 8Mates (European)
- Sugo Wastblaak (Italian)
SEE: In addition to the aforementioned museums, there are other artistic stops not to be missed in the city.
- Kunsthal Rotterdam
- Het Niuwe Instituut
- Witt De Wit Museum
- Chabot Museum (https://chabotmuseum.nl/english/)
- Sonneveld House (Casa Museum anni 60)