Whenever holidays draw near, it's a good idea to check if you need to big up on books. Why not learn more about the city you live in? When looking for a book about Rotterdam, you are spoiled for choice!
Here are my five favourite choices for books about Rotterdam, in random order and regardless of age group:
Stadskookboek Rotterdam 📷 Anna Soetens
This book is first and foremost about the foodies, chefs, restaurant owners and people involved in the food business in Rotterdam; some more, some less famous outside the city. Should you be intrigued by this field, you will recognize quite a few faces.
The book tells you where to get the products and meals they love and which you will love, too. It narrates their stories, which are interwoven with the story of the city itself. And, all COVID-proof, at the back of the book you will find favourite recipes from the people that this book is about. This enables you to enjoy their delicious dishes in the comfort and safety of your own home.
Just a word of warning: these are professionals, so for the average home cook (me) the recipes and ingredients are not for weekday nights dinners. Authors are food journalists Wim de Jong and Frank van Dijl.
Feest 📷 Anna Soetens
This children’s book is for smaller children and does not require you to know a lot of Dutch, but it shows all the key buildings and places in Rotterdam. My children love telling me the name of the places where the mouse finds the other characters. The story, as mentioned, about a mouse. It wants to throw a party and subsequently must find its friends all over the city. For me, it is slightly surprising that the real party does isn't featured in the book. That said, it is very cutely drawn, nicely written and has a big recognition factor. Concept and Illustration are by Caroline Ellerbeck, text Cindy van Venetien.
Rotterdam 📷 Anna Soetens
This tome tells the complete history of Rotterdam. All of it. Starting at its humble beginnings as a sand bench where nobody wanted to settle, to the fishing parish Rotta, to the building of the Sint Laurents church the first main stone building during the 16th century.
The main part of the book however is about the most eventful part of its history. The focus is thus on the 20th century, the text of roughly 470 of the 560 pages assisted with many contemporary pictures makes it a joy to flip through as much as read it. The volume has been carefully created by Rotterdam specialists Jan Oudenaarden and Rien Vroegindeweij.
Nijntje Opa en Opoe Pluis 📷 Anna Soetens
Nijntje: Opa en Opoe Pluis
Another children’s book? Well, yes and no. Of course, it is meant for children, coming from Dick Bruna a Dutch authority in children’s books. This one is about Nijntje or Miffy, as you might know her. She is visiting her grandparents in Rotterdam, so a lot of Rotterdam slang is used in this book, easy enough to understand even if you are not too good with the Dutch language yet. Cute, funny, and very “educational”.
De kleine Geschiedenis van Rotterdam voor dummies 📷 Anna Soetens
De kleine Geschiedenis van Rotterdam voor dummies
If you want to do your own search on Rotterdam books or books from Rotterdam’s writers a good place to start is the Literature Price Beste Rotterdamse Boek or your local Rotterdam books store.
If you rather want the classics about specific places or history or what to do in Rotterdam you can always pop round to the Rotterdam tourist information or Donner bookstore who have their own selections.