The bridges of Rotterdam - interesting facts and details

The bridges of Rotterdam - interesting facts and details

Rotterdam is home to four beautiful and famous bridges; Erasmusbrug, Willemsbrug, De Hef and Van Brienenoordbrug. You might have heard of, or even driven across them before. But, how much do you actually know about them? 


Erasmusbrug - “The Swan”

The Erasmusbrug connects the northern and southern halves of the city by bridging the Nieuwe Maas river. What's cool about the bridge is that it's both a cable-stayed bridge and a drawbridge (bascule) in one. The bascule section allows safe passage for ships which are too large to pass under it. The Erasmusbrug is the biggest and heaviest of its kind in all of Western Europe. It also has the largest panel (of its kind) on earth. The bridge is 802 meters long and carries multiple vehicle lanes, tram tracks, bicycle lanes and sidewalks. 


Erasmusbrug - Erasmus Bridge 📷 Josef SejrekErasmusbrug - Erasmus Bridge 📷 Josef Sejrek


The Erasmusbrug is named after humanist and theologian 'Desiderius Erasmus Roterdamus' (1466 - 1536).  However, it is often referred to as “The Swan” due to its graceful, swan-like design.

The bridge was designed by Dutch architect Ben van Berkel (UNStudio). The construction of the Erasmus bridge cost in excess of 165 million euros. It was officially opened by Queen Beatrix on September 6th, 1996. The bridge is a well known national landmark and has been featured in Red Bull Air Race as well as the 2010 Tour de France. It's also the home of the annual National Firework show. The construction of the bridge brought about much needed economic development for the Kop van Zuid area. 



The Willemsbrug connects the Rotterdam city centre to Noordereiland. From Noordereiland, you can cross the Koninginnebrug (Queen's bridge) into the Feijenoord area. The Willemsbrug is also a cable-stayed bridge, as is the Erasmusbrug. However, the Willemsbrug doesn't have a drawbridge to allow larger vessels to pass through. It's 318 meters long and 33 meters wide. 


Willemsbrug - Willems bridgeWillemsbrug - Willems bridge

The Willemsbrug is named after King Willem III. The architect responsible for the Willemsbrug was Cor Veerling (Gemeentewerken). Construction of the bridge began in 1975. The bridge was opened to the public in 1981. Even though the Willemsbrug is not as pretty or as famous as the nearby Erasmusbrug, it is highly recommended to walk across the Willemsbrug at night for a stunning view of the Rotterdam skyline, with the Erasmusbrug included. 

Fun fact: The current Willemsbrug is actually the second bridge with this name. The original Willemsbrug, built in 1878, was a swing bridge that had to be replaced because it couldn't handle the increasing traffic.


De Hef

Few people know this, but the Hef is actually called Koningshavenbrug. It's a decommissioned vertical-lift bridge which used to be part of a railway line connecting the city of Breda to Rotterdam. The Hef has a length of 79 meters and carries 2 railway tracks. This bridge is a significant example of industrial heritage in the Netherlands. It was also the first of its kind in Europe.


De Hef - KoningshavenbrugDe Hef - Koningshavenbrug

The Hef was designed by Dutch engineer Pieter Joosting and was officially opened on the 31st of October, 1927. It was the first of its kind in all of Western Europe. The bridge was severely damaged by the Nazi bombardment in 1940, However, due to its significance to the railway system, it was quickly rebuilt. The Hef hasn't been used since 1993 and is listed as a national monument.


Van Brienenoordbrug

The Van Brienenoordbrug connects the Eastern part of Rotterdam with the south side of the city. It's a twin tied-arch motorway bridge. But would you guess that one of the arches is actually 25 years older than the other? The original single arch bridge built in 1965 was so heavily used city officials eventually decided to double its width by adding a second, almost identical arch, in 1990. The Van Brienenoordbrug is 1320 metres long and carries 12 lanes of traffic. On any given day, over 250,000 vehicles will cross the bridge. The Van Brienenoordbrug is part of the busiest highway in the Netherlands, the A16. The bridge itself is the longest of its kind in the Netherlands.


Van Brienenoordbrug 📷 Johan KlosVan Brienenoordbrug 📷 Johan Klos

The Van Brienenoordbrug wasn't named after an individual. The name actually refers to the island upon which it's partially built: Eiland van Brienenoord. The island, in turn, was named after baron Arnoud Willem van Brienen van de Groote Lindt, who used to own the island. The bridge also has a bascule (drawbridge) section which takes approximately 18 minutes to open and close. Luckily, this rarely is the case. Of the 140,000 ships that pass through the bridge, only 500 require the bridge to open and close. The Van Brienenoordbrug was designed by W.J. van der Eb and W.P. Goedhart.

The weird Dutch nicknames for iconic Rotterdam architecture

The weird Dutch nicknames for iconic Rotterdam architecture

Rotterdammers love their city, in all its architectural drama. So, when things get named top-down, Rotterdammers tend to name them back: bottom-up. What do those names mean? We will tell you!
The city of Rotterdam is renowned for its architecture. Mainly because after the Second World War, Rotterdam decided to change its perception, its look so to say. Modernity was the direction of choice. As most buildings begin their existence on the drawing board, having people in offices think about all the necessary things, they also have the tendency to get named by those same people. A project name, often with affection, with meaning. But often, in Rotterdam, the people who must live with the architecture think differently of it and just as affectionately give them another name.
Oh, and to be fair: it is a Dutch thing to rename their buildings. Rotterdammers are not the only Dutch people who do it, but they do have most modern buildings and thus a much better starting point for coming up with new and inventive names.
Gain your insights here (in alphabetical order):
Het Blaakse Bos (The Blaak Forest) – Kubuswoningen (Cube houses)Het Blaakse Bos (The Blaak Forest) – Kubuswoningen (Cube houses)

Het Blaakse Bos (The Blaak Forest) – Kubuswoningen (Cube houses)

Designed by architect Piet Blom and finished in 1984, these peculiar cube houses were planned as a village in the city. The cubes are turned to stand on an edge and rest on a pole, making them look like a tree or treehouse. And, of course, several trees become a forest, hence the name “Blaak forest”. All houses stand on a space which spans the busy Blaak street so that there are no cars driving on the ground floor from which to enter the houses. This place is often used for communal and outside activities, seeing that the houses have no outside spaces themselves.
De Blokkendoos (Block Box) – The RotterdamDe Blokkendoos (Block Box) – The Rotterdam

De Blokkendoos (Block Box) – The Rotterdam

The “Office for Metropolitan Architecture” of Remko Koolhaas created the Rotterdam. The building was finished in 2013 and is located on the Wilheminapier. It is overlooking the Maas with a great view of Rotterdam’s inner city and skyline. Inside its 44 floors, there is space for the municipality of Rotterdam, a hotel, offices, parking spaces and many, many apartments. There is space for cafés, restaurants, fitness, and shops. It is one of the biggest buildings in the Netherlands. Its various uses are structured into “blocks” within the building.
The Buttplug Gnome – Santa Claus StatueThe Buttplug Gnome – Santa Claus Statue

The Buttplug Gnome – Santa Claus Statue

A large statue by artist Paul McCarthy, depicting a Santa Claus with a tree, is living on Eendrachtsplein – a square at the beginning of the inner city. The statue had been placed in several more central spots, but shopkeepers and inhabitants protested as it was implied by the artists to have a sexual connotation and meant as a commentary of consumerism in the Western world. Now, who would want that in front of their family-run business?
Fluitketel (Kettle) – Station BlaakFluitketel (Kettle) – Station Blaak

Fluitketel (Kettle) – Station Blaak

Station Beurs was one of the four original stations that were dotted around Rotterdam, all specified in their different directions the trains would take from them. However, the Beurs building itself and the station Beurs building were demolished in the Second World War. As the viaduct covering the river Blaak was still intact, the station was rebuilt. Because the Beurs (Stockmarket) building was relocated further towards the city centre, the station was named after the closer Blaak street (covering the former Blaak river).  In 1982, an underground metro station was added and after that, the train station moved also underground – opened in autumn 1993. Because most of the station was thus underground, an entrance building was placed on top of it, making it easier to find the metro and train. This distinct building soon got several nicknames from the people, such as “whistling kettle”, “pedal bin” and “manhole cover”.

Fluitketel (Kettle) – Station BlaakFluitketel (Kettle) – Station Blaak

De Gasfabriek (the Gas Factory) a.k.a. De Stofzuiger (Vacuum cleaner)  a.k.a de IJstaart (Ice cream cake) – The central library

The main library is one of the biggest ones in the Netherlands and the most visited cultural institution of Rotterdam. It has more than 400,000 books, one of the biggest record libraries in Europe and the biggest collection of Erasmus’ works. The library building itself sparks much controversy and nicknames. Built-in 1977 and designed by Rotterdam architect and professor at Delft University, Jaap Bakema. The design was said to be “open, inviting, centrally located and accessible to everyone” and therefore ticking all the boxes as to how a library should be.
The building is an industrial-looking cube, with what looks like a snipped-off corner. A glass “waterfall” contains the network of escalators connecting its six floors. The descending levels have an open setting. The most remarkable element – the one that invokes all the nicknames – is the air-conditioning system. Its angular tubes are on the outside of the building and are painted yellow. Some people say it reminds them of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, others accuse it of imitating said building.

De Glasbak (Het Timmerhuis)De Glasbak (Het Timmerhuis)

De Glasbak (Het Timmerhuis)

Rem Koolhaas and his architecture agency OMA are the creators of this interesting building too. The outside of the Timmerhuis is mainly a glass complex at the Meent, in the city centre. Part of it contains an old building from the fifties in which the Rotterdam Museum, a dynamic and modern city museum, is housed.
De Hef – Koningshavenbrug (The old train bridge)De Hef – Koningshavenbrug (The old train bridge)

De Hef – Koningshavenbrug (The old train bridge)

Permanently raised since 1993, this old train bridge is now one of the landmarks of Rotterdam. It is spanning the Koningshaven next to the Maas and used to be part of the train connection between Rotterdam and Breda. Opened in 1927 and famous for being the first of its kind in Western Europe, and one year later through the Avantgarde film “The Bridge” by Joris Ivens.
Hoerenloper (John) - Rijnhavenbrug– Bridge to KatendrechtHoerenloper (John) - Rijnhavenbrug– Bridge to Katendrecht

Hoerenloper (John) - Rijnhavenbrug– Bridge to Katendrecht

The bridge for pedestrians and cyclists crosses the waters of the Rijnhaven between Hotel New York on Willeminapier and Katendrecht. It was opened in 2012, has an elegant look and can be partly opened for ships. The name stems from the time when Katendrecht used to be the place the sailors left the ships and went to visit the “whores” living in the area for that purpose.
The Kapsalonbak – the central stationThe Kapsalonbak – the central station

The Kapsalonbak – the central station

‘Station Kapsalon', is named after the notorious Rotterdam snack with kebab, chips, and melted cheese in a tin foil box. Rotterdam used to have four train stations, depending on where you wanted to go, instead of “the central station”. In 1957, Rotterdam CS (Central Station) designed by Sybold van Ravenstyn, was opened and one after another the other stations were closed (there are still three train stations left within the city). But as it happens when cities grow and its people travel more, the first Central Station was not modern and not big enough anymore and has recently been replaced by Station Rotterdam Centraal, ceremoniously opened in spring 2014 by King Willem Alexander. The letters and clock of the old main stations are still decorating the face of this new building.
De Koelkast (the fridge) - Erasmus MCDe Koelkast (the fridge) - Erasmus MC

De Koelkast (the fridge) – Erasmus MC

A big, white, and rectangle building that looks like it could well emit coolness. That is why the building of Rotterdam’s biggest hospital, as a matter of fact, the biggest one in the Netherlands (after expansion in 2018), has the nickname: the fridge.
De Koopboog (Shopping Arch) aka De groente grot (Vegetable Cave)  - The MarkthalDe Koopboog (Shopping Arch) aka De groente grot (Vegetable Cave) - The Markthal

De Koopboog (Shopping Arch) aka De groente grot (Vegetable Cave)  - The Markthal

The Markthal is a residential and office building spanning across a central indoor market. The market stalls of the indoor market are framed by restaurants. Opened in 2014, the grey stone arc is closed off at both ends with glass windows, giving it an impressive and quite literally “see-through” effect. Its ceiling is colourfully decorated with an 11,000 m² enlarged artwork by Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam called “Horn of plenty”. 
The hall is built exactly on the spot, where part of the old village Rotta (for more info read: A history of Rotterdam) used to be. A tenth-century farm was found seven metres under the ground. That and several other sides are exhibited in the staircase under the Markthal.
De Koopgoot (the shopping gutter) / Beurstraverse – Town centre shopping streetDe Koopgoot (the shopping gutter) / Beurstraverse – Town centre shopping street

De Koopgoot (the shopping gutter) / Beurstraverse – Town centre shopping street

The shopping gutter, the name even being officially adapted by their own marketing, is the shopping street of Rotterdam. Located as the heard of the city centre, home to about 40 shops, it was opened in 2000. Build to dive below sea level an under the Coolsingel, it is certainly a fascinating bit of shopping architecture.
De Kuip (the Tub) – The Stadium FeyenoordDe Kuip (the Tub) – The Stadium Feyenoord

De Kuip (the Tub) – The Stadium Feyenoord

The actual name, Stadium Feyenoord, derives from the Football club Feyenoord, which in turn has been named after the district Feyenoord in Rotterdam. Its nickname is due to its clean, oval look seen from above – looking like a bathtub. Opened in 1937, the stadium was built of glass, concrete and steel and two free-hanging tiers with no obstacles blocking the view. Johannes Brinkman and Leendert van der Vlugt designed the building, which later even acted as an example to many other famous stadiums.
Het Potlood (the Pencil) – De Blaaktoren – Building next to KubuswoningenHet Potlood (the Pencil) – De Blaaktoren – Building next to Kubuswoningen

Het Potlood (the Pencil) – De Blaaktoren – Building next to Kubuswoningen

The Blaaktower was designed by the same architect as its neighbour the Kubus houses, Piet Blom. Overlooking the city centre, the residential tower is a little more than 60 m high. It has thirteen floors that are used for living, a general service area on the ground floor and a pointy, decorative roof that has no further use, apart from evoking the nickname “the pencil”. The levels are dived into six flats by concrete walls, just like a trivial pursuit piece and its wedges. The apartment block was opened in 1984.
Pluk-me-kaal-straat (Puntegaalstraat, used to be the tax office)Pluk-me-kaal-straat (Puntegaalstraat, used to be the tax office)

Pluk-me-kaal-straat (Puntegaalstraat, used to be the tax office)

Puntegaalstraat 23, a very impressive building that stands out overlooking the big and small sluices, two bridges, a massive roundabout, and a bit of the Euromastpark, used to be the tax office. Today an apartment block, but the name “pluk-me-kaal” stems from these buildings use as the central tax office. Back then, the name of the street was changed by Rotterdammers to and is still known as, “rob-me-blind” street.
De Zwaan (The Swan), also known as The Harp – Erasmus bridgeDe Zwaan (The Swan), also known as The Harp – Erasmus bridge

De Zwaan (The Swan), also known as The Harp – Erasmus bridge

The Erasmus bridge, completed in 1996 and part of Rotterdam’s official logo, connects the north and south part of Rotterdam spans the river “Nieuwe Maas”. Designed by Ben van Berkel the bridge is 802 meters long and 139 meters high. It can partially open for very high ships and includes tram rails as well as car traffic, bike lanes and pedestrian lanes. Its most striking feature is its pale blue, but white looking colour. It has a single pylon, bent backwards, secured with 16 frontstay and two backstay cables giving it its striking, elegant look and nicknames.
Remembering the Rotterdam Blitz: 14 May 1940

Remembering the Rotterdam Blitz: 14 May 1940

The worst event in Rotterdam's history is also the catalyst that led to its incredible rise as one of the most amazing cities in the world. 

For Rotterdam, May 14th is the day that changed everything. The Nazi bombardment of May 14, 1940, lasted only 15 minutes but destroyed almost the entire city. The 97.000 kilo's of bombs and the resulting fires killed more than 850 people, destroyed thousands of buildings and left 80,000 homeless.


The bombing was a 'mistake'

Apparently, when the Germans invaded the Netherlands, they met with more opposition than expected. Frustrated and wary that the English might come to the aid of the Dutch, Schmidt - the German general charged with the task of bringing the Netherlands to its knees - threatened to bomb Rotterdam unless the Dutch surrendered. He was given the mandate to quell the resistance by any means necessary. 

A little-known fact is that the bombing had actually been called off. In the early hours of May 14, general Schmidt gave an ultimatum. Rotterdam had no more than two hours to either surrender or face destruction. Winkelman, the Dutch Commander-in-Chief, tried to stall for time by asking for an official document which was neatly written and properly signed. Schmidt, the German general, was willing to go along with the request and meet the Dutch commander halfway. 

German telegram 📷 Stadsarchief RotterdamGerman telegram 📷 Stadsarchief Rotterdam

However, that message never got to the pilots. Twice, general Schmidt sent telegrams to German high command, asking for the bombing to be delayed. However, the Germans had a complex communications system which required all messages to be coded and sent via various radio towers. This required precious time; the one thing that Rotterdam didn't have. 

In 1940, there was no way to communicate directly with the aircraft once they were up in the air. By the time the message arrived, the Heinkel bombers had already taken off. General Schmidt ordered his men on Noordereiland to fire red flares to signal the bombers to back off. However, his efforts to prevent the bombing were in vain. Though the general did manage to stop the second wave of bombers from dropping their munitions on the city, the damage was already done. 


Could the destruction of Rotterdam have been prevented?

Could the Rotterdam Blitz have been prevented? Probably, but we'll never truly know. Had the Dutch commander made haste and given up immediately, the city could have been spared. Moreover, had the German general not been willing to give the Dutch more time, the second wave of bombers could have also struck Rotterdam and the destruction would have been unimaginable.

In the end, though general Schmidt was technically in charge on the ground, the order to bomb the city came directly from the German high command, under pressure from Hermann Göring, Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe (German Air Force).

Determined to force the Dutch to surrender, the Germans threatened to bomb Utrecht next. After what had been done to Rotterdam, commander Winkelman agreed to capitulate the next day, on May 15th, 1940. 

The Destroyed City / City Without a Heart by Ossip ZadkineThe Destroyed City / City Without a Heart by Ossip Zadkine

The bombing of Rotterdam was devastating and literally left the city without a centre. A fact depicted in the monument many have come to know as 'Stad Zonder Hart' or City Without a Heart (above image). The monument is a sculpture by Russian-born artist Ossip Zadkine who lived in France. You can find the monument on Plein 1940, a square located between the Maritime Museum and the Chamber of Commerce. 


However, from these ashes, which landed as far as Gouda, Rotterdam was reborn. To this day, Rotterdam's fighting spirit and 'can do' mentality is evident in its people, culture and architecture. 

14th May 2023 Remembrance Day Program

10:00-10:30 - Statenweg, opposite number 147
Commemoration of the ultimatum to the city at the monument on Statenweg. Featuring a wreath-laying ceremony by Mayor Aboutaleb and the Northern District Council. Children from Daltonschool De Margriet will read poems.

11:00-12:15 - Laurenskerk Rotterdam Interfaith Memorial Gathering
The commemorative stones that are usually in the Chapel of Peace and Reconciliation will be used in the service. Children light candles for all the victims of the bombing. Followed by a walk to Plein 1940.

13:00-13:45 - Plein 1940 Commemoration of the bombing at the monument De Verwoeste Stad by Zadkine
With the participation of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps Band, city poet Elfie Tromp, students of OBS Het Landje, and a wreath-laying ceremony led by Mayor Aboutaleb among others.

13:27-13:40 – Church bells
Church bells ring within the Fire Boundary to commemorate the duration of the bombing, approximately 13 minutes.

15:00 - Laurenskerk Rotterdam
Organ concert centered around the bombing by Hayo Boerema, accompanied by film footage of the destroyed city. Tickets are available through Laurenskerk.

20:00-22:00 – Central Library, Hoogstraat 110
H.J.A. Hofland Lecture: From Shadow to Salon by Nikki Sterkenburg (journalist and scientist at the NCTV). Following the lecture, Nikki Sterkenburg and Paul van den Bosch (editor-in-chief of AD Regio) will engage in a conversation with debate leader Liesbeth Levy. A reception will follow. Free admission, but please reserve in advance through the library.

Location of Plein 1940 (monument and plaza)

A Brief History of Gabber in Rotterdam and the Netherlands

A Brief History of Gabber in Rotterdam and the Netherlands

Rotterdam was both the birthplace and epicentre of the music genre and youth subculture known as gabber. Check out this brief interactive documentary and learn more about how the movement got started and how it evolved.  
Gabber was the first truly Dutch style of electronic music. In the Netherlands in the 1990s, gabber wasn’t just a sub-genre of hardcore techno, it was one of the country’s most significant youth culture movements. Throughout the decade both the music and subculture transitioned from the fringes of society into mainstream popular culture. But by the turn of the millennium, the entire scene had collapsed. This multimedia gallery by The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision charts the rise and fall of gabber in the Netherlands, featuring archival TV and rave footage, audio recordings, images from private collections, as well as newly commissioned photos by photographer Kim Pattiruhu. The gallery has been curated by writer and music journalist Holly Dicker.

Gabber in the '90s

Gabber grew into one of the most important youth culture movements in the Netherlands. What started in 1990 as a contrary reaction to house culture, ended at the end of the decade with happy hardcore and parodies that hit the charts. The genre gained international status, including Thunderdome parties throughout Europe. The online exhibition was compiled by writer and music journalist Holly Dicker, commissioned by Sound and Vision. As a freelance journalist, she previously wrote for The Wire, The Guardian, Electronic Beats, Boiler Room and Resident Advisor.
Thunderdome, Australians, Parkzicht, Paul Elstak, DJ Rob, Dano, Multigroove: in the nineties, gabber was a striking and important youth culture. For Google Arts & Culture, Sound and Vision curated the online exhibition A Brief History of Gabber. The exhibition shows the rise and fall of the genre, including video recordings, media broadcasts and photos of parties, flyers and clothing. 
A Brief History of Gabber is part of Music, Makers & Machines. Launched on 12 March 2021, this new online exhibition from Google Arts & Culture and YouTube celebrates the history of electronic music. More than 50 organisations, record labels, festivals and industry experts from across Europe worked together to capture the crucial role electronic music plays in music culture. Another Dutch contribution to the exhibition comes from Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), which shares highlights from their cultural programme. 
Peper/Kruidnoot, Oliebol and Stroopwafel - Dutch icons

Peper/Kruidnoot, Oliebol and Stroopwafel - Dutch icons

Pepernoot/ Kruidnoot, Oliebol, and Stroopwafel - the winter trinity of deliciously Dutch baked goods you need to know! Some are always in season, but there are a couple that are more specific to the winter months.
Disclaimer: To be honest the featured Stroopwafel is not necessarily a winter speciality. Nice and warm however it is very suitable for the winter month too. They are very Dutch, in fact, many people do not know them before they come here to the Netherlands. That is probably because winter specialities play a big part in childhood memories, so people tend to be a bit more traditional about them and like their local specialities best. But do give these a try!
So, here we introduce you to some places in Rotterdam where you can find a spectacular version of them. If, however, you would rather want to try to make them at home, creating memories and being 100% Corona proof, you will find tips and tricks for that at the end of this article. 

Pepernoten (Pepper nuts)/Kruidnoten (Spice nuts)

First things first: technically Kruidnoten are one type of cookie and Pepernoten are another one. They are about the same size but differ in taste, texture, and colour. However, not even the Dutch themselves seem to always know the difference, even producers are confused by the names. So, I will explain what the two cookies are supposed to look. But do not be surprised if you find one or the other under the other one’s name! Right then.


Kruidnoten are little, mid-brown, crunchy, hard, round, winter-spice flavoured cookies. They are the main sweet surrounding the appearance of Sinterklaas, being thrown by his helpers in the fistfuls but can be enjoyed from the beginning of October really. They exist in their plain brown form, but you can get them in many, sometimes incredibly specially flavoured chocolate coatings turning them into proper sweets. You can get them in nearly every supermarket or Hema and drug stores, even your local health food store (for the slightly healthier version).
An-Dijvie health food store Kruidnoten with and without chocolate coating 📷 Anna_SoetensAn-Dijvie health food store Kruidnoten with and without chocolate coating 📷 Anna_Soetens
HEMA Sinterklaas sweets 📷 Anna SoetensHEMA Sinterklaas sweets 📷 Anna Soetens
If you want to see their true range of interesting flavours and what they can be used for, then pop by the pop-up store in Rotterdam’s city centre. You can get them in raspberry flavour, split (yes, like in the summer ice cream), truffle and many more. You can even join workshops on how to make them once the café can open again for sitting down. For now, we suggest you go pick up a pack of an interesting flavour, maybe a peppernut flavoured beer, a tea or coffee with something delicious made with peppernut from the counter. For this deluxe experience that would make Sinterklaas happy, do go soon as it is a pop-up store.
Peppernuts pop up store various products with peppernut 📷 Anna SoetensPeppernuts pop up store various products with peppernut 📷 Anna SoetensPeppernuts pop up store café counter 📷 Anna SoetensPeppernuts pop up store café counter 📷 Anna SoetensPeppernuts pop up store fruit flavoured peppernut 📷 Anna SoetensPeppernuts pop up store fruit flavoured peppernut 📷 Anna SoetensPeppernuts pop up store range of peppernut 📷 Anna SoetensPeppernuts pop up store range of peppernut 📷 Anna SoetensPeppernuts pop up store cafe 📷 Anna SoetensPeppernuts pop up store cafe 📷 Anna SoetensPeppernuts pop up store cafe 📷 Anna SoetensPeppernuts pop up store cafe 📷 Anna SoetensPeppernuts pop up store inner city shop and cafe 📷 Anna SoetensPeppernuts pop up store inner city shop and cafe 📷 Anna Soetens


Curious and want to shop the difference? For authentic Pepernoten that are soft, gooey-ish, light brown, angular and have a stronger and distinct spice flavour go buy them at Jordy’s Bakery. No, nowhere else. Those are the ones. You might have to wait until November though.
Pepernoten Jordys bakery by Anne-Wies.nlPepernoten Jordys bakery by


'Stroop-waffles' are exactly what the name suggests: two thin waffles cookies, well okay, one that gets split after backing in the waffle maker, sandwiched together by gooey caramel. Some cities and bakers have varieties, but the caramel is the classic Stroop. Apparently born in the Dutch Gouda somewhere in the 19th or beginning of the 20th century, they are now so Dutch that you can get them everywhere in the Netherlands. Again, not necessarily only to be enjoyed in the winter but an ideal winter snack nonetheless.
If you want the waffle with more luscious decoration in chocolate and sprinklings either for yourself and with coffee, as a children’s treat (come on Wednesdays) or as a present the inner-city shop DIDI’s is your friend. And do not mind the glossy appearance, you can really bring your kids in, the owner is well relaxed.
Glossy DIDs in the inner city café and takeaway 📷 Anna SoetensGlossy DIDs in the inner city café and takeaway 📷 Anna SoetensGlossy DIDs in the inner city café and takeaway by 📷 Anna SoetensGlossy DIDs in the inner city café and takeaway by 📷 Anna SoetensGlossy DIDs in the inner city café and takeaway by 📷 Anna SoetensGlossy DIDs in the inner city café and takeaway by 📷 Anna SoetensGlossy DIDs in the inner city café and takeaway by 📷 Anna SoetensGlossy DIDs in the inner city café and takeaway by 📷 Anna SoetensGlossy DIDs in the inner city café and takeaway by 📷 Anna SoetensGlossy DIDs in the inner city café and takeaway by 📷 Anna SoetensGlossy DIDs in the inner city café and takeaway by 📷 Anna SoetensGlossy DIDs in the inner city café and takeaway by 📷 Anna Soetens

Stroopwafels with other syrup flavours at Stroop Rotterdam

Would you like to try a Stroopwafel that has another flavour in the cookie or the syrup, like sea salt lavender or lemon? Consider paying a visit to Stroop. Visit them in their location in Katendrecht or order here:


Oliebollen translate to Oil balls, which does not sound very tasty, but believe you me, they are lovely. Comparable to doughnuts, but rounder, fluffier on the inside and crunchier on the outside, they are also fried in hot oil. They are just showered in a bit of confectioner’s sugar instead of getting a thick glaze.
The real Oliebol has not the massive range of flavours on inside and outside like doughnuts (they come with or without raisins), but other than that if well-made and eaten within hours of their production they are so much better. Normally, you buy the bolls at stands throughout the city, and they are THE food to have on New Year’s Eve. In many countries, something fried in oil seems somehow a classic for the middle of the winter.
They can be bought from October to end of January, but if you want to buy them for New Year’s do plan in hours of time and expect seriously long waiting lines. This is also one of the very few occasions Dutch people will get properly upset if you try to skip the line.
The caravans with the fried goods pop up all over the city, but if you want the best you must come to the Hemraadssingel crossing the Vierambachtstraat in Rotterdam West. Usually, you buy not just one but a couple. This way you can feed your family and possibly your neighbours too, who might get especially interested in you if they see you with a bag.
Best Oliebollen pop up bakery Richard Visser 📷 Anna SoetensBest Oliebollen pop up bakery Richard Visser 📷 Anna SoetensBest Oliebollen pop up bakery Richard Visser 📷 Anna SoetensBest Oliebollen pop up bakery Richard Visser 📷 Anna SoetensBest Oliebollen pop up bakery Richard Visser 📷 Anna SoetensBest Oliebollen pop up bakery Richard Visser 📷 Anna SoetensBest Oliebollen pop up bakery Richard Visser 📷 Anna SoetensBest Oliebollen pop up bakery Richard Visser 📷 Anna Soetens

Do it yourself

Should you wish to use a pre-mix, have some time on your hands and want the house to smell like it is that time of year again? Have a crack at making pepernoten, oliebollen or speculaas yourself! Either by using a pre-mix, for which we can warmly recommend the mixes of the “Schiedamse Molens”.
Head this away for your local Mill shop (, or order online via Rechtstreex (
Molenwinkel van Delfshaven product range 📷 Anna SoetensMolenwinkel van Delfshaven product range 📷 Anna SoetensMolenwinkel van Delfshaven product range 📷 Anna SoetensMolenwinkel van Delfshaven product range 📷 Anna Soetens
Waffle Iron do it yourselfWaffle Iron do it yourself

Made from scratch

Or is there no need for you to buy a premix, you want to give the classic recipe a go? Sure thing!
Try this recipe for Kruidnoten/Pepernoten:
Do be aware that this is a lot of work and you want young children and pets out of the kitchen as you will be handling hot caramel.

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