Mindful cycling routes in Rotterdam

Mindful cycling routes in Rotterdam

ROTTERDAM, 30 May 2024 – Mindful cycling routes have been introduced to promote mental health in and around Rotterdam. Launched by Swapfiets, these routes aim to provide a calming escape from the city's hustle and bustle.

Mindful cycling routes introduced in Rotterdam

Swapfiets has launched specially curated cycling routes in and around Rotterdam. These routes have been introduced on World Bicycle Day and the start of Mental Health Week, aiming to highlight the benefits of cycling for mental well-being. Nearly half (48%) of Dutch adults have experienced one or more psychological disorders in their lifetime. By cycling more often, escaping the city's hustle, and heading towards greenery, individuals can not only strengthen their immune systems but also reduce the production of the stress hormone cortisol. The routes (scroll down on this page to see them), are available on Google Maps and in the newly launched Toertje cycling app, and include tips and hotspots to help clear the mind along the way.

The benefits of cycling in nature

Cycling through a bustling city with crowded bike paths can be stressful. According to the Centre for Urban Mental Health, mental health issues increase with urbanisation, with 50% urbanisation linked to a rise in mental health problems. Moreover, in 2022, one in four workers aged 18 to 35 reported experiencing burnout symptoms. It is essential to seek relaxation and clear the mind occasionally. Regular cycling, such as commuting by bike, has been shown to reduce the need for medications for depression and anxiety. Combining this activity with a natural environment can further enhance these benefits.

"Cities are fantastic, but it is even more important that people feel good in them. Exercise is healthy, and cycling in nature is even better, as it helps reduce stress. Therefore, we invite everyone to cycle more often and consider their mental health," said Suzanne Berings, General Manager of Swapfiets Netherlands.

Discover 40,000 km of Dutch cycling paths

Three cycling routes start at the Swapfiets store in central Rotterdam and lead to vibrant greenery in city parks, remote spots for meditation, perfect places for a morning swim, and beautiful vistas in the surrounding countryside. Swapfiets provides useful tips for relaxation and includes dining hotspots along the routes, such as Het Zalmhuis in Capelle aan den IJssel and Bospaviljoen De Eekhoorn.

Thijs Zonneveld, Toertje ambassador and Beat Cycling Club rider, stated, "There is no better way to clear your mind than cycling in nature. We can only applaud this initiative by Swapfiets with its green cycling routes."

Marco te Brömmelstroet, Toertje ambassador and 'bicycle professor', added, "For more liveable cities, cycling is crucial. For our health and well-being, we should all leave the car more often and give more space to the bicycle. Cycling into nature is always a good idea."

The routes are available on Swapfiets.nl from 31 May and in the recently launched Toertje cycling app, an initiative of the Fietsersbond, BAM Infra Nederland, and CanvasHeroes. Toertje aims to make cycling easier and more enjoyable: find routes, discover nature, embark on adventures, and leave the car behind more often.

Cycling routes in and around Rotterdam

Route: A dive into the Kralingse Plas

Duration: 30 minutes
Distance: 8.6 km
View this route on Google Maps

Just a fifteen-minute bike ride from the centre of Rotterdam, you'll find Het Kralingse Bos. This is the largest forest in Rotterdam, located around the Kralingse Plas. You can cycle into this urban jungle via Park Rozenburg. There are many activities you can do in this natural area. This route takes you past a well-kept secret in this forest: the Heemtuin. You'll find this unique piece of nature behind the beach bath. Get off your bike and walk over the water via a narrow wooden plank. Here, you have a remarkable view over a peat bog. Bet you'll feel at peace here? You can also find fish ladders here where you can see young fish swimming.

Next, you can make a stop at BeachHouse Kralingen. This is a simple spot with wooden picnic benches at the front. What might be even more fun: bring your own picnic basket or a small BBQ. In Het Kralingse Bos, you can light a BBQ in certain spots by the water. This is indicated on the signs. A BBQ combined with a dip in the lake might just be the perfect summer day or evening. Via the Boezem, this route takes you back to the city.

Route: The mindful mills of Kinderdijk

Duration: 2 hours and 28 minutes
Distance: 41 km
View this route on Google Maps

On to a unique part of the Netherlands: Kinderdijk. Up for a good ride to the iconic windmills? This bike ride takes you along the water of the Nieuwe Maas and the city park Oude Plantage. If you fancy a spectacular lunch, pedal a bit further to Capelle aan den IJssel. At Het Zalmhuis, they serve the best bowls, bagels, and sushi. The route continues all along the water and through Krimpen aan den IJssel until you dive into the polder landscape of Krimpenerhout. A flat landscape with water as far as you can see. Cycling through this quintessentially Dutch piece of nature, you arrive at the place you undertook this journey for: Kinderdijk. Note that you need to take the ferry at Krimpen aan de Lek to cross over.

Kinderdijk is on the UNESCO World Heritage list because of its windmills, dikes, and pumping stations. A unique piece of Dutch history. Wandered around enough here? Then cycle on through Alblasserdam until you can cross the bridge towards Ridderkerk. Follow the road towards the Ringdijk, and from here, the way back to Rotterdam begins. You'll cycle through Donckse Bos and pass by an estate where you can see the sculpture Hercules and Antaeus. Via Van Brienenoordbrug, you cycle back along the water to the centre.

Route: The river-rich Rotte route via Hillegersberg

Duration: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Distance: 23.4 km
View this route on Google Maps

Discover the Rotte, the ancient peat river that Rotterdam is blessed with. In fifteen minutes of cycling, you escape the city and see so much water and greenery around you that it leaves you speechless. You have arrived at the Bergse Voorplas. Stay on the route along the De Rotte stream, and you will come across the most beautiful windmills.

Your path continues from the Lage Bergse Bos to the Hoge Bergse Bos, full of perfect spots to clear your mind. Find a quiet place for forest bathing. This word comes from the Japanese shinrin yoku, which means ‘luxuriant stay under the trees.’ Here, you can do the 4-7-8 breathing technique, also called the “relaxing breath.” How do you do it? It can be done standing or sitting, with your eyes open or closed. Breathe in very calmly through your nose for 4 seconds. Hold your breath for 7 seconds and then exhale slowly through your mouth for 8 seconds. Repeat this breathing a few times, and you’ll soon feel the calming effect.

Then, relaxed but energised, you jump back on your bike to find your way back to the centre of Rotterdam. To return completely satisfied, a visit to Bospaviljoen De Eekhoorn or Pannekoekhuis De Nachtegaal by the Kralingse Plas is the perfect ending.

Winter sports in Rotterdam: skiing, snowboarding, ice skating

Winter sports in Rotterdam: skiing, snowboarding, ice skating

Discover top spots for winter sports around Rotterdam, including year-round indoor skiing and snowboarding, plus seasonal ice skating events.

Whether you are a skiing novice or an experienced snowboarder, the area around Rotterdam offers a plethora of options to enjoy winter sports. From the extensive facilities at SnowWorld Zoetermeer and De Uithof in The Hague to the local charm of Indoor Ski & Snowboard Rotterdam and Alpine Sports in Den Hoorn, there's something for everyone. Plus, with Schaatsbaan Rotterdam and the Ijsvrij Festival, the city transforms into a winter paradise, providing plenty of opportunities for fun and recreation. So, gear up and hit the slopes or the rink this winter!

SnowWorld Zoetermeer: the ultimate indoor ski destination

SnowWorld Zoetermeer is a prime spot for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts, featuring four slopes and the steepest indoor slope in Europe. With temperatures inside kept at a brisk -5°C, you can experience perfect snow conditions year-round. SnowWorld offers lessons for all levels, with over 300 certified instructors providing around 148,000 hours of lessons annually. Whether you're a beginner looking for trial lessons or an experienced skier seeking to refine your skills, SnowWorld has a course for you.

De Uithof, The Hague: a multifunctional sports centre

De Uithof in The Hague is another excellent destination, boasting facilities for skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and more. The centre features a 211-metre ski slope with real snow, ensuring a realistic skiing experience. De Uithof also offers a range of lessons, from beginners to advanced levels, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the slopes safely and confidently.

Ski and snowboard schools


Indoor Ski & Snowboard Rotterdam

Located conveniently within Rotterdam, Indoor Ski & Snowboard Rotterdam is ideal for those looking to take lessons without travelling far. The centre provides a range of courses for both skiing and snowboarding, catering to all ages and skill levels. With its modern facilities and experienced instructors, it's a great place to start your winter sports journey.

Alpine Sports, Den Hoorn

Just a short drive from Rotterdam, Alpine Sports in Den Hoorn offers a variety of training programs for skiing and snowboarding. Known for its friendly atmosphere and expert instructors, Alpine Sports is perfect for those who prefer a more personalised approach to learning. They provide individual lessons as well as group courses, making it easy to find the right fit for your needs.

Ice skating in Rotterdam: seasonal highlights

For ice skating enthusiasts, Schaatsbaan Rotterdam is a must-visit during the winter months. The rink opens annually from December to February, providing a festive atmosphere with various skating events and activities. It's a fantastic place for families, friends, and even solo skaters to enjoy a day out on the ice.

The Ijsvrij Festival in Rotterdam is another highlight of the winter season. This festival combines ice skating with cultural events, food stalls, and live music, creating a vibrant winter wonderland. It typically takes place during the holiday season, offering a unique way to celebrate the festive period in the heart of Rotterdam.

For more detailed information on ice skating locations, prices, and events, check out our article on ice skating in Rotterdam.

Rotterdam's RiF010 surf pool set to open this summer

Rotterdam's RiF010 surf pool set to open this summer

ROTTERDAM, 7 May 2024 – The world's first urban surf pool in Rotterdam will open its waves to surfers this summer, offering a new way to experience the water. Preparations for the RiF010 surf pool are almost complete, with tests and fine-tuning already underway.

Rotterdam welcomes urban surf pool

The RiF010 surf pool is set to become a new landmark in Rotterdam, with waves rolling through the Steigersgracht. The project, which began construction in late 2022, has made significant progress with the concrete basin now filled and the wave machine connected. By the beginning of July, surfers will enjoy the first urban surf pool globally, featuring two designated spots: 'the Bay' for beginners and 'the Reef' for more experienced surfers. Surfing sessions will be available with varying wave heights to cater for all skill levels.

Testing phase underway

Testing of the wave installation began after Ascension Day, and final adjustments are being made to ensure the waves match their computer simulations. SurfLoch's Erik van Ettinger, who designed the reef where the waves will break, expressed optimism that the system will work as intended. Sensors strategically placed within the basin measure wave height and performance, allowing the team to refine the system.

Sustainable and social initiatives

Sustainability is a key focus for the RiF010 surf pool. The facility operates on renewable electricity, and water is filtered using energy-efficient micro-sieves. The beach house, constructed on the Vlasmarkt, houses a surf shop and a surf bar/restaurant that overlooks the waves, providing a relaxed environment for surfers and spectators alike. The RiF010 Foundation aims to introduce Rotterdam schoolchildren to surfing and water sports via school activities, while also making the sport accessible to all ages.

Official opening in July

The RiF010 surf pool will officially open on 6 July 2024, marked by an international surfing competition, the Rotterdam Surf Open. Surf enthusiasts and visitors can look forward to seeing the best Dutch and international surfers in action.

Location and directions

RiF010 surf pool is situated at Vlasmarkt 1, adjacent to the Markthal and easily accessible by public transport or car. The surrounding area, known for its vibrant market, architecture, and lively atmosphere, provides an ideal backdrop for the new facility.

Prison Golf: Rotterdam's latest entertainment hit

Prison Golf: Rotterdam's latest entertainment hit

ROTTERDAM, 14 March 2024 – A novel entertainment experience, Prison Golf, has been launched in Rotterdam, offering a unique twist on traditional mini-golf.

Launch of the first Prison Golf in West-Netherlands

In a pioneering move, Rotterdam's Fun Village activity center has introduced the first Prison Golf in West-Netherlands, offering an adventurous and interactive take on mini-golf. This innovative concept incorporates various interactive elements, smoke, and sound effects, enhancing the traditional mini-golf experience with a fresh dimension.

Originating from the UK

Developed by Chris and Mike Knell of Escape Kent in the UK during the initial COVID-19 lockdown, Prison Golf is inspired by Prison Island, a real-life game set in a prison where participants solve codes, riddles, and undergo physical challenges to escape. Unlike Prison Island, which shares similarities with escape rooms, Prison Golf focuses more on an interactive form of mini-golf, ensuring an escape for participants.

Experience unique mini-golf at Rotterdam's Fun VillageExperience unique mini-golf at Rotterdam's Fun Village

Success and expansion

The concept has seen significant success in Kent, with Chris Knell reporting full bookings every weekend. The popularity of Prison Golf has surpassed that of traditional escape rooms, partly due to the use of the latest technologies that offer a varied experience with each play. The game, suitable for all ages, is now being introduced outside of England.

Bringing innovation to mini-golf

Dion Stuijt, entrepreneur and co-owner of Fun Village, believes that Prison Golf revitalizes the traditional mini-golf by incorporating interactive and adventurous techniques. Participants are immersed in the prison world, navigating through ten holes that represent different aspects of prison life, including transport, food, leisure activities, and the scent of freedom.

Experience unique mini-golf at Rotterdam's Fun VillageExperience unique mini-golf at Rotterdam's Fun Village

Experience unique mini-golf at Rotterdam's Fun VillageExperience unique mini-golf at Rotterdam's Fun Village

Directions to the venue

Fun Village is located at Akkeroord 10, Rotterdam. This area is accessible by public transportation and offers ample parking for visitors. The venue, known for a wide range of activities suitable for families, friend groups, and corporate teams, is a hub for entertainment including Prison Island Escape Team and Real Axe Throwing. Enjoy the experience at this vibrant location.

Christmas Markets in and around Rotterdam

Christmas Markets in and around Rotterdam

If the dim daylight, the early dark and the general wetness of the season threaten your mood, Christmas markets in and around Rotterdam will definitely lift your spirits. The bright lights, homemade goods and Christmassy smells will tease you into enjoying the time leading up to Christmas.
Christmas markets have always been a vibrant part of the festive season in Rotterdam and its surroundings, offering a diverse and joyful experience. Let's explore some of the most enchanting Christmas markets you can visit in the area.

Danish Christmas Market

Taking place from November 23 to 26, 2023, the Danish Christmas Market at the Dansk Sømandskirke (Danish Seamen's Church) in Rotterdam offers a true taste of Danish “hygge”. Expect traditional Danish food, drink, music, and design, immersing visitors in Scandinavian Christmas cheer​​.

Design Market Delfshaven

For design enthusiasts, the Design Market Delfshaven on November 26, 2023 is a must-visit. Featuring unique pieces from local Rotterdam designers and creators, this market held in their studios is a hub of inspiration and creativity, complete with delicious homemade Indonesian dishes​​.

Trompenburg Christmas Market

From 8 to 10 December 2023, the Trompenburg Gardens and Arboretum transform into a magical Christmas market. Amidst beautifully lit greenery, visitors can browse products from regional entrepreneurs, enjoy winter delights at the food trucks, and soak in the festive atmosphere on the terraces​​​​.

Kerstmarkt aan de Maas (OASE)

The sustainable Kerstmarkt aan de Maas at OASE on December 10, 2023 offers a mix of local, vintage, and handmade shops. It’s an opportunity to support local artisans and enjoy the cozy Christmas atmosphere, all for a nominal entry fee​​.

Winter Fair Ahoy

From 14 to 17 December 2023, the Winter Fair at Ahoy Rotterdam is a large indoor Christmas market. With over 200 exhibitors, you can shop for festive decorations, food, fashion, and more. The fair also offers daily performances, fashion shows, and workshops for all ages​​​​​​.

Rotterdamse Oogstmarkt Kerst Editie

The Rotterdamse Oogstmarkt on Noordplein hosts special Christmas editions on 9, 16, and 23 December 2023. It's a local market where you can find the finest local products in a festive setting​​.

Scandinavian Christmas Markets

Experience Scandinavian Christmas traditions at various churches in Rotterdam. The Norwegian Seamen's Church, Danish Seamen's Church, Finnish House, and Swedish Church host markets with their respective country’s specialities. These markets usually take place in November, offering an array of local snacks, handmade products, and traditional decorations​​.

Additional markets in the surrounding areas

A Dickens Christmas Fair Vlaardingen (December 9, 2023): A large Christmas market in the Van Hogendorpkwartier featuring many stalls and festive decorations​​.

WinterFeest Barendrecht (December 9, 2023): A festive celebration in Barendrecht with numerous activities for children, including a carousel and Christmas karaoke​​.

Warme Wintermarkt Gouda (December 10): Held at the creative hub GOUDasfalt, this market offers unique gifts, winter treats, and a gift exchange wall​​.

Kerstmarkt Maassluis (December 9-10): Find perfect Christmas gifts while enjoying winter delicacies and various performances​​.

Dordtse Decemberdagen: As part of the Christmas celebrations in the region, the Dordtse Decemberdagen in Dordrecht stand out with their unique blend of festive activities. A highlight of this event is the Decembermarkt, a cozy and intimate market held on 16th and 17th December 2023, in the Grotekerksbuurt. Here, visitors can immerse themselves in the local charm of Dordrecht, browsing through a variety of Christmas items in a quaint setting​​. Adding to the festive cheer is the Winterplein, open from 26th to 30th December 2023. Located in the garden of the Grote Kerk, the Winterplein features enchanting wooden chalets, a nostalgic carousel, and musical entertainment, creating a magical atmosphere each evening. This spot is perfect for enjoying the holiday spirit with family and friends​​.

Christmas Market culture in Rotterdam

Generally speaking, Rotterdammers are not actually famous for their Christmas markets. It’s more the little communities within the communities that have brought them from their home countries and are not willing to give up their Christmas-market-tradition just because they have relocated. So, the ones in Rotterdam are often connected to churches. But if that makes you itch; nobody will say the slightest if you are an atheist and still turn up.
There are also the ones in Rotterdam's surrounding areas. These are held at castles, country houses and the like, but not without a bit of a hiccup: they often tend to charge hefty entrance fees and are mainly aimed at ladies above 50. There’s one close to Rotterdam that comes close to Christmas markets as known in other countries and is ideal for friends and families, but you’ll have to get out of the city.

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