Best photography and instagrammable spots in Rotterdam

Best photography and instagrammable spots in Rotterdam

Without a doubt, Rotterdam is among the most photogenic cities in Europe, and for various reasons. The city has an eccentric mix of popular, cosmopolitan landmarks as well as amazing hidden gems that many visitors don't get to see. To help you complete your Rotterdam holiday photo album, here is a list of the top photogenic spots in the city. 
Dust off that lens, or get yourself some new photography equipment, and let's go take some beautiful photos! We've included a bit of everything here, from modern architecture, old buildings, bridges, canals and landscapes.

#1 Rotterdam Centraal & Nationale Nederlanden

Rotterdam CentraalRotterdam Centraal
Chances are, Rotterdam Centraal is your very first stop when you come to Rotterdam, and it's a good one. Rotterdam's main public transport station was originally built in 1957, but later completely renovated in 2014, or should I say, completely rebuilt. It looks nothing like it did before. When visiting Rotterdam, capturing this work of art with your camera is a must. Tip try shooting a photo from the inside looking out, for an additional perspective that is equally stunning. Go up the stairs near the bathrooms for another interesting view.
Rotterdam, Netherlands financial centre skyline, including the Central Station, which is an important transport hub with 110,000 passengers per dayRotterdam, Netherlands financial centre skyline, including the Central Station, which is an important transport hub with 110,000 passengers per day
If it's a sunny day, pay attention to the Nationale Nederlanden offices across from Rotterdam Centraal. The exterior of the buildings are highly reflective and as a result, the buildings often reflect the clouds and take on the exact same blue colour as the sky. The sunnier the weather, the more impressive and beautiful the effect. 

#2 Stadhuis

Stadhuis Rotterdam 📷 Ossip van DuivenbodeStadhuis Rotterdam 📷 Ossip van Duivenbode
Stadhuis, the City Hall on Rotterdam's Coolsingel was built between 1914 and 1920 to a design by Henri Evers. It is one of the few buildings in the centre of Rotterdam that survived the bombardment of 14 May 1940. People who have never been to Rotterdam may hold the view that Rotterdam is not a 'classic' city and that it lacks 'old world' architecture. Well, show them Stadhuis, and they might change their minds.

#3 Depot Boijmans van Beuningen

Depot Boijmans van Beuningen at Museumplein in RotterdamDepot Boijmans van Beuningen at Museumplein in Rotterdam
What's the point in having a huge collection of art, but keep it hidden in storage? As an answer to this question, the Boijmans van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam commissioned the construction of Het Depot, in order to always have their collection on display. The result is a stunningly beautiful reflective bowl, with trees growing on top. It's absolutely dazzling by day, and by night the surrounding area is sometimes illuminated by colourful spotlights or art installations. 

#4 St. Laurenskerk / Grote Kerk

Laurenskerk Rotterdam 📷 Iris van den BroekLaurenskerk Rotterdam 📷 Iris van den Broek
The St. Laurenskerk in Rotterdam (als known as Grote Kerk) is the only remaining medieval building in Rotterdam. Its construction began in 1449 and the church was first completed in 1525. At the time, it was the first building in Rotterdam that was fully built out of stone. Later on, the tower was added in 1621 and has since been reconstructed multiple times. During WWII, it was bombed by the Nazis in what is called the Rotterdam Blitz attack of 1945. After the smoke cleared, only the church's walls remained. Yet, restoration started in 1952 and by 1968 the building was restored to its former glory, with use of both original and new building materials. Tip: you're going to need a very wide lens to capture this in one shot, as the open space around the structure is quite limited.      

#5 Erasmus Bridge & De Rotterdam

View the Euromast on Rotterdam city and the Erasmus bridge on a clear winter day.View the Euromast on Rotterdam city and the Erasmus bridge on a clear winter day.
Of the various beautiful bridges in Rotterdam, the Erasmusbrug is the most famous. Construction started in 1986 and the bridge was officially opened 10 years later in 1996 by Queen Beatrix. To get a nice photograph of the bridge, try approaching it either by boat, or from a high vantage point if possible. Otherwise, try from my favourite spot, the Willemsbrug, which is a bit further down the river. From the Willemsbrug you have a majestic view of the entire waterway, including the Erasmusbrug and the picturesque city skyline.
Erasmus Bridge (Erasmusbrug) and Rotterdam skyline illuminated at night. Rotterdam, NetherlandsErasmus Bridge (Erasmusbrug) and Rotterdam skyline illuminated at night. Rotterdam, Netherlands
Another idea (see above), is to get a shot of the Erasmus Bridge together with De Rotterdam in the background. This brutalist building, designed by Rem Koolhaas' Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) is gigantic and hard to miss when trying to photograph the Erasmus Bridge. But in a sense, the sweet & sour contrast between the two objects is like a nice food pairing. De Rotterdam, designed as a 'vertical city', is the largest building in the Netherlands. 

#6 Historic Delfshaven

The Aelbrechtskolk area in historic DelfshavenThe Aelbrechtskolk area in historic Delfshaven
If you came to the Netherlands expecting old canals and found yourself in Rotterdam, don't sweat it. Head on over to Delfshaven, and you'll find exactly what you're looking for. This area is called the Aelbrechtskolk. This picturesque marina is one of the few pieces of old town that survived the bombing of Rotterdam in 1940. It has a striking history as the place from which the Pilgrim Fathers left for America and as the birthplace of Piet Hein. It was here at the Aelbrechtskolk that Delfshaven came into being in 1389: the seaport of Delft. The picturesque little harbour has survived wars and has always been left rather untouched. 

#7 Kralingse Plas & Kralingse Bos

A view on the windmill "De Lelie" from one of the small islands in the Kralingse Plas 📷 JchmrtA view on the windmill "De Lelie" from one of the small islands in the Kralingse Plas 📷 Jchmrt
The Kralingse Bos / Kralings Plas area is a true oasis and of the most beautiful, relaxing locations in the city of Rotterdam. Here, you can venture out into the woods, sail across the lake, visit the windmills or admire the view of the city skyline. If you're into landscapes and nature, be sure to visit this spot.  

#8 Markthal

Markthal Rotterdam in the evening 📷 Paul ArpsMarkthal Rotterdam in the evening 📷 Paul Arps
From the outside it looks like a bread bin, from the inside it's a modern take on Michelangelo's famous works inside the Sistine Chapel. This building really shines at or after dusk, when the sun is hanging a bit low and the lights are turned on. If you photograph it from the back, you also get a nice view of the building known as 'The Pencil' (Potlood), which kinda cute. 

#10 Cube houses

The famous Cube Houses in RotterdamThe famous Cube Houses in Rotterdam
The Cube Houses (Kubuswoningen) in Rotterdam are world-famous. It's also quite fun to get the best angle for your photographs. It can be a fun 'challenge' to look at photos online of the cube houses online and then try to recreate them yourself. You'll soon find out that (for some angles) it's not easy to figure out where the photographer was standing. The Cube Houses are located right across the Markthal and The Pencil.

#11 Oude Haven

A view of Oude Haven, Willemsbrug and Witte HuisA view of Oude Haven, Willemsbrug and Witte Huis
Across the street from the Cube Houses you'll find a tiny harbour with traditional wooden ships and a small shipyard. From here you also have a beautiful view of the Witte Huis, the first skyscraper in Europe (42 metres tall) as well as the red Willemsbrug. Combine a photo session her with lunch at one of the many terraces that line the harbour. The actual harbour is called Oude Haven, though you might find it easier to get here by searching for Spaansekade.

Photography gear and tips in Rotterdam

If you're in Rotterdam and looking for a good camera, a new lens, photography equipment in general or tips, one good source for everything you need is Kamera Express. The website is easy to navigate and offers just about anything you might need, but it's also nice that there's a local 'super store' located right here in Rotterdam. 
Street art in Rotterdam - murals, art routes & guided tours

Street art in Rotterdam - murals, art routes & guided tours

Like many great cities, Rotterdam also has its lucky walls, gates and houses covered in paintings. The artworks can be admired as long as they last, and often carry a statement. Here, in the Netherlands' port city, street art is in full bloom. 
This art phenomenon has existed since the 70's where it was mainly used to make political statements. It disappeared for a while, only to become popular in the 90's and it has remained so ever since. Rotterdam is one of the many cities showing off its artistic depth with an active street art scene. The difference between street art and graffiti, should you wonder just like me, is that graffiti is mainly a creative way of spraying an artist’s name. Thus, it is just about the artist himself. Street art is more about the meaning or statement of the artworks that are sprayed, painted, fashioned, and sometimes even commissioned. For tourists and locals alike, looking at street art has become a popular pastime. It's an (COVID-proof) art form that can be admired day and night.

Where to find street art in Rotterdam

You can see as little or as much of it as you want to in one go. You could just walk down the Nieuwe Binnenweg, pass through some side streets to the West-Kruiskade, walk balk toward central station and just look at anything you can find. This is also an ok advice for the area around the Keilerhaven. You will see things just by being there. You will have a sense of discovery, but you will not find all great artworks hidden in plain sight.
Street art by artist unknown (let us know if you do) 📷 Anna SoetensStreet art by artist unknown (let us know if you do) 📷 Anna Soetens
Street art by Collin van der Sluijs 📷 Anna SoetensStreet art by Collin van der Sluijs 📷 Anna Soetens

Street art routes in Rotterdam

For a better prepared art tour, there are many options. We recommend the rewriters010 app or alternatively the Rdam routes app. The latter is downloadable for free. The former costs you a Euro, but with the purchase, you are actively supporting the street art scene. Rewriters010 are part of the foundation for the stimulation of (Inter)national hip hop culture in all its forms and one of the more important players in the Dutch hip hop scene. 

Free Rotterdam street art map 

You are a starving artist yourself? Then you can download a free street art map of the Rotterdam city centre, courtesy of Rewriters Rotterdam to see inner city murals and wall paintings. However, do note that murals disappear just as quickly as new ones appear. To walk the most recent version of the route, it is best to use the app.

Guided street art tours in Rotterdam  

If you want in-depth knowledge, the stories and the facts about a different district in Rotterdam, then you really must book a tour with Rewriters Rotterdam ( or get their app ‎on Google Play or on the App Store.  
Ice skating in Rotterdam - locations, information and prices

Ice skating in Rotterdam - locations, information and prices

Whenever it begins to look a lot like Christmas, people flock to the ice skating rinks. Rotterdam has a couple of interesting options, such as a 400-meter ice rink in Kralingen, a romantic experience near Leuvehaven as well as 500m2 of fun at Plaswijckpark.

Schaatsbaan Rotterdam (Kralingen)

Ice skating at Schaatsbaan Rotterdam in KralingenIce skating at Schaatsbaan Rotterdam in Kralingen
Schaatsbaan Rotterdam is the biggest ice skating experience in Rotterdam. On this magical ice rink in Kralingen, you skate around inside an atmospheric tunnel with rainbow lighting. The main ice rink is 400-meter ice long and has official International Skating Union dimensions. There's also a large 1600m2 'fun rink' as well as a separate curling track.
When to go skating at Schaatsbaan Rotterdam?
Schaatsbaan Rotterdam is open from 30 November 2019. It's unclear how long it will remain open, but in 2019 it was open until the end of February. The curling track (fun rink) is open from 1 November 2019.
There are a wide variety of prices, so check out the tickets page for more information. In general, it's €6,75 for skaters and €3 for companions/spectators. Kids 3 years old and under enter free.
Ice skates rentals vary from €6 to €9, depending on the type of skates (ice hockey skates or speed skates). You can also rent a helmet.
Schaatsbaan Rotterdam is 100% cashless, so you're only able to pay via debit card. Gloves are compulsory.

Location: Schaatsbaan Rotterdam


Ijsvrij Festival (Leuvehaven)

Ice skating at Ijsvrij in RotterdamIce skating at Ijsvrij in Rotterdam
Ijsvrij has a very romantic, roofed skating rink. According to Lonely Planet, in 2017 Ijsvrij Festival was one of the top three most beautiful ice skating rinks in Europe. According to event managers, visitors often compare the experience with ice skating in Central Park (New York). In 2019, it moves to a new - and more central - location at Plein 1940, between Beurs and Blaak. You'll be skating with the historic Leuvehaven as your backdrop with it's colourfully lit cranes.
When to go skating at Ijsvrij Festival?
Ijsvrij Festival is open from Saturday, 14 December 2019 through Sunday 12 January 2020. On weekdays, the rink is open from 12:00 to 20:00. On weekends, Ijsvrij you can visit from 10:00 to 20:00.
The Ijsvrij ice rink is 100% cashless, so you're only able to pin via debit card. Gloves are compulsory.

Check out Ijsvrij Festival's 2018/2019 trailer


Location: Ijsvrij Festival


Plaswijckpark's Schaatsbaan (Hillegersberg-Schiebroek)

Ice skating at Plaswijckpark in RotterdamIce skating at Plaswijckpark in Rotterdam
Located at the Bergse Achterplas in Hillegersberg-Schiebroek, on the northern edge of Rotterdam, Plaswijckpark has been a small-scale recreation centre for over 95 years. To mark the occasion, a covered 500m2 skating rink has been placed in the park. Plaswijckpark claims their ice skating rink is the only one in Rotterdam with real, ice-cold ice.
KINO Rotterdam - Cinema, restaurant and creative workspace

KINO Rotterdam - Cinema, restaurant and creative workspace

KINO is one of the main cinemas in the centre of Rotterdam. With its fully stocked bar and restaurant as well as a wide range of films, from blockbusters to art house, KINO is a great place for working, learning, relaxing or simply hanging out.

The film multiplex has four screens and a total capacity of 457 seats. There's also a bar and a restaurant. At KINO, you can work, drink, eat, drink and watch films from the early afternoon until the late evening. The theatre is open seven days a week. KINO focuses on a varying range of films, from art house and documentaries to blockbusters, from shorts to classics. If you're an expat living in Rotterdam, KINO is one of the few cinemas where you're likely to find 'foreign' films (from back home) with English subtitles.

KINO is much more than a multiplex, it also aims to be a meeting place for creatives, independent thinkers and film-makers. KINO has a multifunctional layout so that lectures, exhibitions, music performances and festivals can take place. Moreover, the facilities in the building (rooms, presentation hall and the foyer) can all be rented for special events.  Upstairs, there's also a creative workplace (office space) for the audiovisual industry (BURO).

The vibe at KINO Rotterdam

The interior decorating is also quite nice. Its architecture, complimented by retro shades of yellow and green really take you back in time.

There's a spacious waiting area, which doubles as a restaurant.

KINO Rotterdam foyerKINO Rotterdam foyer KINO Rotterdam foyerKINO Rotterdam foyer KINO Rotterdam hallway to rooms 1 & 2KINO Rotterdam hallway to rooms 1 & 2
In the main film room, the seats are high quality and have tall backs. You don't get the feeling that people are looking over your shoulder nor ever feel like sardines in a can.

KINO Rotterdam seats in room 1KINO Rotterdam seats in room 1
KINO Rotterdam room 1KINO Rotterdam room 1

What!? No popcorn?

The bar is fully stocked with different beers, whiskeys, rums, wines, gins, brandies etc. If you're environmentally conscious, you'll be pleased to know they hand out bamboo straws instead of plastic.

I loved the place but honesty is the best policy, right? The major downside at KINO is that they do not serve popcorn. I had a hard time believing it. If there are two things that should always go together in this world, those are film and popcorn. So there I was, watching Ad Astra, with a bottle of water. Oh well, they do sell some snacks, but the "film experience" just isn't the same IMHO.
KINO Rotterdam concession standKINO Rotterdam concession stand

I'm not sure, but I think it might have to do with maintenance. Popcorn makes a mess and KINO doesn't have that much personnel on hand. I guess, if you're gonna do it, do it right or not at all? So, if that is the reasoning, KINO, I forgive you! 

KINO Rotterdam history

KINO is located on the sacred ground of the Gouvernestraat, a place that has been a meeting place for music, theatre and film for more than a hundred years. The building was originally opened in 1909 as a community centre. In 1949, after the Nazi occupation, a section of the building was converted into a film theatre. In the years to come, the building would go on to be known as LantarenVenster, one of Rotterdam's top art, music and film theatres up until 2010. LantarenVenster eventually moved to a larger, grander location in Kop van Zuid. However, plans were soon made to restore the location to its former glory. With the arrival of KINO, the historic building on the Gouvernestraat once again became part of Rotterdam's rich film history.

KINO RotterdamKINO Rotterdam

Location: KINO Rotterdam

You'll find KINO at Gouvernestraat 129-133, 3014 PM Rotterdam.

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