Rotterdam is rapidly becoming the next big thing on the city break circuit. With some outstanding hotels, bars, restaurants and museums, you can easily jump on a plane and be pottering around the canals whilst soaking up the modern architecture within 90 minutes! Not to mention the shopping, with plenty of international and local edgy designers worth checking out.
Foodies are not neglected either, with the newly opened Market Hall, housed in a uber modern glass structure, with apartments framing the impressive arch; Situated in Laurens Quarter, the original pre-war centre of Rotterdam, is a nod to the way Rotterdam is embracing the future, and is leading the way in exciting building developments. A mecca for food fans, you can buy fresh fish, meat, bread and vegetables from the extensive stalls in the day, and you are also encouraged to eat, drink and people watch, at the lively first floor restaurants after dark.
As a very progressive city, Rotterdam remains a cultural hub with numerous galleries showcasing local and international exhibitions. The current exhibition at the Nederlands Photo museum is essential for fashion and photography fans. Having first showed at the V & A Gallery in London, the Horst P Horst | Photographer of Style is a thorough retrospective of the photographer’s vast career, which spanned seven decades, and includes a comprehensive selection of iconic shoots for US Vogue, images of his platonic but extremely deep relationship with Coco Chanel, and collaborations with surrealist artist Salvador Dali. Curated with passion, it sensitively chronicles the changing fashions from his photography career after WW1, and places this German (with no official training) in a cultural and historical context. With original haute couture dresses, vintage magazines, sketch books and detailed shoot notes, this is an insight into how the great photographer worked shooting on film. Iconic viewing for anyone interested in photography, art, fashion, design and history, and the notes about lighting will impress 21st century students.
Also worth a mention are a new wave of galleries, which constantly refresh the art and design landscape to reflect social and cultural change. The Kunsthal is famous for its eclectic and eccentric range of exhibitions and is situated in a beautiful building designed by architect Rem Koolhaas. Galerie Delta is the place to see young Dutch designers and showcases a selection of avant-garde modern art; Not forgetting the Boijmans Museum, which is more than a gallery. Housing both traditional and contemporary collections, and is one of the oldest museums in the Netherlands.
After all that pavement pounding, it is time to kick back with a beverage, and the Dutch really know how to entertain! With new boutique hotels, restaurants and bars popping up all the time, I would highly recommend the Nhow Hotel, which has stunning views of the Erasmus Bridge, and has a rooftop bar with superb cocktails (and views) to die for! Just as popular with the cool Dutch media crowd, as the guests, the bar is open to all, and DJs play well into the night. You can even have a late checkout on the weekend and enjoy one of the best hotel breakfasts I have ever tasted! Dutch omelet with your personal filling preferences…
It is also perfectly located for exploring the museum district, and is just a few subway stops away from the central station, which means it is the ideal location to explore the city by underground, or by foot. Verging on the ultra hip, Rotterdam is definitely a place to discover, and every time you go back there will no doubt be another exhibition, festival, show or store popping up.
It’s an Instagrammer’s dream, and I can’t recommend it enough.
Horst P Horst | Photographer of Style is on show until 10th January
Check out room rates at Nhow Hotel for your home from home urban break here: nhow-rotterdam.com