My second full day in Rotterdam dawned grey and cold. After a hearty buffet breakfast at the Inntel Rotterdam, I braved a walk across the Erasmus Bridge to the southern part of Rotterdam, where the Netherlands FotoMuseum and Hotel New York are located.
With nothing to protect me from the elements (except my hat, gloves, coat and scarf), the wind howled across the Erasmus Bridge and the brisk 20 minute walk did, admittedly, feel like it took forever! I was looking forward to being amongst buildings to protect against the sleet, and to warm up.
Immediately across the Erasmus Bridge, you get the feel you’re in the older part of Rotterdam – the port district. It’s here the cruise terminal is, and the surrounding buildings reflected the past docklands feel, yet – as with London – regenerated to make fantastic living quarters.
…the leading national museum of photography in the Netherlands…
…houses an impressive collection of more than 5,000,000 photos and a Library (open Wednesday’s and Friday’s; 13:00 – 17:00). Located on three levels, as well as Dutch photography, the museum also hosts international exhibitions, with approx. 10 different exhibitions yearly.
I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge museum fan in general and didn’t really know what to expect of a ‘fotomuseum’; history of photography? The day I visited in February 2016, the two exhibitions which really grabbed my eye were:
Polaroids by Ulay (Frank Uwe Laysiepen) – a collection of the photographer’s dedicated to his Polaroid work
and Dutch Artist, Toon Michiels’ “American Neon Signs – Day and Night.” I particularly enjoyed browsing through this as I noted the vast difference between the signs in day and night. Far from looking gaudy, some actually looked quite pretty.
After a pleasant hour and a half, where I was converted to liking museums – at least photography museums – I braved the still freezing weather to walk further down the street to the former Holland America Lines Head office, where Hotel New York is now located.
Hotel New York
Hotel New York is situated in the beautiful former head office of the Holland America Line. From here, thousands of emigrants left for North America, hoping for a better life. Nowadays, people come here to sleep, celebrate, eat, drink and do business in a special atmosphere. Source
I hadn’t come to sleep there – but did want to experience lunch at this place as I’d been told of the splendour of the interior – and the good food in the restaurant.
I was informed that if I hadn’t booked a table, I would, indeed, have to wait or I could seat myself at the bar. Happy to do so, I chose an avocado salad from the extensive menu and took in my surroundings from my vantage point. It’s thought that the restaurant is housed in the former departure hall of Holland America Lines, and this is reflected in its high ceilings, nautical theme and overall grandeur of the place.
After purchasing a few gifts from the giftshop at the entrance, I battled with the elements back across the Erasmus Bridge to my Inntel Hotel and chose to relax for the rest of the afternoon.
My time in Rotterdam was short. But the programme arranged for me by Rotterdam Partners was enough of a taster to tempt me to promise myself I will be back. And next time I’ll be more familiar with the city and can glide around like a local!
In conclusion: Don’t overlook Rotterdam when planning a trip to the Netherlands. It’s more than just a port town or cruise stop off point, as I hope my posts have proved.