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Wereldhavendagen (World Port Days) in Rotterdam

Wereldhavendagen (World Port Days) in Rotterdam

The first weekend of September the World Port Days were held in Rotterdam. There were LOTS of activities, and it was hard to choose what to do! On Saturday we took a guided tour of “De Rotterdam”, the really cool building with three towers next to the Erasmus bridge in the photo below.

De Rotterdam was designed by architect Rem Koolhaas, and it was built right in the financial crisis – this was possible because Rotterdam municipality was paying a large part, as they would use half of one of the towers as office space. The photo below looks up from between two of the towers.

There are several restaurants and a hotel housed in the building, lots of offices, plus one tower has residential spaces. It’s the largest building in the Netherlands!

The motto of the building is “vertical city” – I can see why! As part of the tour we went up to the 31st floor, to an empty office. The view took my breath away! I could hardly listen to our tour guide anymore, because I just had to keep looking at the view. The photo below shows the new Luxor theatre (bottom left), the floating forest and the floating pavilion (a pilot project for floating architecture, mainly used for conferences).

On the other side there was an amazing view over Noordereiland, an island in the middle of Rotterdam. Such a cool view!

And then of course, the view over the Erasmus Bridge and the Rotterdam city centre. Wow…. You can see lots of activity on the river below, which was part of the World Port Days.

On Sunday I had a friend visiting and we joined an excursion to ECT Delta Terminal – the European Container Terminal at Maasvlakte (an industrial area which was built as a manmade island). Rotterdam is the biggest port in Europe, and ECT is the biggest container operator in Europe, so everything was HUGE. Since it was Sunday, not much was happening though, but it was still impressive seeing trucks and cranes operating without drivers!

Especially for the World Port Days, ECT had made a demonstration area where you could visit cranes and drive in big trucks (well, sit next to an ECT driver). Unfortunately the queue for going on the big cranes was so long that we never made it – I’ll have to come back next year!

Here too there were lots of vehicles driving around by themselves – a bit creepy but cool!

We did go up a smaller crane, and had to wear orange safety gear and a helmet. Everyone says I should get a job in the port of Rotterdam because this looks good on me 😀 haha…

Back in Rotterdam, we had a look around all the ships moored in the city centre for World Port Days. Here’s a view across the river, with Hotel New York dwarfed between its big neighbours!

I wish I could have joined more excursions or guided tours – it was so much fun! I’m already looking forward to next year 🙂

Kinderdijk / Trip by Waterbus

Kinderdijk / Trip by Waterbus

Two weeks ago I cycled from Rotterdam to Dordrecht via Kinderdijk. This is a UNESCO heritage site with 19 windmills, and really popular with tourists. On Strava (a cycling app) some sections have names, and the cycle path that goes through Kinderdijk is called “Avoiding Tourists”, haha. I had never been there, so I stopped for some photos…

It was nice weather, with a typical Dutch sky full of puffy clouds 🙂

Panorama of Kinderdijk…

There’s a small ferry for foot passengers, you can buy tickets for that and for visiting the windmills, but if you just want to see the mills by bike or on foot, it’s free.

In Dordrecht I visited a museum, and then I took the waterbus back to Rotterdam. The trip takes an hour, costs less than 5 euros and bikes are free. Excellent! I really enjoyed the boat trip over the river 🙂

Especially the last bit when you go through the center of Rotterdam and see all it’s iconic architecture. Below the Unilever building, which was inspired by De Hef, which is the bridge in the foreground. De Hef was a vertical-lift bridge for trains, it’s not in use anymore but it was kept as a landmark. As a bonus, the Erasmus bridge can be seen behind De Hef.

Typical Rotterdam: old and new together in harmony. Old houses on Noordereiland (an island in the middle of the city), the Erasmus bridge (The Swan), and De Rotterdam towering over the old houses.

One last photo before I had to leave the Waterbus. These water taxi’s zoom up and down the river, this one is owned by Hotel New York.

A great day trip!

De Rotte

De Rotte

One day in December I rented a bike in Rotterdam and followed the river Rotte (which Rotterdam is named after) almost all the way to its source. It’s a beautiful trip, especially on this frosty sunny day! A very Dutch landscape, with a lot of windmills…

Bike path along de Rotte

Panorama of the bike path along de Rotte

There are houses along some parts of the river. Must be a nice place to live!

Boats on de Rotte

Houses along de Rotte - must be a nice place to live!

Panorama of the pretty views along the road

I rented my bike from the train station. The train company has a very good deal on rental bikes, and I only paid 3,20 euro for 24 hours. So convenient!

The bike I rented for only about 3 euros!

Beautiful house on the river…

Nice house along de Rotte

At some point you reach the recreation area Rottemeren. A really nice area where no cars are allowed, and there are many jetties in the lake. Some were very fotogenic, I took a lot of photos of this nicely shaped jetty…

Jetty panorama

It was such a beautiful frosty day!

I took a lot of photos of this photogenic jetty

Another windmill along the way…

Another windmill along the way

Which also had a jetty next to it…

Windmill and jetty - there were a lot of similar jetties

Here I crossed a bridge over the river and returned along the path on the other side. Nice view from the bridge!

View from the bridge over de Rotte

Further along I saw this pretty bridge…

Pretty bridge over de Rotte

I cycled back along the Kralingse Plas, a really nice lake with amazing views of Rotterdam. Here they also built some jetties, and I love the Rotterdam skyline view on the other side.

The jetty at the Kralingse Plas - I love the view towards Rotterdam from here

A jogger on the jetty

After this, I cycled back to the central station to return my bike. The station is a really cool modern building…

Panorama of the very cool train station in Rotterdam

I had cycled 38 km – beautiful ride! Here is a map of the trip…

Map of my bike trip