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10 unique things about Rotterdam

I never found a location to call home, but I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to live in Rotterdam.

If I could redo my trip, I would not choose any other city because it is unlike any other European city I’ve seen. So, without further ado, here are ten things that are uniquely Rotterdam!

The Rotterdam area’s red lights

Rotterdam red lights
Rotterdam red lights

Unless you have anything trapped underneath your shoe or wish to avoid eye contact with strangers, you rarely look down at the street’s path when you’re walking around.

However, if you happen to look down while walking about Rotterdam, you might notice a small red light with flames on it. There are 400 of these scattered throughout the city, and they serve as a reminder of where the city was attacked during WWII.

The Kapsalon originated in Rotterdam.

Rotterdam Kapsalon
Rotterdam Kapsalon

So, why are the names of Kapsalon, a fast food restaurant, and your local hairdresser salon the same? The popular meal, a product of Rotterdammer variety, was conceived by — you guessed it — a hairdresser.

It combines the favorite elements of Cape Verdian hairdresser Nathaniel Gomes into a single disposable metal takeaway container. It starts with a layer of patat (or frietjes? ), is topped with shoarma meat, melted Gouda cheese, and is finished with salad, garlic sauce, and sambal.

The hairdresser went to a kebab shop in Delfshaven, El Aviva, and requested that this be made for him. Others began to take note and wanted to join the calorie bandwagon as well.

It soon gained popularity and is now available in nearly every snack bar and kebab shop in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Napoleon Bonaparte chose to stay in Rotterdam.

Rotterdam Napoleon Bonaparte
Rotterdam Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte visited the Kingdom of Holland in September 1811. Not the Netherlands, but that was the name given to the French client state of the French Empire in the Netherlands at the time.

His strategy was to seize control of every harbor in order to wage war against England. He ended up in Rotterdam with his wife in the Schielandshuis during his visit to strategize.

Erasmus was born in Rotterdam!

The scholarships and the university (yes, the university is separate from the Erasmus+ program) are named after Desiderius Erasmus, a Dutch philosopher, humanist, and former Catholic priest.

He is regarded as one of the finest Northern Renaissance philosophers and the first person to edit the New Testament. He was born in Rotterdam in 1466 but only stayed there for a short time. He traveled over Europe educating, lecturing, and interacting with contemporary thought.

Rotterdam boasts Europe’s largest port.

Rotterdam port
Rotterdam port

Many people outside of the city are familiar with Rotterdam as the location of Europe’s largest port. As far as port cities go, it has a well-equipped and well-connected port with a long history of marine activity.

There’s also a free-for-all section of the Maritime Museum where you can go into vintage vessels and see how they appear from the inside. These boats are docked at the Oude Haven (Old Harbour), a wonderful area to get a biertje and look out over the sea at the Willemsbrug.

Rotterdam is home to 174 different ethnicities.

Rotterdam is a melting pot of ethnicities, with only 50% of the population being Dutch. It has a big foreign community because it is home to large multinational corporations and world-renowned universities such as Erasmus University, Willem de Kooning Academy, and Codarts.

It boasts its own China Town at West-Kruiskade, restaurants serving food from all over the world, events celebrating its growing international population, and ease of assimilation because practically everyone speaks English.

Rotterdam is brimming with futuristic and strange architecture.


Is an essay about Rotterdam’s unique features sufficient without addressing its architecture? After WWII, this city had to start from the ground up.

This means that, outside of the historic Delfshaven, there aren’t many structures that are uniquely Dutch. Instead, the city is adorned with unusual cube dwellings, colorful structures, and modern architecture.

It is the only town in the Netherlands with a skyline.

With its modern architecture, Amsterdam is the only city in the Netherlands with a skyline. It has 352 high-rise buildings, the tallest (in the Netherlands and Benelux) being the Maastoren at 165 meters.

Many of these towers can be seen along the Maas River in the Kop van Zuid neighborhood. Because to the continual construction of high-rises, it’s also known as “Manhatten on the Maas.” Rotterdam’s skyline is definitely worth seeing!

Het Witte Huis was previously Europe’s tallest building.

Did you know that in 1897, Rotterdam possessed the tallest skyscraper in Europe? It’s the Het Witte Huis office building. You’d never know if you looked at it today.

With ten stories and a height of more than 43 meters, this Art Nouveau-style structure has seen many people come and go from Rotterdam. You may see it from the Oude Haven, or you can go past and enjoy its architecture up close.

The Markthal in Rotterdam houses the world’s largest collection of artwork.

Rotterdam’s Markthal is a piece of architecture that has become synonymous with the city. It’s dome-shaped, with offices and flats on the outside and shops and stores on the interior.

The most intriguing fact about Rotterdam’s Markthal is that its roof houses the world’s largest piece of art. It was designed by Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam and measures 11,000 square meters. It is also known as the Sistine Chapel of Rotterdam.

Inside the building, which houses several restaurants, grocery stores, and pubs, you will see fruits, flowers, and insects. Some businesses provide free samples, so take a stroll and sample the greatest cheeses, stroopwafels, olives, fruit salads, and other treats!

Maris Lopez
Maris Lopezhttp:////
Hey there! I'm Maris, an American girl who is passionate about adventure, the outdoors and all things travel!


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