Rotterdam: Europe’s hottest design destination

Urban industrial port turned futuristic architectural playground, Rotterdam is entering a new era. Nearly entirely flattened during World War II, this sprawling metropolis has been in a constant state of renewal since the 1940s, and newness is intrinsic to the city’s identity. After teetering at the grittier end of ‘up-and-coming’ for more than a decade, the city is now emerging as an international hub for sustainable innovation and cutting-edge design.

Now the first stop on the new Eurostar route to Amsterdam, Rotterdam is easier than ever to explore. The city is the antithesis to its more northerly neighbour, and its diversity excites those visitors who come for the warehouse food markets, concept shops and bold architecture. Dubbed the Dutch Brooklyn, Rotterdam offers a fresh alternative to charming, time-locked Amsterdam. Here you’re more likely to find art students on skateboards than tourists taking selfies.

MarkthalOssip van Duivenbode

Cranes, cargo ships and concrete dominate the Rotterdam skyline. It’s a place of industry that can feel grey and bleak on one block, yet vital and electrifying on the next; therein lies its magic. Here are the best things to do in Rotterdam, Europe’s hottest design destination.

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