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near Kop van Zuid, Zuid-Holland (Nederland)
This walking tour takes you along some of the highlights of this city. The tour starts at the Cruise Terminal Rotterdam, so that cruise passengers can use their 'benenwagen' (their legs) instead of taking a tour by bus or taxi.
1. First stop is the end of the quay. Here you find a work of art 'Lost Luggage Depot' which reminds us of all the people that left Europe for the New World. Also here is the Hotel New York, a Jugendstil structure, the former headquarters of the Holland-America Line.
2. Next, we cross the modern bridge to Katendrecht. This used to be the China Town and Red Light District of Rotterdam. Nowadays it is a popular living area with lots of restaurants around the central square and inside the Fenix Food Factory an indoor market with all sorts of fresh and authentic products.
2. Still, on the south side of the river, we pay a visit to the Holocaust memorial next to the site where 'Loods 24' (Warehouse 24) was the place from where thousands of Jews were deported. Most of them were murdered in the camps.
3. Next, we visit the area where Rotterdam made its first jump across the water. Lodewijk Pincoffs was the local businessman who played a major role in the construction of these docks. He also made huge debts in his own company and fled to the USA. In the end, his positives won and he is honoured with a statue, and a street and bridge in his name.
4. The Noordereiland is reached by way of the Koninginnebrug next to "de Hef", the old railway bridge that is kept as a monument, although the trains nowadays use a tunnel to cross the river. The Noordereiland is a quiet part of Rotterdam, thanks to its isolated position in the middle of the river.
5. Cross the river and visit the old wharf at the 'Oudehaven' (the Old Port), that is still in use for the maintenance of the more than a hundred historic ships in the ports of Rotterdam. Then continue to the 'Kubuswoningen' (the Cube Houses), that are supposed to resemble trees. You can visit one of them, where you can experience how strange life is inside a cube.
6. Next stop is the wide area that used to be a river. For many years the trains drove here right through the city on an elevated track. Now it's the place where two days a week the market. is held, and also a centre of modern architecture with the famous Markthal, a modern indoor market combined with luxury apartments, the underground station for trains and metro, and the Public Library.
7. The Laurenskerk is a Late Gothic church (1449-1525) that is only building remaining from the medieval city centre. It was heavily damaged during the bombardment in May 1940 but was restored and now stands in striking contrast to the modern buildings surrounding it. In front of the church is the statue of Erasmus, a Dutch Christian Humanist born in Rotterdam who was the greatest scholar of the northern Renaissance.
8. The 'Koopgoot' is a passageway under the Coolsingel filled with all kinds of shops. On each side you can find a large department store: Hudson's Bay and Bijenkorf will be happy to serve you. On the other side of de 'Koopgoot' the tour skirts de "Lijnbaan". It was opened in 1953, as the main pedestrian street in the new shopping district, and is still a popular area.
9. Please be careful crossing the Coolsingel. Pay a visit to the Tourist Information Center - downstairs you find a free experience centre of Rotterdam - and continue along the front side of the historic 'Schielandhuis' of the powerful water board to the Blaak.
10. Next to the Maritime Museum, you will find the statue 'De Verwoeste Stad' (the destroyed city) by Zadkine. It reminds us of the bombardment that destroyed almost the complete inner city of Rotterdam. Cross the harbour by a floating bridge and enjoy the sight of the old ships and cranes.
11. De 'Witte de Witstraat' is the ultimate arts and culture street in Rotterdam known for its artistic, multicultural and lively character. Enjoy the many terraces of the numerous cafes and restaurants.
12. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is one of the Netherlands' oldest museums. It stands next to the Museum Park, where you will find many other interesting museums. For children, I recommend the Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam and for grown-ups the Kunsthal Rotterdam. Both are on the other side of the park.
13. Be careful crossing the busy Westzeedijk to go to 'Het Park' (The Park). It's a pleasant area where you can relax in one of the pleasant café's or watch the busy birdlife. Then visit the Euromast if you like heights. It is an observation tower with an observation deck at a height of 100 meters and for the brave, The Euroscope revolving lift takes you up to 185 meters.
14. Through the park, we arrive at the Westerkade with nice views of the river, your cruise ship and the Erasmusbrug. It is an 800 meters long suspension bridge with a 139-metre high steel pylon which is secured with 40 cables. The shape of the pylon gave the bridge its nickname: the Swan.
15. When you arrive at the other side of the Veerhaven this walking tour ends. If you feel up to it you can continue along the quay and cross the Erasmusbrug back to the Cruise Terminal. But from here you can also call a water taxi to take you straight across the river. Please note that there are two different embarking points.
It is possible to shorten this walk in several places. First, you can skip the first part to Katendrecht, then you can call a water taxi on lots of places along the way (everywhere you see their distinctive yellow stops), further you can also take a metro back to Station Wilhelminaplein from for instance Station Blaak or the Coolsingel.
Last but not least: I refer to the link below for more information. There you find the brochure from which I gratefully quoted in the above text.