Rotterdam bursts with energy. Vibrant nightlife, a diverse, multiethnic community, an intensely interesting maritime tradition and a wealth of top-class museums all make it a must-see part of any visit to Holland, especially if you are passing by on a high-speed train on your way to Amsterdam or the south.
The Netherlands’ ‘second city’, Rotterdam was bombed flat during WWII and spent the following decades rebuilding. You won’t find much classic Dutch medieval centre here – it was swept away along with the other rubble and detritus of war. In its place is an architectural aesthetic that’s unique in Europe, a progressive perpetual-motion approach to architecture that’s clearly a result of the city’s postwar, postmodern ‘anything goes’ philosophy. (A fine example of this is the Paul McCarthy statue titled ‘Santa with Butt Plug’, that the city placed in the main shopping district.)