In terms of famous Dutch cities, everyone has heard of Amsterdam, but Rotterdam hardly gets any publicity outside Europe. Rotterdam is a short train ride from Amsterdam and is known for its unique blend of fascinating modern architecture.
If you're planning a trip and you're into architecture photography, Rotterdam is well worth a short stay. Here are a few of Rotterdam's most eye-catching structures and how to get some great shots.
The Cube Houses (Kubuswoningen)
Many people have heard of the Cube Houses, but might not know that they're located in Rotterdam. This community of unique homes was designed by architect, Piet Blom and his idea behind them was to create a forest of trees. Each house is supposed to symbolize a tree, and the cubes are built at 45-degree angles to the ground. I made sure that I arrived at the Cube Houses at golden hour when they look most dramatic. You can enjoy the shadows cast on the Cube Houses and you can get some shade by walking into the courtyards. What was most surprising is that the Cube House community is located above a main road, and to enter the community it's up a flight of steps. The most interesting perspectives can be photographed by going into the centers of the courtyards and looking up. This can't be missed!
Market Hall (De Markthal)
Locals will tell you to visit the famous market, which is located in a building several stories high with sloping sides toward the top. From the outside, it looks modern, and then you'll notice the two ends are glass. Upon entering, if you look up, you'll see a colorful ceiling that blends right into the walls with giant designs in bright colors. Aside from the interesting design of the Market Hall, try the food! There are lots of food kiosks ranging from Dutch stroopwafels to Middle Eastern spices, sweet treats, meats and more.
Erasmusbrug (Erasmus Bridge)
The city's pride is in its large white bridge, which has a design like a wishbone and is surprisingly flat. This can be reached by tram, walking or bike! If you bike across, you can stop in the middle and admire other modern buildings of Amsterdam that rise up like the De Reus van Rem.
Rotterdam Central Station (Rotterdam Central)
If you arrive by train, make sure to exit the train station and then get a good view of it from the front. Rotterdam Central Station is a true work of wonder and it looks like a spaceship, with a huge V-shape that rises into the sky. It opened recently in 2014 and set a new standard for European public transportation design. The entire station is impressive and is more beautiful than most airports. This spot is also best photographed at golden hour or near sunrise or sunset.
St. Paul’s Church (Pauluskerk)
One last unique architecture spot among the tall corporate buildings of Rotterdam's futuristic downtown and financial district (called "Cool District") is Pauluskerk, a church that resembles a large bronze geometric hut. By walking by, you might not notice that this is a religious place of worship, because it is so far from our traditional perceptions of what churches tend to look like. Pauluskerk is located next to a quiet small street that has a tall mural.
Choose your own adventure
It’s fun to get lost and wander around. You can find some interesting structures and details by looking up! Other architectural photo hot spots in Rotterdam are De Reus van Rem (a large triple skyscraper) and the Drijvend Paviljoen, which look like inflatable igloos, and the city's downtown streets are built with traditional Dutch architecture in homes of four to five stories with decoration and crests near the rooftops.