Susan Bijl's ideal summer day

Susan Bijl's ideal summer day

Offering a sneak preview of the Rotterdam summer, the city’s own Susan Bijl describes an ideal summer day in her hometown. Owner of the Susan Bijl line of bags and pouches, this Rotterdam-based entrepreneur has been making and selling the ultimate nylon shopping bag since 2010. Her brightly coloured bags are sold all around the globe, from Tokyo to LA.

09:00 – Vitamin boost

I’m not really a coffee person. What puts a smile on my face first thing in the morning is fresh-squeezed juice. There are several places that serve it in Rotterdam, but the Sajoer juice bar (Botersloot 46a) is my absolute favourite. Everything is made fresh from local, seasonal fruits and vegetables.

10:00 – Open-air stroll

On sunny days, I love taking a walk through Rotterdam. The route across the soaring Luchtsingel pedestrian bridge is gorgeous. If you start from the city centre, it’s nice to walk towards Rotterdam North, with its countless boutiques and eateries. I myself often stop by Bertmans (Zaagmolenkade 15). They have a fantastic outdoor seating area by the Rotte River. And there are lots of options for vegetarians and vegans like me. BIRD or Lokaal Espresso (both in Raampoortstraat) are also among my favourites.

12:00 – Raise the sails

If you’re in this part of town anyway, the Kralingse Bos with its wooded park and expansive lake is within walking distance. On a perfect summer day, I’ll rent a sailboat with my family. We pack up a full picnic basket, preferably with local products from the Rotterdam Harvest Market and set sail. It’s a fun treat to get such a spectacular view of the Rotterdam skyline from our sailboat!

15:00 – City’s cheerful parks

I live in downtown Rotterdam and don’t have my own yard or garden. I try to visit the city’s cheerful parks as often as I can. The Vroesenpark is always a great place to hang out in summer, full of friendly people and sizzling barbecues.  You can go to the Vroesenpaviljoen, there is a play park and every year there comes a Bathbunny artwork in the Vroesenpark, created by Studio Maky.

17:00 – Cocktails and palm trees

One of the best views from a terrace in Rotterdam is at Aloha (Maasboulevard 100). The bar is situated in a former tropical swimming pool complex. Sip a cocktail in what used to be a wild-water rafting ride and enjoy the sunset and the amazing view of the Maas River. The palm trees, mix-and-match vintage furniture, and trendy bartenders give Aloha a unique flavour. Its exceptional atmosphere makes Aloha a one-of-a-kind bar.

18:00 – Swimming on a vintage cruise ship

I prefer to cross the Maas from Rotterdam Centre to Rotterdam South by water taxi (various launch and landing points). It’s amazing to see Rotterdam from the water. I frequently visit the ss Rotterdam (3e Katendrechtse Hoofd 25), one of the best-known pre-war passenger liners. The Lido terrace on deck has a swimming pool in the middle, so I can sit back and relax with a quick bite to eat or a drink while my kids enjoy the pool. It’s also close to the Deliplein square on Katendrecht, which used to be the sailors’ district. A dream destination for serious foodies!

20:00 – An evening out on ‘the Cape’

The Fenix Food Factory (Veerlaan 19D) is a covered fresh food market. Everything is artisanal and produced locally. Pick up a sandwich from Jordy’s Bakery, some salad or fresh-cut fries from Rechtstreex, a cup of coffee from Stielman Koffiebranders, or a local beer from Kaapse Brouwers and sit down by the waterfront. If I want to grab a nightcap in the authentic atmosphere of Katendrecht, I like going to Café De Ouwehoer (Delistraat 36C). They often have live music and it feels like a real sailors’ pub.

The best summer spots according to Susan Bijl

Fenix Food Factory

Fenix Food Factory

The Fenix Food Factory is a fresh-produce market in the Fenixloods II wa...
Kralingse Bos & Plas

Kralingse Bos & Plas

The Kralingse Bos is a wooded park that surrounds the Kralingse Park lak...
De Luchtsingel

De Luchtsingel

De Luchtsingel is a 390-metre wooden footbridge that connects the Rotter...

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