Rotterdam’s nautical roots are strong in the Maritime District. The Leuvehaven inner harbour was bustling with port activity a hundred years ago, but now it houses the oldest shipping museum in the Netherlands: the Maritiem Museum. Explore historic ships and cranes and experience how this spot gave birth to the world-class port of Rotterdam. Varying temporary exhibitions take you on a journey through the city’s maritime past and present. Behind the Maritiem Museum, the monument known as ‘The Destroyed City‘ is worth checking out. This bronze statue by Ossip Zadkine represents a human figure with its heart missing: a symbol of Rotterdam, struck through the heart by the German bombardment in World War II. Younger visitors will love Kids Marina, a miniature port where you can drive your own firefighting vessel or police speedboat through the water!
Hungry? Thirsty? Head on to the Oude Haven waterfront, where gorgeous historic ships are tied up alongside friendly sidewalk cafés. If you’d like to see the truly massive ships sail into town, find yourself a seat at one of the quayside tables at Prachtig, a restaurant right on the riverbanks of the Mass, and enjoy the sight of the container ships, cruise liners and shimmering ripples on the river. Where are all those ships coming from? And what or who are they carrying? The sight is guaranteed to spark your imagination.