The best museums in Rotterdam
Almicheal Fraay

The best museums in Rotterdam

The fire has been burning even brighter in the cultural heart of the city since the arrival of Depot Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. This is where museums and institutions meet, bordering Museum Park. Discover the ‘treasures’ that used to be stored behind closed doors at the iconic Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen. Directly opposite, you can visit Het Nieuwe Instituut, the museum for architecture, design and digital culture. The Kunsthal is worth a visit both for its building and its interesting, topical exhibitions.

1. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

The Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen is the first art storage facility in the world that offers access to a museum’s complete collection without the mediation of a curator. The Depot has a different dynamic to that of the museum: there are no exhibitions, but the public can browse amongst 151,000 artworks, alone or with a guide, and get behind-the-scenes glimpses of conservation, restoration and provenance research.

2. Kunsthal Rotterdam

The Kunsthal Rotterdam is an icon of modern architecture and was designed by the Rotterdam agency OMA/Rem Koolhaas. The building is located on the edge of the beautiful Museumpark and Westzeedijk. There are always several – large and small – exhibitions at a time, from old masters to contemporary artists, from innovative designers to engaging photographers. Stop for a snack or a drink at the Kunsthal Café.

3. Nederlands Fotomuseum

The Nederlands Fotomuseum is the national museum of photography with an impressive collection of more than 5.5 million images. The museum shows photography in all its facets. Historical and contemporary photography, Dutch and international, alternate. In recent years, work by photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Nan Goldin, Lewis Hine, Alfredo Jaar, Josef Koudelka and Viviane Sassen was presented in large exhibitions.

4. Maritime Museum

The collection of the oldest shipping museum in the Netherlands has more than half a million maritime objects. There are various exhibitions including the Offshore Experience, a challenging search for energy at sea. Outside, on the quay in Leuvehaven, you can admire ships, cranes and other port objects from the period of 1850 to 1970.

5. Museum Rotterdam ‘40’45.NU

Museum Rotterdam ‘40’45.NU can be described as an education centre about the Second World War in Rotterdam. The museum is mentioned in the Lonely Planet’s Pocket Rotterdam as one of the top sights.

6. Het Nieuwe Instituut

At Het Nieuwe Instituut, the Museum for Architecture, Design and Digital Culture presents temporary exhibitions with the theme of innovation. In addition to an archive and a library, there is a bookshop and Het Nieuwe Café, a lively museum café on the water with colourful and mostly plant-based dishes on the menu. The Sonneveld House Museum next door, one of the best-preserved houses in the style of the Dutch branch of the International School of Modernism (Nieuwe Bouwen), is open to the public.

7. Wereldmuseum Rotterdam

The Wereldmuseum Rotterdam offers a mirror image of 130 years of collecting by Rotterdammers for Rotterdammers. Especially in this diverse city, the museum plays a connecting role with its global collection of over 83,000 objects. The Wereldmuseum shows that apart from the differences, we are all the same: human beings.

8. TENT and international art institute Melly

TENT is an exhibition space for contemporary Rotterdam art. Through a varied programme, TENT focuses on relevant and current developments in contemporary art, connecting the art of the city to what is happening in the world. The exhibition space is located in a monumental former school building on the Witte de Withstraat. The building is shared with the international art institute Melly, one of the most important institutes for contemporary art in the Netherlands.

9. Natural History Museum Rotterdam

The Natural History Museum Rotterdam is a lovely Rotterdam museum that continues to amaze. The permanent collection of birds, mammals, fish, insects, shells and plants shows earth’s biodiversity in all its variety. You can see all the fossils that can be found in Dutch soil in the exhibition ‘Picked up, Fished out, Cut out’. The exhibition ‘Pure Resilience’ shows that the city is also nature. Eye-catchers are the skeleton of a sperm whale and the skeleton of elephant Ramon. With famous dead-animals-with-a-story such as the Domino sparrow, the Second Chamber Mouse and the CERN marten, the museum also attracts international attention and public.

10. Chabot Museum

The Chabot museum is a small museum with a varied international exhibition programme. The Chabot Museum manages one of the most important collections of painter and sculptor Henk Chabot (1894-1949), a Dutch expressionist. As a painter of farmers and horticulturists, the Dutch landscape and in the war years of refugees and people in hiding, Chabot has his own place in Dutch modern art. The museum is housed in the monumental white villa dating from 1938, which, like the Sonneveld House, the Van Nelle Factory and the Feyenoord Stadium, is one of the highlights of the Dutch branch of the International School of Modernism (Nieuwe Bouwen) period.

Unconventional Art Colours Rotterdam

Unconventional Art Colours Rotterdam

From giant feet and foxes to oilmen and Santa Claus: if nothing else, a lot of Rotterdams outdoor art makes you look up. It’s larger than life. It is so easy to take the artworks for granted, but take your time to admire them

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A visual arts and culture organisation based in Rotterdam
Contour Gallery

Contour Gallery

A gallery for contemporary art with a focus on photography and sculptures
Garage Rotterdam

Garage Rotterdam

An exhibition centre for contemporary art in the city centre of Rotterdam