Old Dutch Route

22 June 2016 by

The Dutch are considered to be down to earth, open minded and good merchants, but we lack in one characteristic: patriotism. We are happy to be Dutch, but rather focus on the things still to be improved than marvel over the beauties we own. Unjustified in my opinion, because we have many beautiful sights and food to share with you. In this blog an all Dutch day in Rotterdam: Dutch food, typical Dutch sights and history, Dutch architecture and design. Not too touristy, the local way. A perfect day for young and old.

Stop 1: Time Stairs – inside the Markthal

Let’s start this tour at the beginning, the place where Rotterdam was born. It doesn’t really look like an old site, but the Markthal is actually a few meters away from the place where in 1270 a dam was made over the Rotte river founding Rotterdam. When the Markthal was built archaeologist found hundreds of artefacts dating back to pre-Rotterdam times. They’ve displayed most interesting findings in the Time Stairs in the Markthal. Just take the escalators down and you’ll find three floors with displays showing you Rotterdam’s history. A hidden treasure which you normally wouldn’t find!

— Walk to the Laurenschurch

Stop 2: Laurenschurch

The Laurenschurch is our only medieval building in the city centre and holds a very special place in the heart of many Rotterdammers (people of Rotterdam). It’s the place that marks the double beginning of the city. Once the beginning of the city in the Middle Ages and once the re-beginning  after the devastating WOII bombing. Nowadays the church is surrounded by bustling shopping streets and a cacophonic mix of post war buildings. The square in front is one of my favourite squares, I don’t know why, but it always boozes tranquillity.

You can visit the church from Tuesday to Saturday, and on Wednesdays and Saturdays climb the tower and experience the best view over the city. Check here the opening times and prices.

Stop 3: Time for a coffee brake! Check in at Café Dudok

Everybody, seriously everybody in Rotterdam knows café Dudok. Okay, maybe Rotterdam babies not, but they probably have visited it in their prams. Besides being a pleasurable grand café, Dudok owes its popularity to its delicious Dutch apple pie. It’s popular nationwide and is big, bold and has a beautiful taste. Enjoy it with a nice coffee! Share it if you’re not that hungry.

Take the metro at Beurs to Delfshaven (direction Schiedam) or take the tram 8 (direction Spangen) from Beurs, get off at tramstop Delfshaven. The metro is faster, the tram is better for sightseeing.

Stop 4: Historical Delfshaven

Ready for a little time travel? In the middle of this multicultural neighbourhood there is a little historical gem. It’s called historic Delfshaven and stems from the 14th century. It used to be the harbour of Delft. This is also the place where in 1620 the Pilgrim Fathers sailed off.

Take a walk in Delfshaven and walk all the way to the end of the peninsula to see a traditional flour windmill. Other nice places to visit are the Pilgrim Church, the Pelgrim brewery, and the many nice artistic shops.

Don’t forget to take photo’s!

Stop 5: My stomach is making noises -> Lunch break!

Pick and choose. A typical Dutch lunch is kroketten on bread or pancakes with cheese and bacon. Kroketten are breadcrumb fried goulash rolls served on bread with mustard. Yum!

My recommendations for lunch in Delfshaven: beer-lovers can go and have an all-Dutch lunch with beer at the Pelgrim beerbrewery; Sun-lovers enjoy the terrace boat at Café Soif, they have both pancakes as well as kroketten; and culinary food-lovers go to Bij Loes.

— Take the tram 8 from the same stop as where you got off. Take it in the opposite direction, direction Kleiweg. Get off at Kievitslaan. Cross the street and head in the direction of the Kunsthal. At the Kunsthal walk down the ramp and head into the scenic Museum park. Pass the rose garden, a strange piece of art looking like an octopus (of Rotterdam artist van Lieshout), and take a peek into the museum garden of the Boijmans museum. At the other side of the park walk straight ahead into the Jongkindstraat and find the Huis Sonneveld at the end on your right hand.

Cross the street on the other side of the park and head towards the House Sonneveld.

Stop 6: Huis Sonneveld

How was it to live in the wonderful 30s? The Sonneveld House shows how a prominent Rotterdam family embraced modernism. I especially like the free audio tour, it includes a lot of interesting information about living in the 30s and makes the house come to life.

Stop 7: Café Sijf

An old Dutch art deco Café with a very nice collection of beers. Order the traditional Dutch drink: “Kopstoot,” translated: headbutt. A draft beer that comes with a shot of jenever (Dutch gin). You drink the shot and then ‘extinguish’ the burning sensation of the jenever with beer. Yes, it’s a real head butt! Rotterdam cheese or bitterballen (mini kroketten) go perfectly with a drink here.

— Feel like chilling in your hotel for a while? Take a shower. Watch some TV. Take a powernap.

Stop 8: Restaurant De Pijp

For an all Dutch dinner in a great local ambiance I recommend Restaurant De Pijp. A real hidden gem. Bring your magnifying glass, because you have to be Sherlock Holmes to find this place. For the people in despair or the lazy/pragmatic ones, here’s the Google maps link 🙂

I’m very curious how you’ve experienced your all Dutch day!

– This blog has been written bij Ariane Nooteboom –