Shopping in Rotterdam: Where to go?
The sunken shopping passage, referred to locally as the 'Koopgoot' ('shopping gutter') - photo Iris van den Broek

Shopping in Rotterdam: Where to go?

One of the best things about a metropolis like Rotterdam when it comes to shopping is that the city has multiple shopping areas. Each area has a different character to suit the diversity of desires and people. From the latest trends to sustainable classics, from XXL-stores to charming boutiques, from international to hyper-local and from shops with ‘eternal life’ to pop-ups. Each neighbourhood will surprise you and you’ll find it hard to leave empty-handed. For the ultimate shopping experience, see our ideas below. Shop your way around Rotterdam using our tips.

The Centre: grand, glamorous and expressive

Who hasn’t heard of the Lijnbaan and the ‘Koopgoot’? These are traditionally the shopping streets of Rotterdam, right next to the Coolsingel, with large chains, well-known brands and evergreens like the luxury department store De Bijenkorf and Hema, a department store for everyone. De Meent is just behind that and is known as the city’s most glamorous street, with exclusive high-end shoe and fashion shops, several beauty salons and the HAY design store. In this part of town, you can shop to your heart’s content: shop in, shop out. Until you’re ready for a break. Even then, there is plenty to choose from: from the iconic Dudok (yes, from that apple pie) to the restaurant and underground bar Thoms or the IJssalon for ice cream on hot days (or cold ones, it doesn’t matter).

Noord: artisanal, intimate and original

There is no way to capture the wealth of shops in Rotterdam Noord under one heading, but if we had to choose three keywords, they would be: artisanal, intimate and original. Next to the city centre – right next to Hofplein – are the Hofbogen arches. This longest monumental structure in the Netherlands houses two kilometres of design, fashion, crafts, coffee and delicacies, all under an old railway viaduct. Start your shopping tour at Hofplein Station, browse the shops, and visit Bird for a snack or a drink and good vibes. The Zomerhofkwartier (ZoHo) is next door: a place full of creative entrepreneurs and ditto businesses. Then walk along Vijverhofstraat to the northern part of Hofbogen. The shops, businesses and restaurants you find here are as unique as the neighbourhood and the building they are located in. No large chains or brand stores, but small speciality shops with unique products, such as ‘s Zomers flowers, Pantoufle (slow design for daily life) and Man Met Bril Koffie (restaurant en roastery). They are genuine Rotterdam businesses, with a ‘can do’ mentality, fond of innovation, surprise and sustainability.

Then walk towards the Oude Noorden via the beautiful Noordsingel. Noordplein, Zwaanshals and Zaagmolenkade are the shopping streets to visit here. For vintage furniture and clothes, for instance, but also art and design. This old working-class district has emerged as a design hotspot in recent years, but the lunchrooms, restaurants and a pub crawl (tastings at Faas!) are worth a try too. You’ll encounter all of this on your walk. The Rotterdam Harvest Market on Noordplein (every Saturday), cookery shop Kookpunt and Brouwerij Noordt are iconic. And don’t miss a stroll along Brancoplein for a ‘village feeling in the city’ and some lovely, intimate restaurants. Read more about Rotterdam Noord.

Oost: creative, exclusive and urban

Walk past the Markthal and enter the eastern part of the city; for adventurous shoppers who like to go off the beaten track. The Hoogstraat starts in the heart of the city centre with much larger shops and well-known chains but – past the Binnenrotte – suddenly becomes a lot more intimate and exclusive in offer. Walk into relatively small shops with great reputations that manage to stand out well from what is on offer ‘in the centre’, such as exclusive sneaker shop WOEI and sustainable shopping centre De Groene Passage. Hoogstraat, Mariniersweg and Goudsesingel are the spots to be in this somewhat urban shopping area. One of the reasons for the attraction is Het Industriegebouw: a monumental building packed with (mostly creative) businesses, restaurants (By Jarmusch!) and modern art. For a shopping adventure, continue east, via Oostzeedijk, towards the heart of Kralingen. Here you will find the Lusthofstraat: a lively shopping street with charming shops, fun specialist stores and delicious restaurants, such as Juffrouw van Zanten and delicatessen Westerkaatje. On Oostzeedijk, you will also find Susan Bijl’s second shop (and office), complete with beautiful design objects.

Shopaholics looking for covered shopping areas can hop on the metro at Oostplein and get off at the Station Alexander (max. 20 minutes). Continue your exploration in the enclosed Alexandrium Shopping Center, where you’ll be surrounded by an abundance of fashionable boutiques, international brands, and cozy dining options. Beyond the indoor experience, the Megastores await you outside. If you’re an interior design enthusiast, take a stroll to the Woonmall, home to various furniture stores and inspiring home decor.

West: diverse, vibrant en timeless

You haven’t really seen Rotterdam until you’ve been to the Oude and Nieuwe Binnenweg. The historic Oude Binnenweg is a vibrant street where old pubs and specialist shops – from jewellers to sustainable gift shops to cheese shops – alternate. Walk towards the Eendrachtsplein, good for coffee, LPs, gifts and books (Van Gennep!) You’ll find yourself at a literal and figurative crossroads. Cross over and enter one of Rotterdam’s most acclaimed (shopping) streets. The Nieuwe Binnenweg is a two-kilometre-long strip of shops and restaurants. Here you can buy artisan bread, the tastiest biscuits and chocolate, handmade jewellery and vintage or timeless and sustainable fashion, at Joline Jolink, for example.

For a sustainable and colourful bag, drop in at Susan Bijl: perhaps the best Rotterdam souvenir. You will also find plenty of traditional Dutch pubs, high-end lunchrooms, all-day breakfast spots, design shops and old-fashioned barbers on the Nieuwe Binnenweg. Take it all in and, before you know it… you find yourself deep in Rotterdam West. Lucky you! This bustling neighbourhood is known for its good mix of folk, diverse in every way, and both timeless and hip, like a modern classic. Just like the people you see there, the shops (and the flavours at the restaurants) are pretty diverse too.

The end of the Meent borders Pannekoekstraat, Botersloot and Nieuwe Markt. Here too, you’ll come across lots of irresistible stuff: from a colourful vintage shop to expressive eyewear and fashion (at Very Cherry, for example) to sustainable classics at Objet Trouvé and The GoodPeople. Visit the market for goodies on Tuesdays and Saturdays. As you can see: Rotterdam city centre – besides being big, hip and well-known – also offers plenty of joy and expressivity. Looking for help or Rotterdam tips? Then visit Rotterdam Centre online or on Hennekijnstraat. For the best Rotterdam souvenirs and specific information, go to Rotterdam Tourist Information at Rotterdam Central Station.

Zuid: surprising, modern and developing  

Rotterdam Zuid is the city’s big surprise in every way. Cross the Nieuwe Maas via the Erasmus Bridge and discover all the beauty, fun and goodness the city’s south bank has to offer. There used to be little reason to visit this part of town if you didn’t live or work here, but now it’s a hotspot and must-see. The development of the Kop van Zuid, Katendrecht and Zuidplein contributed to this, resulting in lots of lovely new shops and restaurants. Besides the many hip restaurants and hotels, you’ll find the exclusive fashion shop Margreeth Olsthoorn on the Wilhelminakade.

On Katendrecht, visit the Fenix Food Factory for artisanal delicacies and on Deliplein, drink coffee (Kopi Soesoe) or a beer (De Ouwehoer) and dine at de Matroos en het Meisje – the name refers to the harbour history of this infamous district. But if you really want good shopping ‘in Zuid’, hop back on the metro and continue to Zuidplein. Besides a boulevard of restaurants, a swimming pool, a theatre and event location Ahoy, you will find a large, indoor, modern and sustainable shopping centre where you can indulge yourself. Zuidplein is in the top ten largest indoor shopping centres in the Netherlands, home to all the major chains and well-known fashion brands. The heart of Rotterdam Zuid beats here at Zuidplein!

Sustainable Shops

Shopping in a metropolis like Rotterdam is diverse, dynamic and as sustainable as you want it to be. In recent years, many creative and innovative Rotterdammers decided to do business ‘differently’: with more attention to people and the environment. Here is a list of remarkable, sustainable and, as far as we are concerned, timeless shops. Beautiful, good and sustainable: what more could you ask for?

  • Susan Bijl: Everyone loves the sustainable mission and awesome colour combos of these shopping bags.
  • The Swapshop: Swapping is the new shopping. Give your clothes a new life and update your wardrobe.
  • WEAR (online!): Under the motto ‘better for the planet and your wallet’, buy second-hand sneakers here or give your shoes a makeover.
  • De Groene Passage: Shop for animal, people and eco-friendly products, from food to home accessories and make-up.
  • The Market on the Binnenrotte: Visit the big open-air market on the Binnenrotte (outside the covered Markthal) every Tuesday and Saturday, for fresh fruit, vegetables and fish and to watch the locals.
  • Freitag Rotterdam: Reuse pioneer FREITAG elevated upcycling to art by turning truck tarpaulins into cool bags.
  • Dearhunter: Discover the most beautiful vintage items in an equally beautiful monumental building on Eendrachtsweg.
  • Very Cherry: The (timeless) and feminine items are produced nearby, sustainable and fair trade.
10 x must see sights and activities in Rotterdam

10 x must see sights and activities in Rotterdam

The story of the city, the bombardment and reconstruction, and the drive to innovate that locals still use today to shape their city all make Rotterdam a fascinating place to visit. Rotterdam is a must-see city with lots of attractions, monuments and architectural highlights to look out for. Find out where to go and what to do and discover the highlights of Rotterdam in this top 10 list of things to do and see.

Get inspired!