A May 2002 trip
to Rotterdam by milliebell
Quote: I enjoyed a 2 night stay in Rotterdam as part of my trip to the Netherlands, on a very low budget as it was just before returning home.
Rotterdam has some excellent musuems. For one of the best free ones, try the Customs and Excise musuem.
Het Park is huge, peaceful and very pretty, with lots of quiet places to relax. I enjoyed a wonderful cheap lunch of bread and cheese there, sititng in the sunshine.
The bridges provide some good viewing. Between the Erasmus bridge and the Euromast,on the same side, there is a lovely pretty old neighbourhood that is unlike the rest of Rotterdam.
Internet access is available at Rotterdam library. This very modern building is worth a visit in itself, and has reading areas, lots of resting places and a cafe. Non members can also use the internet, and it is fairly cheap.
The hostel is clean and has good facilities. I stayed in an 8 bedded female dorm. There are also smaller rooms. The shower room was next door and the toilet across the corridor. Bedding was provided, and breakfast. Out of all the hostels I stayed in, this one provided the best breakfast. The buffet was extensive, with cheeses, meats, a good selection of Dutch breads, rolls, fruit, cereal, juice, spreads etc. Laundry facilities are in the basement. The hostel also rents out bikes and sells tickets for the Euromast and Spido cruises. There is a small patio and garden area at the back. Whilst I was there, internet access was not available, though I am informed that it normally would be.
There are no shops very close by, but you can get the Metro or walk into the city. Alternatively, the bar has a good selection of cheap snacks like pizza slices, or evening meals.
I would highly recommend this hostel. At only 17.50 euros a night, it was very good value for money. It is cheaper than some other hostels in bigger cities. In addition, Rotterdam was a really cool city with loads to see and do, as well as good rail links to Belguim and other parts of the Netherlands.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 2, 2002
City Hostel Rotterdam
Attraction | "Tax and Customs Musuem"
The best attraction is the smugglers experience. I was asked before I entered if I had any heart problems etc. It is in Dutch, but it is very easy to understand what is happening. You walk through a turnstile into darkness. A video comes on, showing scenes of the harbour. You then walk into another room. This is where the fun begins. The room seals behind you. You are sealed into a container. If you look through the holes, you can see daylight scenes of the harbour. The container begins to shake, as it is being 'lifted down', and the floor shakes under you. There are lots of voices outside. Eventually a sharp voice demands that the container be opened - this is understandable in English. There are lots of sounds of drills etc.
When you emerge, the rest of the museum has some interesting exhibits. There is a large antique piano that was used in an attempt to smuggle cocaine. There are exhibits of other things like animal skins, weapons and fake goods seized, and videos show other things used to smuggle drugs and shows how the team work at Schipol airport.
This is a highly entertaining few hours, though I am not sure of its appeal to younger children. The musem is located in a beautiful old neightbourhood that is wonderful to explore on foot. For a free musuem, this is a real low budget hidden gem.
Tax and Customs Museum
Attraction | "Maritime Buitenmuseum"
It is a pleasant enough place, especially when the weather is nice. As it is all open air, I am not sure if I would say the same if it was pouring with rain and freezing cold. You walk across the footbridge into some ships, and there are exhibits all along the waterside, including workshops etc. It is all labelled in Dutch, though you can buy a English language guide.
As I was on a very low budget, this is fairly okay, but otherwise this would not be one of my top priorities for a visit. The free tax and custims musuem gives you a far better understanding of the workings of the harbour. However, if you have children, they will probably love it.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 2, 2002
Rotterdam, Netherlands 3011 EA
Amsterdam it is not. It is a very modern city, due to being bombed to oblivion in May 1940. The result is a planned city centre, lots of very modern architecture, good nightlife and a fairly young population.
However, it does not mean that Rotterdam lacks an identity of its own as it is so young. Its moderness and youthfulness is its identity. It is an attractive city, though not in the sense of medieval streets. It is open and spacious, easy to get around and it has excellent public transport.
I would recommend it if you want to see more of the Netherlands than the traditional images of canals and windmills (there are windmills and canals close by if you need a fix).
Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom