Super-Diverse Rotterdam, the Destination for Global Travellers

As a port city and the gateway to Europe, Rotterdam is connected to the world. A city with international allure but without airs and graces. Rotterdam is a city for everyone. A place where freedom is paramount and diversity is celebrated and embraced. The destination of choice for the adventurous traveller who does not want to feel like a tourist on holiday but likes to mingle with the locals.

Rotterdam is what you would call a super-diverse city. More than half of all its inhabitants have a migrant background. More than 170 nationalities live together harmoniously. A melting pot! Rotterdammers like to share their cultural heritage with each other and with visitors, by celebrating life together, for example. Festivals, therefore, play an important role in Rotterdam: there are more than 150 a year, and all cultures are represented in the busy festival calendar. These vary from the Arab Film Festival, Chinese New Year and São João Festival to big events like the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Rotterdam Marathon and Rotterdam Unlimited, which fills the streets with music and a colourful, dancing crowd during the Summer Carnival street parade.

Cacophony of styles

Rotterdam is not only diverse in terms of its inhabitants but the city is also known for its pioneering architecture and its cacophony of building styles. This has everything to do with its history. In 1940, the city was bombed and then rebuilt in a radical way. The people of Rotterdam opted for renewal instead of repair. Architects were given every opportunity to experiment and innovate and still are today. The result? A city full of exciting contrasts and a skyline that will delight the architecture lovers among your clients. From the Cube Houses, the first gallery flat, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Van Nelle Factory and Sonneveld House to the new Rotterdam Central Station, the Markthal and De Rotterdam. The people of Rotterdam continue to boldly build a city where creative ideas are encouraged. The latest icon is the spectacular Depot Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen: a photogenic spherical shape with a facade of mirrors.

Social initiatives

It is not all sparkling reflections in the City on the Maas. Certainly not. There are rough edges too. This combination may have put Rotterdam on the map as a city with the cool factor, but the urban challenges are nevertheless substantial. After all, how do you keep it affordable for everyone? How do you maintain connectivity?

Rotterdam strives in many ways to be a city for everyone regardless of age, origin, gender or income. Through gatherings (festivals), but also by encouraging initiatives with a social impact. Like Holy Beans, a coffee shop where ex-prisoners and young people with problems gain work experience. The Swapshop, where you can hand in worn clothes and swap them for ‘new’ ones. Lunchroom Fröbel, where people with mental disorders serve the customers. And Rotterdamse Munt, a public picking garden full of herbs and flowers.

 

Local culinary trendsetters

That there is a lot to discover in the culinary field in a young, diverse city like Rotterdam goes without saying. The diversity is enormous. There are ways to taste the authentic Rotterdam for every budget: from a bag of French fries from local hero Bram Ladage to a gourmet dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant like Zeezout or FG Restaurant. Those who like adventure, meeting people and tasting food can book several tours. Such as the Inside Rotterdam bike tour Food ‘n Route: entrepreneurs share their delicacies and inspirational stories along the way. The Rotterdam food tour by Bike&Bite is also highly recommended: it takes participants past cultural and culinary highlights in a few hours. You can also venture out on your own, past the cosmopolitan restaurants and shops on West-Kruiskade. A visit to the Foodhallen or the Markthal, where numerous artisanal entrepreneurs offer their wares, is also recommended: a feast for all of your senses!

The multitude of cultures, the mix of styles and the vibrant festival calendar make Rotterdam an irresistible place for adventurous travellers. For those who appreciate the authentic, down-to-earth and unpolished. Who are curious about ‘the other’ and enjoy being surprised and amazed.

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