Rotterdam, the perfect Green City Trip for Slow Travellers

More and more tourists are mindful of their footprint. They want to enjoy travelling, but in a way they can justify to themselves. Rotterdam is an outstanding destination for this mindful slow traveller. Initiatives that make the city sustainable, circular and climate-adaptive are given plenty of opportunity in this eclectic port city. Rotterdam is accessible in ‘green’ ways, and the city has an abundance of sustainable hotels and plant-based restaurants.

If your clients prefer not to fly, there are other options to get to Rotterdam. There is a good (high-speed) train connection from several countries with Eurostar, ICE International and Thalys. And, as a true port city, Rotterdam is also easily accessible by water. You can sail from Hull and Harwich to Hoek van Holland with P&O Ferries and Stena Line. And Hoek van Holland is only a 30-minute metro ride from Rotterdam city centre. For those who do choose to fly there is the nearby Rotterdam The Hague Airport. And the NS Intercity Direct train from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to Rotterdam Central takes just 26 minutes.

Crossing the city on foot and by bike

Once in Rotterdam, distances are short. Visitors can enjoy beautiful city walks or explore by bike. With 600 kilometres of cycle paths, Rotterdam is a wonderful city for cycling. You can explore the city on your own, perhaps using the routes available at Rotterdam Tourist Information, or with a guide. Organisations such as Bike & Bite, De Rotterdam Tours, Urban Guides and Inside Rotterdam offer a variety of customised city tours with surprising themes.

Public transport takes you everywhere

The public transport system in Rotterdam is well organised. Visitors can benefit from the Rotterdam Welcome Card, which allows unlimited use of the bus, tram and metro for one, two or three days. The card also gives discounts on various museums and attractions.

Your clients can go anywhere they want by bus, metro, tram and (water)taxi. Transport company RET, which provides public transport in Rotterdam, aims to be energy-positive by 2030. The most fun way to get around Rotterdam is by Watertaxi. There is now also an electric variant and work is underway on a water taxi that runs on green hydrogen. Within ten years, all water taxis will be emission-free. The Waterbus Blue Amigo, which sails to places like the UNESCO World Heritage Site Kinderdijk Windmills, is also making that transition.

Sustainable innovations in M4H

One of the city’s most exciting areas, M4H, is working hard to build a sustainable future. Formerly a port area, it is now Rotterdam’s makers’ district, where designers and inventors collaborate on innovations at the intersection of art, design and technology. From well-known names like Daan Roosegaarde and Joep van Lieshout to start-ups like Urban Reef, which aims to increase biodiversity in the city with its 3D-printed objects. Many of the entrepreneurs in M4H use the area itself as a living lab. For instance, DE URBANISTEN laid out a sponge garden on their doorstep, which collects water, and transformed the stony harbour basin in the Keilehaven into a tidal park, bringing tidal nature back into the city. One of the most remarkable places in M4H is the Floating Farm, a floating, circular dairy farm on the water. Visitors are welcome to join a guided tour and can buy fresh dairy from the farm shop.

A visit to Stadshaven Brewery is also inspiring. During the tour, the brewers enthusiastically explain how little water and energy they waste when brewing their sustainable craft beers. There is, of course, also a chance to sample the beers.

Local, plant-based, creative and culinary

Sustainable and local are already practically the norm in Rotterdam when it comes to dining and drinks. The first lunch place you can encounter when you arrive at Rotterdam Central is Burgertrut, where they serve delicious, plant-based dishes. With the profit they support the cultural program of Roodkapje. Het Nieuwe Café, part of Het Nieuwe Instituut Museum for Architecture, Design and Digital Culture, is also popular among (plant-based) foodies. Chef Manuela Goncalves Tavares’ purple sweet potato soup with coconut milk is famous! If you go for fine dining, restaurants like Renilde (spectacularly located on the roof of Depot Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen) and Rotonde, where the tone is set with local and seasonal ingredients, should not be missed. A visit to the Fenix Food Factory or the Rotterdam Harvest Market (Oogstmarkt), where you can buy fresh produce from regional farmers, is always inspiring.

Award-winning festival city

Rotterdam is a veritable festival city and takes its responsibility seriously. The municipality signed a Sustainable Deal with 11 event organisers and Rotterdam Festivals to reduce the collective footprint. Festivals like the music festival Motel Mozaïque and the World Port Days do their best to work as sustainably as possible. Rotterdam certainly has a reputation to uphold: the city has been named IFEA World Festival & Event City three times!

The excellent accessibility, the wide choice of sustainable restaurants and hotels and especially the innovative projects that make Rotterdam a frontrunner in sustainability and circularity all make Rotterdam the ideal city trip destination for mindful travellers. Add a lively cultural life with a selection of top museums, a sustainable festival calendar and pioneering architecture, and visitors will find themselves short of time during their holiday in this captivating port city.

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