Rotterdam is certainly not the first city you would think of to spend a week-end. And yet – this port city and modern architecture treasure is bursting with creativity. People in Rotterdam like to say that they are “doers” when the one in Amsterdam are “talkers”. And you’d have no pain to believe them when you see all the creative initiatives that come from this 600,000 people city.
Aloha: Swimming pool turned tropical hangout
A bit out off the beaten path but well worth the trip, Aloha is Rotterdam’s very own beach resort. The people of Picknick – another gem on the Mariniersweg in the city center – took this old swimming pool and transformed it into a tropical hangout. Dancing, small events, theatre shows – everything is possible in this place. The outside pool is located on a spacious riverside terrace with an amazing view. They currently grow mushrooms here as well… but not the magic kind.
Maasboulevard 100, 3063 NS Rotterdam
Open Thursday through Saturday from 12am till late and Sunday and Monday from 12am to 11pm
Fenix Food Factory: Local products from local sellers
Supermarkets are so 2009. Located close to the famous Hotel New York, Fenix Food Factory is where you go to get all your goods these days. Locals have filled this old waterfront warehouse with regional products: artisan bread prepared by Jordy’s bakery, vegetables, cheeses, meats, and a great craft beer brewed by De Kaapse Brouwers, which has its headquarters in the Fenix Food Factory (they have almost 20 beers on tap, including their own). Take a seat to enjoy some of these tasty morsels – or take the seat home with you, as every piece of furniture is for sale!
Veerlaan 19, 3072 AN Rotterdam
Open Wednesday through Friday from 10am to 7pm and Saturday from 10am to 6pm and Sunday from 12am to 6pm
BAR: One BAR to please all
Every bar is different, but this bar is different every other day. Open to crazy ideas and run with an emphasis on fun, BAR changes with each event. Bingo, gay parties, or a full blown dinner show – nothing is ever the same. On weekends, the venue bursts your eardrums with all kinds of progressive electronic music, from Acid Arab tracks to Turkish disco
If you’re looking for a bit more fun and games, BAR has a ping pong table, fussball, and a selection of board games. On top of it all, they’ve also got a Mediterranean grill serving up Greek-style octopus, halloumi, and falafel. An adventure starts at BAR.
Schiekade 201, 3013 BR Rotterdam
Open Wednesday through Saturday from 4pm to 5am
WORM: Underground culture in a recycled space
There really is nothing like WORM. Hidden in a basement on one of Rotterdam’s busiest nightlife streets, this venue will amaze you with its varied and diverse program. Never a place for the big names but firmly rooted in the underground, expect punk, electro, grime or noise – no genre is frowned upon.
Besides music, WORM is home to a quality cinema that shows rare finds and cult favorites. The foyer also features Cult Videotheek, where you can rent forgotten VHS and DVDs from staff who are always on-hand to point you in the direction of strange zombie movies or blaxploitation must-sees.
Once you’ve experienced it all, you can take a seat in a place at the front they call the Wunderbar – a bit German, a bit weird, but very open.
Boomgaardsstraat 71, 3012 Rotterdam
Open Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday from 5pm to 1am and Friday and Saturday from 5pm to 6am
Demonfuzz: The start of every vinyl hunt
This shop lies at the heart of the city’s vinyl hotspot, and just around the corner you’ll also find Vinylspot, De Plaatboef, Velvet Music and other great record stores. But Demonfuzz should be your starting point. This place is run by DJs, so everything is done with a certain amount of detail. They keep a photo diary of all the greats that have visited the shop and are more than happy to help out if you’re looking for something special – in fact they might even take you to the huge archives in the back!
Nieuwe Binnenweg 86, 3015 BC Rotterdam
Open Monday through Thursday and Saturday from 12am to 6pm and Friday from 12am to 7pm
Discover more alternative and cultural spots in Rotterdam with our city guide Indie Guides Rotterdam.
Photos: Courtesy of the places mentioned