Rotterdam lies within the Province of South-Holland in the west of the Netherlands. The city is located in the south of the Randstad and is divided into northern and southern areas by the river Nieuwe Maas.
As the second largest city in the Netherlands and home to the biggest port in Europe, Rotterdam boasts a plethora of fascinating attractions, including excellent museums, intriguing monuments and architecture as well as a selection of fantastic shopping and dining experiences. Much of Rotterdam was completely redesigned and rebuilt after the devastating bombings raids during the Second World War, something which has allowed the region to develop into a city dominated by modern, progressive architecture with elegant decor and design. Rotterdam is now a bustling hub of activity, filled with dynamic people and a contemporary ambience.
The municipality is also home to several prominent buildings and monuments, including the Rotterdam City Hall, constructed in 1914 in a dramatic Art Deco style. The building is still in use and is often open to the public, although some rooms and corridors may be restricted. The Erasmus Statue in Grotekerkplein is an impressive monument, erected in 1622, portraying the hand of the famous sculptor Keijser. The statue is surrounded by local mystery and intrigue, with old legends suggesting that every hour, the bronze hand comes to life and turns a page in his book.
Rotterdam also has a range of charming shops and markets situated around the city. Popular pedestrianised shopping areas in the centre of the city include Lijnbaan, Hoogstraat and the diverse Afrikaanderplein. Alternatively, a terrific range of open-air market stalls can be found at the huge Inner City Market located at the eastern end of the Hoogstraat. Picking up gifts and souvenirs in Rotterdam is a pleasant and enjoyable task, as visitors can wander around and explore the vibrant shops and markets at their own pace.
Whatever your tastes, Rotterdam is a great place to shop. Despite its cutting-edge reputation and wealth of contemporary shopping destinations, the city still has one foot firmly in tradition, hosting 12 different open-air markets.