Visiting Rotterdam during the World Port Days is quite an adventure! There are spectacular activities on the river Maas all day long and you can sign in for one-time excursions to watch real harbor activities. It’s a fact: lots of great things to do in Rotterdam!
In part 1 I showed you how we got a real adrenaline kick from the RIB experience. Part 2 of our story will bring us to the place where the real port activity takes place: the container terminal. Normally they don’t allow tours on the premises, but for the World Port Days they are happy to make an exception.
Of course I will not forget to show you the floating hot tub in which we relaxed on Saturday night to watch the fireworks….but first, the container terminal!
Container terminal ECT
What to expect from visiting a container terminal? OK, it’s the largest in Europe, but what can you see besides ships, containers and huge steel cranes? Well, we were pleasantly surprised!
The ECT (Europe Container Terminals) had organized a complete demonstration area where visitors could climb the huge cranes and kids could drive lorries. They could even climb up into one of those impressive container straddle carriers!
These carriers are huge! With their height of about 10-12m and their exceptional shape they easily drive over stacks of containers to lift them. Our kids had so much fun being a carrier driver for 15 minutes. They lifted containers and drove them to the next stack. With a keen eye they were able to position a container correctly on top of the other. Job well done!
If you ever have the chance to visit a container terminal, don’t hesitate. The World Port Days are a fantastic opportunity to do so. Just make sure to book your tickets on time. Which kid doesn’t want to drive a beautiful orange lorry all by himself??
Hot Tug & night view on Rotterdam
I know you are all very curious about the floating hot tub I talked about in part 1. Well, here it is!
The actual name is “Hot Tug” and in short it’s a woodstove heated tub with an electric engine. Two hours before departure you put some wood in the stove and the water will be heated. The tub is extremely stable: you can put your drinks on the edge which always comes in handy during these evenings.
We first gently navigated from the Leuvehaven to the Oude Haven. We had a drink and a chat (in total we had 7 people in the tub) and waved to people passing by on the quayside. Yes, they did look surprised when they saw us in our swimming suits (it was quite a chilly night)!
At around 11pm the fireworks started and we enjoyed it from our comfortable basin in the water. Don’t you just love Rotterdam by night?
After a while body temperatures started to rise and some needed to cool down: they just jumped into the canal (including our daughter)!
The “Hot Tug” is becoming very popular in Holland. You can book your own (private) trip, just visit their website. It’s great for a family outing!
Trips in Rotterdam always start at the red flagship that houses restaurant Tinto. There you can change clothes and keep your valuables in a locker. Towels are provided.
In Rotterdam it’s all about water. The city depends on the harbor and the water of the river Maas. It should come as no surprise that also the taxis are on water. From various points in the city you can hop on the water taxi. With their wooden interior and black paint it is a classy way of moving around town.
Hotel New York
From the end of the 19th century up to the 70s Dutch people left the country for America, the promised land. These emigrants all embarked on huge passenger ships in Rotterdam to arrive in New York city after a sometimes very tough journey of around 10 days.
All these trips were organized by the Holland-America Line. Their former office is an important piece of history for the city of Rotterdam and is being kept alive by Hotel New York.
The landmark building with the green towers is situated on the South bank of the river Maas and nowadays surrounded by skyscrapers. It is still found by many for the authentic hotel or the fabulous restaurant. We had a lovely dinner were we actually celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary!
Don’t forget to have a look in the basement! There is a barbershop where it feels you have stepped back into the 50s: the New York Barbershop!
Things to do in Rotterdam
When you visit Rotterdam for the first time, it’s clear that the city is not your regular tulips-and-clogs Dutch town. There are impressive skyscrapers all around for example.
Rotterdam is a truly great place to explore, thanks to impressive architecture, numerous festivals and events, museums and of course the city’s maritime attractions. And if you are looking for more adventurous activities, just check out these events:
We were invited by Rotterdam Marketing to visit the World Port Days 2013. If you intend to visit Rotterdam, you should consider buying the Rotterdam Welcome Card (RWC). It offers discounts of 25% and more at 50 attractions, museums, restaurants and places of entertainment in Rotterdam and 1, 2 or 3 days of unlimited travel with RET metro, tram and bus. You can order the RWC already ahead of your visit.
Thank you Rotterdam for hosting us, it has been a pleasure!
Want to know more about things to do (with your kids) in the Netherlands? Just click here!