Oh hey there museum lover! If perusing galleries and museums is high up on your list of priorities when visiting a new city, then Rotterdam is the city for you. It is home to some of the best art, artefacts and exhibitions in the Netherlands and Rotterdam is often described as the Netherlands’ architecture and design capital – and when you survey the architecture of the city, it’s easy to see why.
Design is EVERYWHERE, in the buildings, the art, the fashion and even the food. Whilst Rotterdam doesn’t have the cultural heritage of its sister city Amsterdam owing to WWII destroying the cityscape with Rotterdam having to rebuild itself post-war, it does more than make up for things when it comes to contemporary design and its museum offering.
So, where can you find the best Rotterdam museums and galleries? Read on to add a few to your Rotterdam rambles.
One of Rotterdam’s cultural gems, the Kunsthal is unusual in the sense that there isn’t actually a dedicated permanent collection housed there. Instead, you will find a series of temporary exhibitions that showcase the very best of contemporary art in various forms. There are around 20 exhibitions each year which includes photography, fashion,film, ceramics, painting and more.
The building itself is inspiring in its architectural scope, as well as in the host of exhibitions it continually puts on and is the perfect backdrop for showcasing the creative achievements of both Dutch and international artists. Two of the most popular exhibitions have been centred around fashion which includes a stunning exhibition of Viktor & Rolf fashion collections and one from Jean Paul Gaultier. The Kunsthal is part of the Museum Park, a creatively landscaped outdoor space that connects Rotterdam’s major museums.
Orbzii Insider Tip: If you are planning to visit more than one of the Rotterdam museums, it’s more cost-effective to purchase a Rotterdam Welcome Pass which will give you discounted access to 20 of the museums in Rotterdam.
As the first accessible art deport facility to the public in the world, it’s easy to see why the Depot Boijmans is world-renowned. The depot is located next to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen – the oldest museum in Rotterdam (which is temporarily closed) in Museum Park in Rotterdam. There are more than 151,000 collected works of art which can be found in fourteen depot spaces throughout the facility. It’s recommended that you take at least half a day to really carve out time to see as many of the collections as possible.
If you get a chance, why not try taking some time to try one of the events such as rooftop yoga?
Orbzii Insider Tip: Even if the brilliant Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is temporarily closed, you can still see some of the art works which have temporarily been housed at other Rotterdam museums in the meantime. ‘Boijmans Next Door’ is a major collaboration between a variety of Rotterdam museums and art venues where you can find some of the collections that would normally be found at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen at the likes of Depot, Fries in Leeuwarden and more.
Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam
Delve into the rich natural history of Rotterdam with a mosey around this intriguing collection which has deservedly earned a solid reputation for being one of the best Rotterdam museums. Established in 1927, the natural history museum was moved to its current location at the expansive Museumpark in the late ‘80s. If you love a spot of natural history and want something other than art, this is the best of the Rotterdam museums to visit. A huge part of the collection here was owned by zoologist Anton Boudewijn van Deinse who lived in Rotterdam. He kindly bequeathed his specimens to the museum in 1965, making it one of the best natural history museums in the world. As it stands, there’s around 400,0000 fossils, samples and other scientific objects of interest to enjoy.
If you like your Rotterdam museums to do exactly what they say on the tin, then the aptly-named Rotterdam Museum won’t disappoint. It provides a fascinating insight into the city’s multifaceted history and serves not only as a great way to learn more about its past and culture, but also to preserve the city’s heritage, whilst honouring the many individuals and communities that have lived inside the city over the past millennium.
There are over 40,000 artefacts within the collection and you can also find temporary exhibitions that tell the story of key individuals from Rotterdam’s past. One of the most intriguing and informative exhibitions is the ´40-´45 NOW – a reflective museum experience which provides insight into the bombing of Rotterdam during the war.
Dutch Pinball Museum
He was a pinball wizard! The fun game of pinball is a fun thing to do anywhere and it remains a mainstay of the Netherlands. Venture into any bar and you will more than likely find a pinball machine to lose yourself in. We have even spotted a Dolly Parton pinball machine in the city. This quirky museum showcases a wide range of antique pinball machines to ponder over including some pretty special pre war masterpieces. Located outside of the MuseumParkin the historic Delfshaven district of Rotterdam, this museum is certainly worth adding to your list of must-visit Rotterdam museums.