Rotterdam is a veritable open-air gallery of modern, postmodern and contemporary construction. It’s a remarkable feat for a city largely raised to the ground by World War 2 bombers. Rebuilding has continued unabated ever since with much ingenuity and vision.
Split by the vast Nieuwe Maas shipping channel, you cross Rotterdam by a series of tunnels and bridges. The dramatic Erasmusbrug bridge, has swooping white cable-stays and dubbed the Swan. On the north side of the water, the city centre is easily strolled.
In 1740 a series of windmills were built to drain a polder about 12km southeast of Rotterdam. Today 19 of the Dutch icons survive at Kinderdijk, a Unesco monument. You can wander the dykes for more than 3km amid the spinning sails and visit inside two of the windmills. Admission also includes a film screened at the former pumping station. Canal boats run trips along the dykes. It’s a good bicycle ride of 16 km from Rotterdam so get a map from the tourist office. A fantastic day trip is by the Waterbus. The fast ferries leave from Rotterdam every 30 minutes and a connection leaves you at Kinderdijk, 1km from the first mill. Afterwards, continue by ferry to charming Dordrecht and then return to Rotterdam by train.