Even though running just along the busiest stretch between Blaak and Beurs, Wijnhaven is a quiet area not everyone knows about. IBA student Anastasia Roor, 21, from equally hectic German Hannover enjoyed an afternoon walk with me in this urban oasis.

Text and photography Kate Sytnik


Wijnhaven: an island of calm

Originally Wijhnaven was a busy hub, dating back to the 17th century when it was constructed as a part of a water city plan. After the bombing on May 9th 1940, the harbor was devastated. The Witte Huis was the only building to survive.

These days, the tourists tend to cluster in the adjacent Oude Haven, while locals are usually too busy shopping at Coolsingel. Thanks to this relative negligence, Wijnhaven is a perfect place to take a restorative break from the urban intensity.

Anastasia’s review

“I love Rotterdam in general. Even though it is a big city, it does not feel overwhelming. You can easily get right about anywhere without having to travel for half an hour. I also like that you can see that there is a thought put into urban planning. It is not like ‘we’ve put a building here just because we had some empty space’. Buildings are always made to belong in the city.

“I like this harbour for similar reasons. It is 100 meters from the bustling Blaak and still feels like a village. A Dutch one for sure, though. It is the way here: take something traditional and make it modern. In Germany, we have Hamburg with almost the same story of being destroyed, but it went in a completely opposite direction. There the port was restored just as it was before. German’s are more conservative.”

Would you take first time Rotterdammerts here or is it as commonplace as it gets?

“Next time my friends come I will definitely take them here. It is not the most obvious sight in Rotterdam, but I think it is worth visiting.”

Visitor’s tip

If you’ve got the guts and have no water sickness, try out staying at the floating H2O Hotel for a night and enjoy your breakfast on inflatable boat.

Last month, we showed the Luchtsingel to Latvian EUC student Signe. Do you want to participate and discover a Rotterdam Riddle with us, send an e-mail to [email protected].