Insider tips

Hanna shares her favourite places in Rotterdam Centre

De Karel Doorman Hanna Owusu 4
Hanna Owusu
Written by Hanna Owusu

Rotterdam's architecture is breathtakingly beautiful, but people don't always want to look at the buildings from the outside (especially since the weather can be very bad).

That's why I'm sharing three of my favorite places in the Rotterdam Centre where you can admire the architectural beauty from the inside.

Central Plaza: the alternative route to and from Rotterdam Centre

The Central Plaza is located directly opposite the main station, only a 2-minute walk away. On the way to the main station or into the city centre, the Central Plaza is a nice alternative to the busy street - especially in stormy weather. Apart from a few shops and restaurants, the interior design is what really makes it special.

In 2011-2013, the building was completely renovated and refurbished. Among other things, lanterns were installed on the high ceilings to fill the room with a warm, friendly atmosphere. For many adults, this might seem boring, but my little 5-year-old sister could spend 30 minutes counting lanterns.

On special holidays or festivities, even the colours of the lanterns change. So it's worth checking in from time to time!

Central Plaza Hanna Owusu 3
Central Plaza Hanna Owusu 4

De Karel Doorman: building on the past

The building "De Karel Doorman" is particularly striking because of its glass structure, but it actually consists of two different buildings: the original base from 1948 and the new "H"-structure that was added to the building in 2012.

On the 14th floor there is a covered roof terrace right between the two towers (on the footbridge of the "H"). From here you have a wonderful, alternative viewpoint to enjoy the skyline of Rotterdam or a breathtaking sunset. But you have to know someone in the building to let you in – so make some friends because it’s certainly worth a visit.

If you want to take stunning pictures from higher up and don’t know anyone who lets you into the building, you can go to the car park next door. Even though the view from here doesn't go that far, you still get a good view of the De Karel Doorman, Calypso and many more iconic buildings on the top level.

De Karel Doorman Hanna Owusu 5
De Karel Doorman Hanna Owusu 4

Forum Rotterdam: a national monument

Directly on the Coolsingel you will find the multicomplex Forum Rotterdam with the largest bookstore in Rotterdam (at times even in the Netherlands!), it goes by the name Donner. In 2014, Donner moved into the former bank building of the Rotterdamsche Bank. On several levels, you'll find books on all kinds of topics and you can pass the time in the reading corners. If you can’t make up your mind which book to buy, you can also have a coffee break in their cafe.

A charming place with everything a book lover could wish for: coffee or tea, a cosy reading chair and books. And not only in Dutch, but there are also plenty of books in other languages, especially English. But books can be more than just written text – I myself go there for the architecture and art books, which have mostly pictures. So it's also a wonderful stopover in Rotterdam for tourists who are still looking for some iconic architecture/art books to bring home from their holiday!

It’s no surprise that in 2010, Forum Rotterdam was declared a national monument.

Forum Rotterdam Hanna Owusu 3
Forum Rotterdam Hanna Owusu 2
Hanna Owusu
Written by Hanna Owusu