Last Month, I went ahead to Rotterdam to explore the city ahead of the contest itself in May. On this article, I will tell you all my experience and what I think of Rotterdam as the host city.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily state or reflect those of the site and its management.
The main purpose of my trip to Rotterdam, was to scout the city itself and I wanted to explore the city before Eurovision hits Rotterdam. I’ve done this for the past two contests, where I visited Lisbon and Tel Aviv ahead of the contest.
Getting to and around Rotterdam
As The Netherlands is in Mainland Europe, you are able to either fly or take the train to Rotterdam. In fact, the government even passed a resolution to potentially run international trains for Eurovision 2020. For this article, I will mainly focus on flying and then focus on how to make your onward journey to Rotterdam.
Flying to The Netherlands
My journey started from London Stansted Airport. At the time of writing, you are able to fly into the following airports, and you are then able to make onward connections to Rotterdam.
- Amsterdam Schiphol Airport – The main gateway in and out of The Netherlands. The airport caters to most international flights, especially long haul flights to outside Europe.
- Rotterdam ‘The Hague’ Airport – The 2020 Eurovision Host City does have an airport. It is a small airport, and serves 40 destinations within Europe.
- Eindhoven Airport – Being the second largest airport in The Netherlands (in terms of passenger numbers), Eindhoven Airport mainly caters for Low-Cost Carriers, such as Transavia, Wizzair, Ryanair.
For my journey I chose to fly to Eindhoven Airport, as my return flight during my visit was only £30. (Yes, I flew Ryanair).
From the Airport to Rotterdam
There are numerous ways to get from the Airport to Rotterdam. Of course, you are able to book the taxi or take a bus. However, you can easily take public transit from the airport as follows:
- Amsterdam Schipol Airport – You are able to take the train directly from Schipol Airport to Rotterdam Centraal, and usually takes about 35 minutes.
- Rotterdam The Hague Airport – You are able to take Bus Line 33 to Meijersplein and transfer to Line E of the Rotterdam Metro. Undertaking this journey will take around 30 mins.
- Eindhoven Airport – Buses are available from Eindhoven Airport to Eindhoven Centraal, from which you are able to transfer to a train to Rotterdam. This journey took me about 1hr 30mins to 1hr 45 mins.
When I landed in Eindhoven, I met up with my friend Krin (who was with me in the queue for Eurovision in Concert). I ended up buying an Ov-Chipkaart Card (which is The Netherlands’s version of London’s Oyster Card), which I was able to use all over The Netherlands.
As I am not a resident in The Netherlands, I am only able to purchase an anonymous Ov-Chipkaart. When you end up buying an Ov-Chipkaart card, you need to be aware of the following:
- You are unable to register this card, so treat it like cash. If you lose it, the only way to replace it is to purchase a new card.
- When you use your card, there is a requirement that you have a specific amount loaded onto the card. You are able to find out more about this by clicking here.
- Always remember to touch in and out, to ensure the appropriate fare is deducted from your Ov-Chipkaart Card.
Once you have arrived in Rotterdam, you just need to make sure you have sufficient credit in your Ov-Chipkaart card. You then just touch in and out whenever you board and disembark the tram/metro/bus in Rotterdam.
What’s to see in Rotterdam?
The good thing about being in The Netherlands, is the fact that they have an extensive railway network. But Rotterdam itself is a unique city, and I’m sure that you will not run out of things to do. Other than visiting Maasilo and Rotterdam Ahoy, the main highlights of my trip include:
- The Cube Houses – One of the main highlights of Rotterdam is this structural piece in Rotterdam. I liked it so much, that I actually stayed in the ‘StayOkay Rotterdam‘ Hostel for my trip.
- De Markthall – I’m a bit of a foodie, and like to eat so much. For the duration of my trip, this is actually where I ate Lunch and Dinner with my friends. The horse-shoe structure contains around 100 fresh food stands, nearly 15 food shops and various restaurants.
- Erasmus Bridge – Probably the most iconic structures, and was even featured in the ‘City Announcement‘ video.
I could go on and on about what you are able to visit and do whilst you are in Rotterdam, but if you are interested in finding out more, you are able to head over to the ‘Rotterdam Tourist Information‘ website to find out more.
I was in Rotterdam for about 36 Hours, and I can honestly say that despite my short time, I am looking forward to returning and exploring further. I cannot wait to be back in Rotterdam and see how the city will be transformed for Eurovision.
Thank you for reading my experience of Rotterdam, and we cannot wait to bring you our live coverage of the contest live from Rotterdam Ahoy!