Let’s face it, Europe is overflowing with beauty, both conventional and unique. The sheer diversity of locations, architecture, and history makes Europe the world’s best continent for photography. However, few cities in the entire world can hold a candle to what Rotterdam has to offer in terms of photography. If you like to snap cool shots while traveling in an amazing destination, these photo spots in Rotterdam will light up your wanderlust.
Rotterdam is Europe’s largest port city, and one of the largest in the world, and it’s been a confluence point for culture from all around the globe. It served as an important hub for centuries, and that’s evident in every corner of the city. From its magnificent skyline and the unique little shops, to every nook and cranny you can find.
Although exploration is a key point when it comes to finding the right photo opportunity, in Rotterdam you don’t need to walk much. Just by wandering around you’re gonna find a plethora of photo spots in Rotterdam, from architectural photography to local life snaps and street art shots. Some of Rotterdam’s photo locations are open to the public, others are hidden between buildings or inside shops and cafes adding an extra challenge to find that perfect place, angle, and composition.
Whatever you choose to do, you’re bound to have a photo adventure. The idea is to go out and about exploring the amazing things to do in Rotterdam and freeze unique moments with stunning backgrounds. If you are planning your trip to Rotterdam check out our 10 favorite spots for urban photography, visit them during day and night as the city changes when the sun goes down. Pack your cameras, lenses, phone, tripods and extra batteries, your Rotterdam photo journey starts now.
The coolest photo spots in Rotterdam
1 – Cube Houses, one of the most famous photo spots in Rotterdam
The Netherlands, and Rotterdam by extension, have always had a unique approach towards art. Rotterdam is a very artistic city, and architecture is one of its most important focal points. The first versions of the houses were built in the 1970s by Piet Blom with the idea of maximizing urban space use efficiency. The houses are built atop hexagonal pylons with cubes placed on top on a 45º angle, and their design greatly resembles trees.
Photo Idea: since these houses were built with a perspective shift in mind, taking a photo from unique angles is a must. Either from outside or inside, you can play around with perspective. Add a human element to your photo to show the dimension of the cubes using the lines to create depth in the photo.
2 – Erasmus Bridge, a bridge with hundreds of photo opportunities
Erasmus Bridge is one of Holland’s most important and well-known bridges. It’s a historic landmark even though it’s relatively new, nowadays it’s an iconic part of the city’s skyline. Due to its design, it’s been lovingly referred to as The Swan because of its asymmetrical pylon. The tallest point of the bridge is almost 150 meters high, so it often dwarfs most of the nearby buildings.
Photo Idea: using the bridge as a focal point of a photo is a fan favorite of many photographers. It can also be used as a way to dwarf the surrounding buildings, especially if you place the bridge to one side of your picture. From the top, you can capture the bridge and the busy river Nieuwe Mass. Don’t forget to visit the Erasmus Bridge during night time as well, it’s one of the best photo spots in Rotterdam for long exposure photography.
3 – Delfshaven, a romantic photo spot in Rotterdam
Rotterdam has had a long and turbulent history. It was one of the cities that endured a lot of bombing during World War II, and because of that, a large portion of the city had to be rebuilt after the war. Thankfully though, Delfshaven is one of the few neighborhoods that was mostly not hit by the bombs. Because of this, the old-world charm still resides in the city. You will be able to admire houses facing the canals, discover old breweries, incredible churches, and even a replica of an 18th-century warship.
Photo Idea: merely walking through the neighborhood’s numerous alleys provides incredible photo opportunities. With friendly locals and stunning architecture, what more could you ask for? And don’t forget the reflections, the canals can play a big role in your photos over there.
4 – Central Station, capture Rotterdam’s busy life
This wonderful and unique transport station is one of the modern pillars of Rotterdam. It’s the central hub from which over a hundred thousand people enter or leave Rotterdam on a daily basis. That’s where you can catch every bus, tram, and train in the city. The Central Station has received a total makeover in recent years, and the new design is spectacular. Its angled rooftop now points towards the center of the city, and the new facade and outdoor area are amazing. The clock, a few sculptures, and the lettering that spells its name remain intact though, adding up to its impeccable charm.
Photo Idea: this is the perfect place to capture the city’s buzz. There’s a sense of scale around the building so it’s always great to capture the moment where a new visitor meets with Rotterdam for the first time. The roof is impressive, so bring your wide angle lenses to snap it. When the sun is out, you can play with flares and reflections. Another cool idea is to stay at the Rotterdam Marriott Hotel and have a bird’s eye view of the station. If you are serious about your photography book a room facing the station and you will be in one of the coolest photo locations in Rotterdam, perfect for sunrise and sunset timelapse.
5 – Market Hall, Rotterdam photo spot that combines architecture, food, and art
Rotterdam is definitely a grand and majestic city. It has a unique charm and it often feels as if it’s grander than most cities in the world due to its impressive buildings. The Market Hall is no exception, an enormous building that combines food stalls, markets, restaurants, and apartments. It’s an innovative building on its shape, purpose and impressive ceiling that is also a work of art.
Photo Idea: the Market Hall is one of the most diverse photo locations in Rotterdam. You can snap urban shots outside showcasing the architecture and the busy life at Blaak Square. Inside, the colors of the ceiling is the highlight, but don’t forget the food stalls, a true heaven for those who like yummy food photography.
6 – Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk, a medieval photo location in Rotterdam
Also known as the Church of St. Lawrence, it’s one of the most iconic landmarks of the city. It’s a medieval Gothic church from the late 15th century and it is also the only remaining Gothic building in the city. Following the bombings in Rotterdam during WWII, the surviving church and its immediate reconstruction signaled that the people and their city were entering a new and hopeful era. The church stands as a bold testament of the city’s heritage, especially when put in contrast with the modern architecture around it.
Photo Idea: as a symbol of renewal try capturing how the church stands out amidst the modernity of its surroundings. Once it regularly has mass celebrations, the crowd of people might serve as a great focus on how Rotterdam’s spirit never wanes. If you are looking for unique photo spots in Rotterdam, book a tour to St. Lawrence Tower and get to see the city from a different and stunning perspective. From the top you can see the iconic Market Hall, the Cube Houses, and many more impressive buildings to photograph.
7 – Witte Huis, Art Nouveau and great composition in a single photo spot
Known as The White House of Rotterdam, this iconic building dates from 1898 when it was the tallest building in Rotterdam [43 meters tall] and the first skyscraper in Europe. It’s one of the very few central buildings that survived the bombings during WWII, and it’s a national landmark nowadays. Its beautiful facade is something that should definitely be on your pictures, as well as its Art Nouveau mosaics and sculptures. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a perfect spot to enjoy an afternoon in Rotterdam.
Photo Idea: if you intend on capturing Rotterdam’s artistic heritage, there is no finer point in the city. From one side you can frame the Witte Huis with the surrounding canals, boats and Willemsbrug bridge. On the other side, you can work on different angles and snap the contrasting architecture of the White House and the Cube Houses.
8 – Willemsbrug, a cool photo spot in Rotterdam that is often neglected
Willemsbrug is one of the city’s most historic bridges. Today’s version is actually the second one, which was built in 1981. The original Willemsbrug was a late 19th-century bridge which was a key defensive point during WWII. Because the defensive forces were able to repel the Germans on this bridge, the Germans decided on bombing the bridge instead. The new Willemsbrug has a very unique design that works majestically for photos. The best part is that most of the tourist and photographers focus on Erasmus bridge leaving Willemsbrug bridge aside, which can be perfect for your photo.
Photo Idea: this photo spot in Rotterdam will dare your imagination and photography skills. It’s hard to capture the real size of the bridge so you might need to cross it a couple of times to find the perfect location. Add a human element or cars to your picture to show the grandiosity of Willemsbrug bridge. Think about the composition and colors, the red from the bridge stands out well, even on a cloudy day.
9 – Luchtsingel, another amazing and symmetric photo spot in Rotterdam
In 2015 the Luchtsingel was officially unveiled, a unique pedestrian bridge which connects the city center and the north part of Rotterdam. But it’s far from being only a pedestrian bridge, this yellow wooden construction becomes one of the symbols of Rotterdam spirit, mixing art, urban architecture and local entrepreneurship. Learn about Luchtsingel project here and get ready to snap some cool shots at this yellow and symmetric photo spot in Rotterdam.
Photo Idea: once the bridge connects large portions of Rotterdam, you can use that information to craft a photo that showcases connectivity. Change your angle to play with the symmetric lines of this place. Think about contrast, movement, and composition. This is one of the coolest photo locations in Rotterdam, even a selfie works well there.
10 – Rotterdam’s Modern Architecture will add WOW factor to your shots
Rotterdam is one of the world’s leading architectural cities. It’s one of the main reasons why it hosts the International Architecture Biennale. Everywhere you look you’re treated to some of the world’s most fascinating buildings, it’s hard to tell which one of them is more unique. Buildings like Maastoren, De Rotterdam, Luxor Theatre, Millenium Tower, Euromast and De Brug are some great examples of modern architecture that can beautifully make the perfect background for your photos.
We can’t forget to mention the old buildings that received a remake a few years ago, becoming some of the coolest spots for photography in Rotterdam. Add the splendid Van Nelle Factory, Timmerhuis, Museumpark, and the Hofplein railway viaduct to your photo itinerary, and that’s just to mention a few.
Photo Idea: our advice is to look up, down and to all sides. Change your angles and play with different lenses. From the ground or from the top you can take amazing shots of Rotterdam’s iconic buildings. The modern architecture is an invitation to let your imagination flow, working with reflection, lights or using the architecture as a cool background for portraits. In Rotterdam, you are free to create your own photos and memories.
The beauty of Rotterdam is basically unmatched. There are photo opportunities at every turn, and each photo can easily signify something great and amazing. Rotterdam is truly Europe’s coolest city for photography, we have been there twice and can’t wait to return. There are incredible places for photography in Rotterdam that we haven’t visited yet, so to plan our next trip and to inspire you to travel there, we’ve compiled some of the best photo spots in Rotterdam using Trover. Check them out!
Traveling to The Netherlands soon? Check out our guide to 3 days in Amsterdam and keep an eye on our blog because there are more posts about Rotterdam coming up soon!
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Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with Trover. ThanksRotterdam Partners for helping us make this trip happen.