Rotterdam Harbor Delights

A visit to the Netherlands Photo Museum, Hotel New York & The Maritime Museum. 

Rotterdam continues to delight with digestible museums, historical landmarks and fun food options. Every time we venture into Rotterdam I seem to find a new side of the city. A “quick visit” to the Netherlands Photo Museum turned into a full day family adventure. 

We started by parking just under the Erasmus Bridge. The Erasmus bridge parking lot is a convenient paid public parking lot for all sorts of Rotterdam adventures. It is easy to get into without winding your way through the city center.

The Erasmus Bridge is a sight in and of itself. The locals lovingly call it the swan. The one pillar holds 40 steel cables that suspend the roadway across the river. We started our day by walking across the bridge enjoying the views of Rotterdam on our way.

The Big Little, his bestie, my bestie and I were all headed to the Netherlands Photo Museum to view the Martin Schoeller Big Heads exhibit. Martin Schoeller is known for his extreme close up portraits. His exhibition in Rotterdam covers up-close portraits of famous people, identical twins, female body builders and transvestites. Also on display are some humorous photos depicting famous people. It was fascinating for adults and a great way to introduce the Bigs to the power of portrait photography.

Here are a few of our favorites. (Photos picked out for the post by the Big Little.) 

We also decided to check out some of the permanent collection. The museum is small with three galleries, so easily managed with the Big Littles. Upstairs, is a rotating exhibition where they invite artists to use the museum’s extensive collection and act as a guest curator. Downstairs was an exhibition on people and architecture. 

These two cuties kept sitting down and looking at art together. They looked like they were on a date. It was sweet and completely adorable. (No. The Big Little doesn’t wear glasses, he was just wearing some costume ones out, along with a book bag as part of his “Professor look.”)

The Netherlands Photo Museum is part of the Dutch Museumkaart program

Just around the corner is the famed Hotel New York, in the former head office of the Holland America Line. There is a small playground built into the harbor in front of the hotel perfect for burning off a bit of energy.

We headed inside to enjoy some fish and chips from the restaurant. The Hotel New York has maintained the original architecture and interior. It’s worth popping in just to check out. The kids were given coloring sheets while we waited for food and there is plenty to look at.

After lunch we caught a Rotterdam Water Taxi to the Maritime Museum.  The water taxi is a wild ride. It’s certainly the fastest way to get where you are going. The kids squealed with glee as we high tailed it back under the Erasmus Bridge.

I’ve written about my love of the Rotterdam Maritime Museum before. This place is sure to please. While I was at the photo museum, Jeff took the Middle and Little Little, along with a friend to the play area on top of the museum. 

They also piloted the new kid sized boats out in front of the museum. 

Then they opted to eat lunch inside one of the outdoor displays.

Everyone wanted to stay a bit longer in Rotterdam, but it was time to go home. There were cries for picking up a treat at the market hall or visiting another museum, but the better part of a day had already slipped away and nap time was beckoning. Rotterdam is fun that way. There is so much to do and discover.


Elizabeth is a Type A, Attorney turned Stay-at-Home Mom, who moved her family across the Atlantic for an adventure. She can often be found out and about finding fun things for her littles to do. Elizabeth loves to read, craft and chat with friends. She will try just about anything and loves to share her experiences.

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