One day in Rotterdam - Van Nelle Fabriek & more... (Netherlands)

ULTIMATE TRAVEL GUIDE FOR ONE DAY IN ROTTERDAM

The last time I decided to head to Rotterdam was a disaster. Remember I was robbed in the train? So, it took quite some time for me to gather courage to head in that direction. Its so bad, that now, there was an announcement in the train asking passengers to safeguard the belongings! Anyways, I did make-up my mind again to get to Rotterdam and this time we just opted for a day-trip. It was a bit hectic, and we somehow managed it, but I wouldn't recommend it at all! Rotterdam needs 2 days - period!

Van NelleFabriek Rotterdam

Van NelleFabriek Rotterdam

Ofcourse we took the early train again, so could reach Rotterdam early for our one day itinerary in Rotterdam. Our first thing to do was to head to Kinderdijk. Honestly, its so big that it needs a whole day to itself, esp. if you're with a kid. Ofcourse, on the way, we saw the Erasmusbrug. The waterbus ride towards Kinderdijk also passed through Johan's Ark (Noah's Ark or Ark van Noach)! It was by chance I saw it and was confused about what I was seeing, though I knew for sure, it looks like Noah's ark! I thought it was the Natural History Museum, but no, its called Johan's Ark Dordrecht and its a religious museum about Christianity that talks about Noah's Ark!

We returned by 1:30 PM from Kinderdijk to attend the Van Nelle Fabriek (Factory) Tour at 2:00PM. To begin with, it doesn't feel too fascinating, when you're looking at it as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Netherlands! However when you understand that this was built in 1925-31, in the beginning of industrial revolution, when all other buildings were built of bricks and primarily opaque - this, primarily made of glass & steel and primarily transparent - is an absolute shocker! This paved way for, set an inspiration for all the sky-scraper office buildings that you see today that are just glass & steel!

Van Nelle Fabriek Tour

Van Nelle Fabriek Tour

Van Nelle Fabriek Tour

Van Nelle Fabriek Rotterdam

Van Nelle Fabriek Rotterdam

This was designed by Leendert van der Vlugt along with J.G. Wiebenga, for Van Nelle Company, co-owned by Cees van der Leeuw. Well, the original idea behind the building was to have vertical production line, as well as the storage in the same site. As soon as you enter is building 10 and then buildings 1-9, each built for a different purpose.

Building 10 has a curved ground plan that enabling the person here overlook the whole site from the windows - obviously the owner & supervisor's offices. It was originally a coffee, tea & tobacco manufacturing factory.
The original idea was to build 9 storey on either sides and the bridges were supposed to be horizontal, however as they started to runout of money, they took the impromptu decision to make the bridges slanted, which today is the face of the building! It is so fascinating for its times that the contemporary architect of the time, Le Corbusier (whose buildings are also listed under UNESCO), described Van Nelle Fabriek as 'the most beautiful spectacle of the modern age'! 
Sadly, the concept of vertical production line, was taken over by horizontal soon and within 25 years, the building kinda got defunct. In course of time, the place was renovated to suit the modern safety standards without altering outer facade. Today multiple  offices function here and the place also serves to conduct events.

Some of the things not to miss in there - the double helix structured staircases (to segregate men & women), the humongous neon sign atop, toilets with glass walls (individual cabins have wooden doors though., that is to reduce time spent by workers in toilets!), slots in the pillars to introduce new walls if needed, minimalistic design everywhere - incl clocks, chairs etc!!!

Van Nelle Fabriek Rotterdam

Van Nelle Fabriek UNESCO

Van Nelle Fabriek UNESCO

One day in Rotterdam

One day in Rotterdam

Van Nelle Fabriek can be accessed today only via guided tours. Per week only 90 tickets are available (3 tours on Saturday and Sunday with 15 persons each tour). Though there tours are at 1:00, 2:00 & 3:00PM, only the 2:00PM tour is in English. Yeah! That's exactly why my day got too hectic, as we had to 'finish' Kinderdijk before that within our one day in Rotterdam! 

Van Nelle Fabriek Tickets: €15 - Served by Chabot Museum. Includes entry to Chabot Muesum and shuttle bus between the 2. Have to be booked early via the official Chabot Museum Website
Van Nelle Fabriek Tour Timings: 1:00, 2:00 & 3:00PM
On Google Maps: Van Nelle Fabriek
How to reach Van Nelle Fabriek:  Shuttle bus services are available at 12:30, 1:30 ad 2:30 from Chabot Museum in Mar-Oct. Otherwise buses are available once every 15 mins from Rotterdam Centraal.

After Van Nelle Fabriek, the shuttle bus dropped us back at Chabot Museum. Very close to this is the Sonneveld House which was also designed by the same architect for the residence of Albertus Sonneveld, a director of Van Nelle! Sadly we didn't have much time to see either of these. 

Chabot Museum Tickets: €8 (€12.50 for combi ticket with Sonneveld House)
Chabot Museum Opening Hours: Tue-Sun: 11:00AM to 4:30/5:00PM 
Sonneveld House Tickets: €14 (incl. entrance to Het Nieuwe Instituut). 
Sonneveld House Opening Hours: Tue-Sun: 11:00AM to 5:00PM
On Google Maps:  Chabot MuseumSonneveld House
How to reach Chabot Museum & Sonneveld House: Nearest metro station - Eendrachtsplein

From here, our next stop was ofcourse the very famous Cube Houses. Today the Cube Houses serve as Stay Okay hostels. We considered staying here last time when we planned for the 2 day trip. However being with a kid would mean, booking a private room and it wasn't available on the day we were planning for. This time, we just had a look at the place from outside.

Cube Houses Tickets (from outside): Free, 24 x 7
Cube Houses currently houses the StayOkay Hostels. Prices begin here at €30.35 per night.
On Google Maps: Cube Houses
How to reach Cube Houses in Rotterdam: Located next to Rotterdam Blaak Railway Station served by most IC & Sprinter trains.

One day in Rotterdam - Chabot Museum

Cube Houses Stay Okay Hostel Rotterdam

Cube Houses Stay Okay Hostel Rotterdam

Cube Houses Stay Okay Hostel Rotterdam

HOW TO REACH ROTTERDAM
Rotterdam is just 1hr away from Amsterdam both by car & train, making it one of the perfect day-trips & weekend destination from Amsterdam.
Rotterdam Places of Interest on Google Maps: Erasmusbrug

  • One day itinerary Rotterdam: Kinderdijk Windmills, Cube Houses, Euromast, Erasmusburg & Market hall
  • Two days itinerary Rotterdam: Day 1 as above. Day 2: Van Nelle Fabriek, Oceanium, Chabot Museum, Street-art tour of Rotterdam city 

One amazing thing is the availability of grounds for camping in Rotterdam. There are many grounds in the city, for camping Rotterdam, esp., along the banks of the river Mass. 

Being a major city, all major hotels chains have a branch here incl. Hotel NH Atlanta Rotterdam, Citizen M Rotterdam Hotel, Hotel Ibis Rotterdam City Centre, Holiday Inn Express Rotterdam Central Station etc, Hilton Rotterdam etc. However the best hotel in Rotterdam is definitely StayOkay Hostels (they also have a few private rooms), which is housed inside the Cube Houses!!! Personally I don't have an experience or a review of any of the hotels here as I went here on a day-trip from Brussels.

Other day-trips from Rotterdam in Netherlands: AmsterdamUtrechtEindhovenMuiderslot, The Hague, Baarle-Nassau
Other weekend getaways from Rotterdam within Netherlands: Texel Island, Giethoorn, Maastricht, Middelberg,  Pampus Island

P.S: I was invited to the Van Nelle Fabriek by Chabot Museum to experience the site for review purposes, however the opinions are my own and this post does not to advertise the product/service.

Van Nelle Fabriek Tour UNESCO Netherlands Rotterdam One day Itinerary Rotterdam

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 78 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of Sept 2020. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands