Rotterdam Maritime Museum and Harbor Cruise


Rotterdam is the busiest port in the Netherlands
and the largest harbor in all of Europe. Not only is it a busy commercial area, but
the waterfront is one of the most scenic and popular visitor attractions in the city. They’ve created pedestrian walkways and bridges
to help you get around in this inner harbor area, and there are so many things to see,
there so many boats going by, you’ve got high-rise apartments for the locals, and there is the
Maritime Museum that we’re heading for now. Later in the segment we will also take you
on a harbor cruise and show you the giant shipping port of Rotterdam. That’s something you really want to do for
any complete visit to this great city. The harbor is the reason why Rotterdam was
founded here 700 years ago. You’ll get a glimpse at the workaday world
of harbor life, such as the many dry docks where ships are repaired and we will see the
main activity of this harbor, which is loading and unloading the containers. Maybe the best part of the ride is that you’ll
get some vistas of the amazing modern structures that have gone up around the harbor. It’s the biggest collection of new skyscrapers
in the country, some with a radical design. We will show you highlights of the 75-minute
boat ride later in the program. The map overview gives you an idea of how
extensive the harbor is, stretching out 40 kilometers within the oval outline covering
over 100 square kilometers, or 40 square miles, and the downtown where we shall get the program
started as we walk over to the Maritime Museum. The Museum collection contains nearly a million
objects from six centuries of maritime history and they say that it’s geared for three generations. It’s for children, parents and grandparents,
it’s with a lot of interactive and hands-on participatory exhibits. Life in the old Atlantic cruise ships is re-created
in one section with models of some of the famous early ships on display. You even get to walk inside some of the exhibits
to give you that feeling of being there. You’ll find quite a bit of the original furnishings
of those stately old ocean liners and many maps, whether it’s on the walls or the floors. Massive container ships are the main vessels
of the modern harbor, and with this model we can look inside and see the containers
are stacked down below deck more than above. There are many highly-accurate models on display,
including the old sailing ships from the Dutch Golden Age back in the 17th century when little
Holland became one of the richest and most powerful nations in the world because of their
excellent ships, military power, and business skills, becoming the great traders bringing
together Asia, and Europe, and the Americas with their colonies in New Amsterdam (New
York), and Brazil and the Guianas. In Asia they had ports in Indonesia, Japan,
Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, and elsewhere, also in Africa, thanks to these
ships and their well-trained sailors. It’s quite remarkable the Dutch continue this
tradition through the modern day with the ongoing development of the Rotterdam harbor. Living on board a houseboat is very popular
in the Netherlands and with this case we can look inside, get a rare peek into the private
life of these water dwellers. Sometimes a barge was converted to comfortable
dwelling, in other case like this it was a coastal vessel, self-propelled delivering
goods on the canals and rivers. A video display brings you right inside, and
then later you can physically visit one of the houseboats out in the harbor, as we will
show you soon. The country’s many canals provide an ideal
setting for these floating homes, some of which are more than 100 years old with original
features, and others are quite modern. In Amsterdam, the biggest city, there are
2500 houseboats. Some of these floating homes are available
as vacation rentals, providing an authentic taste of life on the water. The modern functional building was opened
in 1986, but the museum is nearly 150 years old. A major component is the Maritime Museum Harbor
located on the water right next to the building, conveniently accessed by a series of walkways
that reach into the harbor with many old ships tied up at the dock, some of which you can
not only step on board, but you can go inside, as we will show you in a couple of minutes. And this harbor section of the museum is free,
no ticket required, open to the public. You do need a ticket to see the inside of
the museum which you can purchase in the lobby, or better yet, if you had purchased the Museum
Card it will get you into nearly all the museums in the country for the one-time fee of currently
€60, and it’s good for a whole month, well worth it if you’re spending at least a week
in the country. It’s a busy dock area with other activities
happening such as the water taxi pulling right up. You can get on, take a little boat ride in
the harbor with the water taxi. You can also take a longer harbor cruise,
some of which are conducted by the museum itself using old historic ships, and others
by their associates, such as the Spido boat tour in the harbor that we will be showing
you towards the end of the segment. And they have a variety of other tours that
you can hook into through the museum information office with a combined ticket, such as to
an indoor miniature world, or the tall observation tower, or lunch on board a cruise ship in
the harbor. These old boats are in very good condition
thanks to the ongoing maintenance work by the staff of the museum, who you might see
out doing some woodwork. They keep all of these historic vessels in
working order. It’s quite safe to walk around here, and some
people even jump in the water, especially if you’re a local kid just out having some
fun. That gives you some idea of how clean the
water is here, quite remarkable for a harbor, which they’ve turned into the old swimming
hole. As you see with the apartment buildings all
around, this is a residential community for live, work and play. Next we had a chance to walk inside one of
these old working vessels and have a chat with the caretaker who explained about life
on board the ship. “It’s basically a vessel that was sort of
a coastal vessel which catered from, say for instance Rotterdam to Brussels with general
cargo. There is a family living on board this vessel
with the parents and the six children, (Laughs) six. “And how many rooms, living rooms do they
have here?” “They’ve got one living room, uhm, downstairs,
and there’s two-bedrooms basically, one for the parents, which is quite large for a vessel,
and downstairs there is an area for the children. “Well this is the living room where the family
lived. This was actually who quite luxurious for the time, because there’s a lot of brass
and copper in the vessel which is unique in that respect. It was built in 1905 and in 1920 was equipped
with an engine. “Well basically from inland waterways.” “Canals?” “Canals, yes.” “Primarily canals.” “Canals.” “So it would go on the Rhine, yeah, and
the rivers.” “The rivers yeah, basically towards Brussels.” “Towards Brussels, back and forth, Rotterdam,
Brussels.” “Yeah.” “Marine Highway.” (Laughs) “Yeah”
Usually at least one of the ships is open like this to the public on any given day,
and all of the ships are available to look at from the dock. When done with the Maritime Museum an ideal
follow-up is to take a boat ride in the great harbor of Rotterdam, which is easy to reach
on a scenic stroll along the harbor shore for about 800 meters that’ll bring you to
the boat company. The route brings you under the spectacular
Erasmus Bridge opened in 1996. The harbor tour company is called Spido with
a fleet of modern comfortable touring ships they operate year-round, and during the season
from March through September they have departures every 45 minutes. You don’t need reservations, just show up
and buy your ticket right next to the Erasmus Bridge. The first building seen is the largest structure
in the country, called De Rotterdam. It was designed by Rem Koolhaas, one of the
world’s greatest architects, a local man with offices based right here. It’s got 240 apartments, a hotel with 285
rooms and just as many offices, along with cafés, and restaurants and a fitness facility. Our boat route makes a little round-trip going
back and forth under that Erasmus Bridge so you get several views to take in this largest
building in the country. This ship is quite comfortable with seating
on the upper deck. That’s the best place to see everything of
course, even though it was kind of windy and cool today. Or you can go downstairs into their cafeteria
area and relax of the table with some food and drinks. The De Maas glass tower is government headquarters
for the Department of Public Works and Water Management. We’ll see lots of other boats buzzing by on
your journey, such as the water taxi speeding along and this typical river cargo ship with
living accommodations on board, similar to what we’ve just seen. Another Spido ship passing behind us as we
get a look at the Euromast observation tower. It’s 185 meters high, the tallest observation
tower in the country. Greenpeace is still active, protecting the
oceans from overfishing and pollution while working to promote clean energy. Floating Chinese restaurant called Seafood
Market featuring all-you-can-eat. The boat has a couple of open-air decks so
you’re free to walk around and look at the view on both sides. It’s wonderful the city is taking advantage
of the long coastline they have with this harbor, to build some condominiums with the
view of the water. They’re designed with a nice variety of
size, some of them very high, others low-rise and a lot of midrise. Unfortunately, most of the new housing is
quite expensive, especially with such a great location. We’re coming up on a most unusual-shaped building
with a strange top that sticks out. This is the Shipping and Transport College,
65 meters high, and that cantilever portion is a conference room. We have reached the best angle, the best location
for seeing all of the major skyscraper buildings of the city clustered together. We will see them again on a return after we
pass one of the great landmarks of the harbor. The SS Rotterdam began service in 1958 as
a transatlantic passenger ship. This was slightly before the modern era of
cruise ships, of mega cruise ships. In its day this was one of the most glamorous
and deluxe ships afloat. It was in service for 40 years and now it’s
permanently docked in the harbor functioning as a hotel, there is restaurants on board
and you can pay for a tour to go and walk through the different state rooms and the
engine room and up on the decks and the bridge. The ship’s main route was Rotterdam to New
York, and now nearby is the former headquarters of the shipping line, the Holland America
line, nestled amongst the new skyscrapers, and the old building is now the deluxe Hotel’s
New York with a lovely café out front. The tall building behind it with the M on
top was briefly the highest building in the country when it opened in 2005 with 152 meters. These skyscrapers are all clustered on a small
peninsula called Wilhelminapier. This modern naval ship is quite a contrast
with the old-fashioned three-masted schooner, the Opsterschelde. It’s one hundred years old. Thoroughly renovated in 1988, it sailed around
the world two times since then. it offers occasional day trips in the Rotterdam
harbor and much longer voyages to the North Sea and elsewhere. Now we have arrived at the working harbor. We’ve left those fancy skyscrapers and residential
areas behind, cruising now through the port where they take care of business. This was the world’s biggest port from 1962
until 2004 but now the biggest ports are in Asia, especially Singapore and Shanghai. Rotterdam is still the world’s sixth largest
port in terms of annual cargo tonnage and the biggest in Europe. This is also major shipyard where all sorts
of repairs are done using these dry docks including some medium ships as well as some
larger ships, lifted from the water so the repair people can gain full access. Every year 30,000 seagoing vessels come here,
along with 110,000 inland vessels arriving by canal or river. They are serviced by 180,000 people who work
in and around the port. With the 12 million containers that are handled
here every year you could circle the world twice. One big ship can carry 20,000 containers,
and there is 470 million tons of goods trend shipped here annually. The amount of steel passing through the harbor
each day is enough to make about 11,000 cars. Every day 200 trucks are loaded up with fresh
fruit and vegetables which are driven to all corners of Europe. This information is provided by the Port of
Rotterdam Authority, which is responsible for ensuring the safe, smooth and secure operation
of the port. It is jointly owned by the city and the country. They guide the shipping traffic by a high-tech
radar system that can be compared to air traffic control at an airport. During the 75-minute cruise you’ll most likely
get a chance to see some container action being loaded or offloaded from a ship. Most of this work is done by robots, autonomous
cranes acting with minimal human supervision. It’s the most efficient way they can deal
with such huge volume. In addition to the shipping, a variety of
other economic activities take place, such as refining oil, manufacturing plastics, stripping
the containers, recombining cargo loads, packaging goods for wholesale distribution, and so a
wide variety of types of jobs are at work here. All of them highly skilled. That completes our look at the harbor. On the way back to the dock we pass more residential
buildings. There is a much longer 2 1/2 hour tour offered
by Spido during the months of July and August, but I think you’ll find the 75-minute trip
is just about right. And it is quite relaxing to be able to sit
down, and then walk around, move about the ship and sit down somewhere else. You’re not going to get bored in that brief
time. And there’s always the snack bar. Then you’ll be rested up for continuing your
walking tours in the city when you get back to the dock. We have more movies about Rotterdam and many
other videos about the Netherlands. Look for them in our collection

14 thoughts on “Rotterdam Maritime Museum and Harbor Cruise

  1. Another Great video, love to watch your videos denniscallan. Truly appreciate, much love and respect from Punjab, Pakistan. 🌍🌹

  2. Great travel vlog! So interesting to see cities through another's perspective. I work in Content Partnerships at BBTV and would love to chat about a potential partnership with your channel. Do you have a business email I could reach out to with some more info? Thanks!

  3. My husband's German ancestors left Europe on a boat from Rotterdam, so we want to visit this city. As a design professor, my husband is looking forward to seeing the modern architecture of a thriving city. With the Markthall, Maritime Museum, boat trip to Kinderdyke, short trips to The Hague and Delft, it seems like a great base for several days. We have been inspired by your video of the harbor and museum. The text of your presentation is dense with historical and contextual information, which teaches us and helps guide our travel choices. Your efforts and generosity are appreciated! Alisa and Richard Branham from Lawrence, Kansas.

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