Holland: 8 Cities in 3 ½ Days (Part III)

Day 3 – 5.8.17


If Amsterdam is representative of Dutch history through its design and spaces, Rotterdam is representative of Dutch progression.  The city of Rotterdam is the second most populous city in Holland and is known for its modern and bold architecture.  In WWII, Rotterdam was bombed by the German and as a result does not retain its gothic architecture.  Instead, Rotterdam has public design and architecture which embody modern abstraction and philosophy.  Examples of this include the Erasmusburg, a 2,600 foot cable bridge and the Kubuswoningen or cube houses, which have a radical design in order to maximize space.

Rotterdam is considered to be the Gateway to Europe, a distinction held due its high volume ports.  As a port town and home to a respected university, Rotterdam has one of the most diverse populations in Holland.  This is reflective of the city’s identity as a progressive hub where creativity and innovation thrive.  Outside of the city’s work and art centric identity, there are several business districts that can be explored such as the cool district and a sprawling nightlife centered around music and clubs.

  • Erasmus Bridge
  • Downtown – Cool District
  • To Do Next Time – Cube House
  • City Hall
  • Niew Crooswijk Cemetary
  • To Do Next Time – Watch Rotterdam FC game


South of Amsterdam is a small town called Gouda which is known for its cheese and quaint community.  With its flowing canals, ample tree coverage, quiet cobblestone paths, and open town square, Gouda is nothing short of picturesque.  One almost feels as if there is a perpetual light breeze that carries with it, a tasteful amount of flower petals.  In Gouda, one can visit the library which offers a relaxed environment to enjoy a cup of coffee as well as appreciate its public infrastructure.  Due to its small size, one can walk throughout the town in a matter of hours and enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants in the town square, a gathering spot for residents.

  • Library
  • Town Square – Center of town, many restaurants in area
  • Walked around neighborhood

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Day 4 – 5.9.17


Haarlem is a city in northern Holland which name sake is the predecessor to Harlem in Manhattan.  The city has a significant history that traces back to medieval times when Harlem was one of the main cities that profited from the Dutch Golden Age due to the placement of its ports.  It has a reputation as a city that endures as it has survived through a Spanish siege, halving of the population from the Black Plague, various foreign rules, numerous fires which almost burned the city to the ground, and German siege in WWII.

Medieval cobblestone paths and architecture can be experienced here in addition to a significant flower growing district.  Outside the town, one can see vast tulip fields provided they are in season.  Historically, one of Haarlem has a reputation for its significant beer brewing culture which is evident by the numerous pubs that make up Haarlem’s night life.  Many of these can be found in the downtown area which also is home to several boutique shops that harken back to Haarlem’s history as an industry leader in cotton and textiles.

  • Town Square
  • Visited notable buildings

Author: Kent Huynh

Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.

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