Stroll through the streets of Rotterdam, in Holland, and you might just witness the full spectrum of 20th century architecture in one afternoon. That’s how varied the landscape is here – and it makes for an exciting, intriguing place to explore on foot.

The city, the second largest in Holland, is famous for more than just its bricks and mortar though – water has historically played a big part. Indeed, positioned out on the coast, it boasts the largest port anywhere in Europe. You can’t leave without a trip to the zoo either – Rotterdam Zoo is one of Holland’s biggest tourist attractions.

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Inspirational architecture

One of the more popular architectural attractions in Rotterdam is The Cube Houses, a residential structure designed by the Dutch architect Piet Blom in the 1970s, which resembles a string of giant yellow cubes tilted on their corners. Although they may look more like a space-age art installation than real housing, the cubes are carefully designed to optimise living space. Most of the cubes are private residences, but one has been converted into the Show Cube Museum, where you can explore the interior and imagine what it would be like to live in one.

If you’re feeling inspired by architecture, make sure to put a visit to the Huis Sonneveld on your list of things to do in Rotterdam. This restored 1930s villa is a perfect example of Dutch functionalist design, and its white geometric exterior and modern, minimalist rooms are still perfectly maintained. This and the Witte Huis, an art nouveau building from the late 19th century, are worthwhile things to see in Rotterdam as they’re among the city’s prime examples of pre-WWII architecture. On the Schie river you’ll also find Van Nelle Fabriek, an industrial building built in 1931 nicknamed ‘The Glass Castle’ and described as ‘a poem in glass and steel’. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, Van Nelle Fabriek is closed to the public but set tours will take you through the structure.

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