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Rotterdam's Witte Huis was the continent's first skyscraper, built in 1898. Standing ten stories tall and 43 meters (147 feet) high, this Art Nouveau building may seem modest by contemporary standards, but was unique at the time of its construction - Europe's very first high-rise. The glazed-brick exterior is tastefully embellished with sculptures and mosaics typical of the Art Nouveau aesthetic. Its unprecedented height, inspired by American office buildings, spurred the industrial culture that characterized Rotterdam in the early 20th Century. One of the few original structures to have survived the bombing of Rotterdam on May 14, 1940, the Witte Huis is recognized as a National Heritage Site and is protected by UNESCO.
One of the most comprehensive museums in the Netherlands, The World Museum in Rotterdam has over 2,000 artifacts on display from regions around the world including Oceania, Asia, Africa, America and Islamic countries. Unique to the museum is its spiritual theme as the artifacts narrate the rituals of diverse cultures. Several other exhibitions are on display on a rolling basis. Group and individual tours are available. The historic building also houses a bar, restaurant, lounge, ballroom and theater.
The Euromast, designed by notable modern Dutch architect Hugh Maaskant, was for decades the highest point in The Netherlands. At 606 feet high (9184.6 meters), the Euromast remains an impressive sight as it towers over the city. The observation tower offers a glimpse of space-age architecture to visiting tourists along with a host of fun activities for those who like their sightseeing with a dose of adrenaline-pumping adventure. The Euroscoop, a spinning glass elevator takes visitors to the top, promising a view that stretches as far as the eye can see. The viewing platform at 100 meters above the air affords 360-degree views of Rotterdam along with guided tours for those looking for a more engaging experience. Abseiling and zip-lining from one of the tallest buildings in the city is a unique urban adventure while those opting for a more relaxed trip can dine at the brasserie complete with panoramic sights. Nighttime views are especially mesmerizing as the city glitters beneath.
Kinderdijk is a charming Dutch village in the Alblasserwaard polder that is best known for its cluster of 18th-century windmills, the largest collection of this kind in the Netherlands. These 19 windmills were built between 1738-1740 when it became apparent that steps would have to be taken to manage water levels in the Alblasserwaard polder to keep it from flooding. These windmills were used to pump water out of the polder, working together as a cohesive system that bears testament to the ingenious water management of the Dutch. Few things are as emblematic of the Dutch heritage as the windmill, which is why it is not surprising that the Windmills of Kinderdijk are recognized as a World Heritage Site. Amid the rural landscape of Alblasserwaard, these charming, historic windmills attract numerous visitors each year, drawn to the picturesque sight of their soaring sails against the fields and open sky.
Originally founded in 1842 in order to display Dordrecht-themed art, Dordrechts Museum now houses art unrelated to Dordrechts and contemporary art in addition to Dordrechts-themed pieces. The former site of an orphanage and psychiatric institution, the museum boasts a beautiful garden, with sycamore, beach and chestnut trees. Its exhibitions include paintings, drawings, prints, photos, sculptures and ceramics.
While this small market town is most famous for its cheeses, Gouda's rich history and landmarks also make it a very popular day trip destination from Rotterdam. In fact, the cheese is not even made in Gouda; it is made in the surrounding region and is traded in Gouda's strict markets. Visit these existing cheese markets, held every Thursday. Near the market you'll find City Hall, built in the late 1440s, which is one of the oldest Gothic city halls in the Netherlands. across from City Hall is the Waag, a weigh house built in 1667, that is now a national monument. Don't miss the stained glass on the largest cross-shaped church in the country, Saint John Church. The town is easily reached by train and highway; take a day and relish in the history. And pick up some cheese.
Located in beautiful, historical Gouda, St. Jan's Church (or Great Church as it is sometimes referred to) is the city's principal monument. It is famous worldwide for its 16th Century stained glass windows, the Goudse Glazen (Gouda Glass). The church contains half of this particular stained stained glass in all of Holland. With the completion of its reconstruction in 1593, it was restyled to its current form of a cross basilica making it, at 403 feet (122.8 meters), the longest church in the Netherlands.