Do you know your Chabots from your Van Goghs? Your Bruegels from your Van Eycks? Head to Rotterdam’s Museum Quarter for a crash course. Here, clustered around a green urban sprawl, six museums flit from high art to popular culture, old masterpieces to ground-breaking works. Het Nieuwe Instituut celebrates excellence in architecture, with dabblings in fashion and video activism. See fine examples of the German-born, Netherlands-grown Nieuwe Bouwen style at Chabot Museum (dedicated to artist Henk Chabot) and 1930s futurist villa, Sonneveld House. Natuurhistorisch Museum hosts a field guide’s worth of beasts and birds, alongside other natural wonders. Amid all these architectural head-turners, even Paul de Ruiter’s carpark is a sleek monolith.
Peaceful Museumpark has an orchard, a romantic tree-edged area and sites for festivals, open-air theatre, film screenings, and bijou markets. Sculptures spilling out from the park’s galleries form a striking sculpture garden, too. Happenings to muse on include February’s Art Rotterdam and March’s Rotterdam Museum Night for after-dark visits. Come August, classic and modern film screenings are held in the Boijmans Van Beuningen park for the Pleinbioscoop cinema festival. Most museums hold child-friendly events too (Natuurhistorisch Museum’s megafauna skeletons will prove a hit). Save on entry fees with a Museumpark ticket for 40 per cent off at five museums, valid for up to six months.
You can easily spend a day here, wandering around the museums – or anti-museum, in the Kunsthal’s case! Don’t miss NAI Booksellers’ fantastic arts and architecture books.