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Take a tour through Rotterdam harbor

Visitors going to one of the many ships on World Harbor Day
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Rotterdam’s waterfront and harbor area is more than simply a passage or final destination for container and cruise ships, carrying foreign loads and hailing from exotic destinations. It is one of the five largest harbors in the world and that means it is a massive enterprise with some spectacular views and scenery: 430 million tons of goods are transferred in the harbor every year and the total harbor area stretches over 10,000 hectares. The life line of the harbor is the Maas River, stretching into the European hinterland. Sometimes dubbed “Manhattan on the Maas”, it should come as no surprise that Rotterdam has a ton of events that take place in, on or beside the water.


One of these annual events that draw in visitors from all over in the world, is the World Harbor Days (Wereldhavendagen). Boats and ships from all corners of the globe set sail to the Maas area adjacent to the city center. Visitors can enjoy all kinds of demonstrations and spectacles from companies and institutions that populate the harbor on an average day, such as the harbor police, the fire department and cruise companies. The World Harbor Days usually take place in the first weekend of September and last all weekend long.


On a sunny day, what could be better than to explore and enjoy the harbor, the skyline and Rotterdam’s modern architecture from the water? You will find several tour companies on the banks of the Maas River, offering a safe, fun way to relax on the water whilst enjoying a bite to eat or a refreshing drink. Tours are guided, so you will get the max out of your day on the water. Full day tours are also offered, which may include Rotterdam’s Maasvlakte, boasting one of the world’s largest container shipyards. Tours travel as far as Hoek van Holland, where cruise ships set sail to destinations such as New York, Sydney and Hong Kong. Be sure to check out the Holland America Line, one of the world’s most illustrious intercontinental cruise lines. Prices of the tours vary, starting at 10 euros for adults and 6 euros for children for a 75 minute tour. A day tour costs approximately 50 euros for adults and 35 euros for children.