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Eurostar routes: What’s new in Amsterdam and Rotterdam?

With two of the Netherlands’ most happening cities now just a short rail ride away, we check out both some old favourites and what's new in Amsterdam and Rotterdam

Eurostar routes: What’s new in Amsterdam and Rotterdam?
The Markthal, Rotterdam. Image: Superstock

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Rotterdam

Must do 
The Markthal is one of the liveliest examples of Rotterdam’s egalitarian, can-do spirit. Yes: there are 100 stalls selling foodstuffs from local spuds to Ligurian olive oil, but the building’s iconic arch also houses apartments, offices and displays of contemporary artwork. 

Food finds 
The poké fad has reached Rotterdam. This Hawaiian specialty is best sampled at The Poké Box where rice salads include not only raw fish but smoked chicken or baked tofu and zingy, oriental-tropical toppings. 

State of the art
It’s 25 years since Viktor&Rolf took a stylish steamroller to the Dutch fashion world. The Kunsthal art gallery is marking this with Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists 25 Years, which promises to be the toast of the summer season. Until 30 September. 

Waterside watering holes
There’s nowhere better to have a cold one than at the Rem Koolhaas-designed De Rotterdam building. And the stylish bar on the seventh floor of the nHow Rotterdam hotel is the place to do it. Take a seat on the balcony for uninterrupted panoramas of the city’s unapologetically urban skyline. 

Best beds 
Book into one of the Panorama Top rooms that crown the Inntel Hotels Rotterdam Centre and you’ll be treated to cracking river views. Or choose a more affordable “city view” room and pop into the hotel’s expansive 8th floor Wellness Centre whose pool and sauna offers equally as elegant river vistas. 

Amsterdam

Must do 
Bring in summer with an exotic Bergamot IPA, the new season beer at Brouwerij’t, a microbrewery and tasting room in an old bathhouse. It’s set beneath a canal-side windmill, making a visit here, beer in hand, a tripple-whammy tourist must-try. 

Food finds 
Long at the forefront of Amsterdam’s veggie food scene, De Kas has made an art form out of food from the herb and vegetable garden. Dine in a vintage glasshouse on innovative meals made with at least three plants and veggies. 

State of the art
He never visited Japan but Van Gogh developed his eye for Japanese style by obsessively collecting and copying native woodcut prints of courtesans, blossoms and tightly focused details of nature. Until 24 June. 

Waterside watering holes
The River Ij has perhaps never looked so pretty as when framed by the picture windows at Madam, the chic, minimalist bar restaurant on the A’dam Tower’s 20th floor. If you can stomach a glass while standing on its reinforced glass flooring, why not up your Dutch courage with a trip to the tower’s observation platform, home to On The Edge, Europe’s highest swing. 

Best beds 
Pestana Amsterdam Riverside set up home in a former city archive building on the banks of the River Amstel last year. Expect self-catering apartments and rooms, one of which is set in the the old clock tower with views over the ever-hip De Pijp neighbourhood. Don’t miss the restaurant overseen by local mega chef, Peter Lute. 

How to do it
Eurostar now departs London St Pancras International to Rotterdam and Amsterdam twice daily from Monday to Friday. The service runs once on Saturdays and Sundays. The outbound journey to Rotterdam takes 3h1m and 3h41m to Amsterdam. Tickets to both cities start at £35 one-way. rotterdam.info  iamsterdam.com

Published in the June 2018 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)