Rotterdam Photodiary: 2 days of street photography

At the end of March, I did a short city trip to Rotterdam. Taking the train from Antwerp to spend a night and 24 hours in the lovely Dutch city. I mainly did street photography during my time there.

I booked the train and hotel several months ago. In 2024, I should relax more and take time for myself. And what better way to do so than by taking street photography trips here and there

Using Google Maps

With a hotel and my transport booked, I just needed to figure out what I wanted to do there. Whenever I stumbled upon a cool Instagram photo or reel about Rotterdam, I saved it. Then, I collected all the locations using a Google Maps list.

I like using Google Maps lists in that way because it allows me to roam around more or less spontaneously while I still can keep track of what’s nearby and exciting.

Day 1: doing street photography in Rotterdam

The first day, I left home in the morning. I went by train from Antwerp, got myself a coffee and cinnamon roll, and enjoyed the ride while reading The Martian. Our train had some issues in Breda, so we all had to move to another train. Half an hour later than scheduled, I arrived awake and fresh in Rotterdam.


The first stop was a tunnel next to Rotterdam Central Station called the Provenierstunnel. I had seen this location in Octavian Carare’s vlog. Although it does give some excellent photo opportunities, it gets old soon.

Perfect for a warm-up, though.

Next, I just headed down the lane, leaving from the Central station, following the Westersingle to a point where I cut across a block and arrived at the majestic Erasmusbrug.


There are many photo spots and compositions on and below the bridge. I knew this spot from previous visits and decided not to research it. As it’s a highly photographed spot, I didn’t want to be too influenced by it.

It was pretty cloudy at that point, giving the scene a black-and-white feel. I did lean into editing the photos, but I looked for pops of color during the shooting. Unfortunately, I only found them in Ubereats drivers.

Kop van Zuid

On the other side of the bridge, I roamed around the Kop van Zuid a bit before going for lunch at the Kopi Soesoe on the other side of the Rijnhavenbrug.

This is an excellent place to eat a typical Dutch ‘tosti’ with a modern twist of kimchi and spinach. I loved it!

Afterward, I took a quick stroll to Buizenpark, but I was kind of disappointed. Perhaps it’s better in the summer.

Dutch photography museum

Back to Kop of Zuid and a visit to the Dutch photography museum. They have several excellent expositions. One is about the Dutch photographer Ad Van Denderen’s photojournalism in South Africa and Gaza.

Afterward, I bought two books in the shop—rather big books, too, so I decided to find my hotel and check-in. I arrived there at about 14:30 and rested a bit. I removed the books from my backpack, edited photos, and recharged some batteries.

Markthal and Cube Houses

About an hour and a half later, I decided I needed to get moving again. So I did. I moved out and headed into the shopping district. I made a quick stop at the Donner bookshop (I have a problem) and continued to the Markthal. I roamed around a bit there to see if it would be a good dinner spot for later, and then I walked out.

I walked around the Cube houses but didn’t find them particularly inspiring. Then I spent some time at Blaak Square. There, I struggled a bit with the setting sun. It made for interesting light, but I felt I couldn’t handle it too well.

The same goes for my second walk through the Markthal. However, I did take some photos I liked. I enjoyed some broodje kibbeling and had a good overview of the Markthal. Leaving the Markthal, heading to the Erasmusbrug yet again. For some reason, I keep gravitating toward it.

With the time getting quite late, I decided to head to the hotel and edit some photos. I was exhausted and needed to get off my feet.

Day 2: Roaming around Rotterdam

The next day, I woke up too early, around 6:00. It was a combination of the noise people made while leaving the hotel and sleeping in a new bed/room. Anyway, I was a bit groggy.

I showered and headed out, having a coffee and breakfast across the street at Heilige Boontjes

Next, I walked around some more. I loved visiting the museum park and looking at the Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen. However, I can’t shake the feeling that it resembles a mirroring plant bowl. Anyway, it’s a fantastic building.

From there, I walked to Het Park and Schoonoord Botanical Garden, finding myself at the Maastunnel a bit later. Though they have some fantastic photographs of the tunnel’s construction on the stairs down, there’s not much to look at at the bottom.

From there, I made a quick detour to Delfshaven and back to the center to visit the Luchtsingel. 

I didn’t do much photography on the second day. I think it was a combination of the older parts of the city, the less busy parts, the cloudy day, the heavy backpack, and the early morning.

Arriving at the central station, I decided to skip the afternoon and jump on the train home again. Promising myself to revisit Rotterdam soon.

My learnings of the trip

Walking around Rotterdam, I learned plenty about photography, travel, and myself.

The main one is not buying heavy books at the start of your trip. Or to bring a second backpack, which I can leave at the hotel reception with my purchases.

The second one is using smaller apertures, too, like f8. Especially with my telephoto lenses, I habitually use the biggest aperture opening. Though f1.8 gives an excellent blurry background, sometimes a sharp background works better.

Another one is that prime lenses are cool and all. They give excellent quality, they help you work your photos better, and they often have bigger aperture openings. But a zoom lens can help you get more shots.

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