As with many capital and second cities, there has been a famous rivalry between two great Dutch cities, Amsterdam and Rotterdam for many years. The rivalry, often referred to as 010 (Rotterdam) versus 020 (Amsterdam)- the cities telephone codes, dates back to the 13th century when both cities were first granted city status. We love both cities equally and can see the merits of visiting both but as residents of the ‘Gateway to Europe’, we favour our hotspots in Rotterdam. Here are some of the main differences between the two cities:

The ‘feel’

We all know what ‘the feel’ of a city means. It’s not something that you can touch or take home, it’s a feeling that stays with you long after you’ve left and something you remember every time you think of the place. While the cities are similar in population, Rotterdam is approx. 100km sq larger in size than Amsterdam, meaning it is less densely populated. Rotterdam has a distinct city vibe while Amsterdam is more of a town. Amsterdam has centuries-old architecture, coffee-shops and liberal attitude to life and Rotterdam has striking modern architecture, world-class dining and a very cool, laid back feel.

The Port

While Amsterdam has a big port, Rotterdam’s port is huge! Rotterdam’s nickname, The Gateway to Europe comes from the connections that the gigantic port has established between The Netherlands and the rest of Europe and in many cases the world. The port of Rotterdam is the biggest and busiest in Europe while the port in Amsterdam has been a competitor for many years. In recent times they have decided to collaborate rather than compete. The port of Rotterdam sets an industrial, hardworking tone to the city which is also known for being very multicultural and more down to earth than its counterpart.


It goes without saying that Amsterdam is the larger city in terms of visitors while tourism in Rotterdam is a moderately new concept. Amsterdam may have better and older tourist attractions but there are many exciting events in Rotterdam as Rotterdam Marathon, North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam International Film Festival and the popular national event, Summer Carnival Street Parade. Rotterdam is one of the most multicultural cities in the world with over 173 nationalities residing here. Overall, it’s cheaper to visit Rotterdam we haven’t mastered the art of overcharging our visitors!

Architecture –

The differences in architecture between the two cities is stark. Rotterdam was essentially flattened in bombings during WW2, destroying all of the historic buildings in the city. It also gave rise to a complete rebuild of the city, including new, cutting-edge architecture, a redesign of the city districts and modern high-rise buildings. Amsterdam, however, enjoy a more traditional style of building including luxurious canal houses and charming gabled facades. Both cities were built on canals, but Amsterdam have the more picturesque surroundings, with 100 km of canals and 1500 brides crossing them.


One of the biggest rivalries between the cities comes, unsurprisingly, in the form of a football tournament. Football brings a huge sense of pride to both cities and is very much a national pastime. The match between Ajax from Amsterdam and Feyenoord from Rotterdam is called De Klassieker (The Classics) and is a hugely popular match in the Netherlands. We could go on and on about the difference between the teams and the heated competition between them, but you’ll have to visit on match day to experience it for yourself!

If you’re looking for things to do in Rotterdam, our friendly staff in PREMIER SUITES are always happy to help. We are ideally located next to one of the most beautiful modern structures, our Rotterdam Centraal train station, perfect to travel to or from Amsterdam. Don’t forget to book online for our best available rates. Would you rather book a stay in Amsterdam? We also have a brand new property opening in Amsterdam later this year, check out our brand new website.

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