Rotterdam, the Netherlands' second-largest city and one of the largest ports in the world –stretches for 20 miles west along the River Maas to the North Sea at Hook of Holland. Rotterdam is a pleasant city, dominated today by the new Erasmus Bridge, named for the Dutch Renaissance writer and humanist; it was designated a European Capital of Culture in 2001 and is the base of such celebrated architects as Rem Koolhaas, who was born here, and Piet Blom, whose cube houses – numerous apartments with floors seemingly at 45-degree angles – are now a major tourism attraction. Some Rotterdam MICE venues include cutting-edge architecture, among other amenities.
The closest airport to the city is Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTM), which is in a northern suburb of Rotterdam, three miles north of the city centre. Probably its most convenient services are its flights from Munich and London (Heathrow and London City), but many international guests will find the much larger airport at Amsterdam Schiphol much more convenient and only 30 miles to the northeast, with the airport being on the right side of Rotterdam so as not to have to circumvent Amsterdam itself.
MICE hotels in Rotterdam able to look after groups include the 278-room nHow Rotterdam, in a new, celebrated, trendy Koolhaas building along the river and which opened in mid-January 2014; the 254-room Hilton Rotterdam, which has space for events of up to 350 persons; the 230-room Manhattan Hotel Rotterdam, which has seven meeting rooms for up to 100 persons; the 140-room Van de Valk Hotel Ridderkerk, which has 17 meeting rooms; and, a little farther along the River Maas to the west of the city centre and very noticeable if sailing up the River Maas, the 78-room Delta Hotel, which perches over the river and has four meeting rooms.
Unique Rotterdam MICE venues include the E Factory, or Education Factory, a white space measuring 13,000 square feet in the historic Van Nelle Design Factory that can be converted in any dream the planner might have; Diergaarde Blijdorp, or Rotterdam Zoo, which has eight rooms for events, including the Shark Room, which has a glass aquarium; Het Hulstkamp Gebouw, another impressive building very evident on the River Maas shoreline and which has marvelous architecture dating to 1892 and space for up to 1,000 guests; Pathe Schouwburgplein, another architecturally interesting edifice that is a working cinema but also has seven rooms for hire; and the Rotterdam Museum, which is inside the Schielandhuis, a palace-like structure in the city centre that can host up to 350 persons.
Excellent restaurants in which to dine your group include Kwiezien, which sits on the small promontory of land called Katendrecht where cruise ships dock and where historic buildings of the Holland America line stand; ParkHeuvel, which sits on the other side of the River Maas with a park to its back; Zeezout, which has a very fine seafood menu and whose name means "sea salt"; Sumo, for Japanese cuisine; and modern and wonderful Prachtig, which affords memorable dining and views of the Erasmusbrug, or Erasmus Bridge.