Thinking about where to go for a city break next year? Add Rotterdam to your list. The Netherlands city is a paradise for art and design lovers with plenty of cultural attractions and events to enjoy and explore. Rotterdam certainly isn't anywhere, as the Beautiful South might have once sang, it's going places. Here, we round-up 10 reasons why you absolutely must visit Rotterdam in 2018.
1. OBJECT: 9-11 February
The annual contemporary design fair, which takes place during Art Rotterdam Week, promises to be the largest edition ever, with over 100 designers showcasing their objects on the cutting edge of design, art, architecture and fashion. Located in the landmark HAKA building, the surrounding art studios from renowned designers such as Richard Hutten and Studio Roosegaarde will be open to the public. Visitors with an OBJECT admission ticket also get free access to the Euromast observation tower.
2. Hyperrealism: Sculptures: 10 March-1 July
This exhibition at Kunsthal Rotterdam, to be held from 10 March to 1 July, will feature a unique selection of three-dimensional works by all important hyperrealist sculptors of the past 50 years. They range from early American pioneers, including George Segal, to the rise of the international movement, represented by Juan Muñoz (Spain), Maurizio Cattelan (Italy) and Berlinde de Bruyckere (Belgium).
3. New hotspot: Industriegebouw
The Industriegebouw is considered an icon of Rotterdam’s reconstructive period. Designed by legendary architect Hugh Maaskant in 1952, the business complex has been lovingly restored to its former grandeur. It now houses architecture firm MVRDV, the concept design store Groos and many trendy eateries such as By Jarmusch and Alfredo's Taqueria. In January, the highly anticipated new restaurant Héroine will open its doors as well, making the Industriegebouw one of the latest hotspots in town.
4. Major art exhibition at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen: 10 February – 29 April
Extra large artworks will be on display from 10 February to 29 April at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Guest conservator Carel Blotkamp has made a varied selection from the main works in the museum’s collection, including Driftwood circle by Richard Long, Notung by Anselm Kiefer and D’red Dwarf, B’lack Hole (2010) by Jim Shaw. The massive works, some as imposing as five metres high and six metres wide, were created from the 1950s onwards.
5. Unwired: 20 January – 6 May
The Nederlands Fotomuseum will present Unwired, an exhibition of works by the Dutch visual artist Jacqueline Hassink, to run from 20 January to 6 May 2018. Unwired confronts us with our present-day addiction to devices and reminds us of the fundamental human need for inner peace. The exhibition unites two projects: Unwired Landscapes and iPortrait. Hassink roamed the world in search of places without internet or mobile phone coverage and portrayed travellers so deeply engaged with their smartphones that they appear to be in another world.
6. Naum Gabo restoration
One of the biggest works from the Constructive period of the Russian sculptor Naum Gabo, ‘Untitled’, is currently being restored and will be revealed in the spring of 2018. It's located in front of de Bijenkorf department store and is one of more than 500 sculptures found in the public space of Rotterdam.
7. City brewery THOMS
Located at the modern Timmerhuis, designed by OMA, restaurant THOMS is currently constructing its own city brewery. Expected to open in February 2018, the brewery will also sell all the various types of gin and jenever (Dutch gin) distilled in the Rotterdam and Schiedam areas.
8. Art Cube Experience
One of the iconic Cube Houses will be transformed into an Art Cube Experience in 2018. It tells the story of Rotterdam and provides a true experience with a local artist expo, 3D visual art, inspiration and illusions. Scheduled to open in May.
9. Rotterdam Celebrates!
The internationally renowned Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra will be celebrating its Centennial anniversary in 2018. The iconic Hotel New York has been a local favourite for 25 years and the beautiful ‘Mad Men’ style ss Rotterdam was built 60 years ago.
10. FG Okonomiyaki
This month, Michelin-starred chef François Geurds opened a Japanese street food bar called FG Okonomiyaki. Their speciality is a Japanese-style pancake, based on seaweed stock and stuffed with vegetables, meat or fish. Prices start from €5.