Navigating faith, love, and life in the Netherlands

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Rotterdam with the Museumkaart & Welcome Card

During one of the first few days back in Holland, we ordered a Museumkaart (Museum Card) for me, costing around €50.  Pricey, yes, but this card is good for one year, and provides free or discounted admission to many museums throughout the country.   With my brother arriving soon, wanting to visit a number of museums, I figured I'd get my money's worth, since I'd be visiting the museums anyway.

We also had a coupon in the NS (Netherlands train) mailing from last fall, with a discount on the Rotterdam Welcome Card -- 2 for the price of 1.  This "welcome card" is normally €10, including a day pass on all Rotterdam public transport (normally costing €7, plus discounts of at least 25% on so many Rotterdam attractions and museums.  AND we discovered that the vouchers are good until the end of this year, and do not need to be used in one day.  (Amsterdam's equivalent is over €40, and is for a 24-hour period only - how in the world do you do that much in one day???)  So, with the coupon, we each got a Welcome Card for €5, less than the transport pass would've cost.  Already saving.

Before leaving the house, we planned out where we wanted to go -- I had some places I thought he should see, and then he looked at the list and on TripAdvisor.  The following details our day by metro station (though we certainly did not follow this exact order), showing how much we saved by using the Welcome Card and Museumkaart.

Het Schielandshuis

Adam discovered via TripAdvisor that Napoleon Bonaparte stayed here long ago. Wikipedia tells me that he stayed from October 25-27, 1811.  This is one of the few older historic buildings that survived the German bombing of Rotterdam in 1940.

This red outline shows the destroyed city center of Rotterdam.  

I took Adam to the VVV (tourist info) office by Beurs metro to show this image of what the city looked like in 1946, before rebuilding began.  The church in the center is Sint Laurenskerk.

Maritiem Museum:  

This was a small but interesting museum about the Dutch history with the sea.  Outside we also walked around the Havensmuseum, with various boats docked along a pier -- we couldn't board them, though.  Most of the signage was in both Dutch and English, making it easier for both of us.

Painting in the museum

Checking out the various boats
Regular admission price:  €7,50
Price with Welcome Card:€5,60
Price with Museumkaart: FREE!

Poffertjes Seth 

Since we were getting a bit hungry, we headed to the Blaak area to get some poffertjes for lunch.  Poffertjes are small puffy pancakes, usually doused with powdered sugar and a chunk of butter.  You can also get the topping of your choice.  Adam got strawberries, and I got bananas.  We also got hot about a sugar overload!

Mural -- for some reason I think the poffertjessalon redecorated since September...
With the Welcome Card, we would've gotten 50% off our poffertjes, but they never redeemed our voucher - and I didn't notice till it was too late.

I had no idea this place was so popular when I took my dad and stepmom in September, but it's an easily accessible place with yummy food.

Sint Laurenskerk -

 Back in August, I stopped by the Sint Laurenskerk to check it out.  Given that it had a €5 or so admission fee to further explore inside, I looked around then left.  In just a week or so, I reasoned, I could bring my dad and stepmom and pay the admission fee then.

Nope.  Didn't happen.  We were in Rotterdam on the same day as the opening of the Erasmus University school year, with a ceremony held in Sint Laurenskerk.

Erasmus (also possibly the oldest statue in the city/country?)
Fine, I'll try again with Adam.

Also, nope.  During the winter months, the church is only open on Tuesdays and Saturdays.  We were there on Friday.

At this rate, I'll never go inside when I want to.

War and Resistance Museum (OorlogsVerzetsmuseum):

This museum was rather small, but provided a specific view of the resistance efforts and war effects on Rotterdam specifically.

Postcard: "We sat so pleasantly/cozy with each other"
Regular price: €4
Welcome Card: €3
Museumkaart: FREE!

Euromast -

Despite the cold and somewhat cloudy day, we could still see pretty far.  I spotted the Dordrecht railway bridge as well as the Rotterdam/Den Haag airport.  I forgot to look for the North Sea, as some people say it's visible from the Euromast.

Rotterdam center - with the sun reflecting from the buildings
When we went in the upper spinning part, it felt like we could almost touch the clouds!

Regular price: €9,25
Welcome Card: €6.75 (I think this was the most I spent on one admission ticket the whole day)

Historic Delfshaven:

Here is where the Pilgrims set sail for (England first, followed by) America after their decade in Leiden.  It remains a historic location, and I took quite some nice photos with our new camera.  :)

Photo taken by my brother :)
The windmill was in action that day, blades spinning in the wind, with a truck delivering grain to be milled!

Echte Rotterdammers exhibit at the Museum Rotterdam:

We weren't too impressed with this exhibit -- seemed like everything was thrown together in one room.

What Rotterdammers look like
My admission was free because of the Museumkaart, and Adam was going to have to pay €6.  At that point, barely in the door, we thought it wasn't really worth it, but then the lady showed us a "buy one get one free" coupon inside a promotional brochure.  So, my museumkaart "purchase" entitled him to a free ticket -- sweet!

Enjoying the view from this angle of the Erasmusbrug

Cube Houses (Kijk-Kubus) --

Fun to explore, but I wouldn't want to live in one of those houses and climb all those steps!

Regular admission: €3
Welcome Card: €2

We finished our day by heading to Vapiano - a pizza/pasta place - for dinner together with Randolf!

Sint Laurenskerk by twilight

Instead of mints, Vapiano has a bowl full of gummy bears! Awesome!
 This blog was part of the Instagram Travel Thursday linkup.

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