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Icons of Rotterdam: #2 River Rotte

by Jasper de Haan

It is the picturesque Rotte River–and not the mighty Maas (Meuse) – that gave Rotterdam its name.  So take a hike along its banks from the city center and be transported to a different place in no time. The Rotte River truly is a Rotterdam icon. But hiking? Is hiking even gay enough? Well, the gay hike group Burgers & Buitenlui (Burghers & Country folk), has made hiking its prime activity.

If you want to enjoy the Dutch landscape a hike along the river Rotte is the thing to do. Enjoy it after an evening of clubbing, or any other day you want to escape the maddening crowds. It is not easy to distinguish the Rotte when you’re downtown, but from the Noordplein, you can easily follow its banks walking away from the city center. The Noordplein is a perfect starting point every first Saturday of the month, when it is home to a small farmers market. There you can find a variety of fresh fruits, cheeses, and snacks for your hike. Another good starting option is Lof de Zoetheid, a charming café run by mother and daughter, Elena and Anastasia, who are always warm and welcoming.

Burgers & Buitenlui on tour.

After 30-minutes of hiking, Rotterdam will seem quite distant, as you’ll find yourself surrounded by windmills, cows and geese. Face it folks, it doesn’t get more Dutch than this!

Also on the way is the beautiful Crooswijk cemetery as the river begins to meander giving way to an eclectic mix of houses, villas, big and small boats and lots water birds. After about an hour, it becomes noticeable that the river’s water level is much higher than the surrounding polders, letting you see firsthand how the Dutch have truly mastered water engineering.

Are you getting hungry yet? Well further on the way is the restaurant De Prins van Terbregge, the perfect stop for fine lunching and a drink.

So how about this hiking? Do you think it’s safe enough for gays? Of course it is! With the right attitude and observational skills, we’re sure you can pull it off. Just have a look the river’s abundance of rowers. The Rotte has four different row clubs on or near its banks – perfect for anyone who likes to sightsee. For those interested in form of a different kind, you’ll find quite a few outrageous houses and other buildings scattered along the river, must-sees for any fan of architecture and design. At many of them it is amazingly easy to cast an inquisitive glance inside.






So, are you interested in hiking more often? Take a look at Burgers & Buitenlui’s Facebookpage and sign up for one of their monthly hikes in the Rotterdam area. They’re not just gay-friendly; they’re also straight friendly so sign up today.



Tip 1:
De Rotte is a popular spot, particularly on Sundays. Want a more solitary hike? Pick a weekday, or a nice Saturday early spring or in the fall.

Tip 2:
If you don’t feel like hiking back: take tram 4 from Hillegersberg back to the city center.