OVER THE WATER: 6 Significant Rivers That Will Astound You in Rotterdam

Rotterdam in the Netherlands has always been a city of great history and influence. Being known as the largest port in the whole of Europe and at some time in the past as the largest all over the world, it can never be denied that Rotterdam is a major logistic and economic center where big spotlights in the international industry is directed over.

As you travel to Rotterdam, you will feel the vibe of its elegance and historic importance. With its riverside setting, you will be given a glimpse of how big of an impact it has made in the service that happens over the waters — it’s maritime heritage. 

For you to have an idea before or while you go on a trip to and in Rotterdam, here’s a list of 5 of its significant rivers that you must see!

[1] Rhine

Source – YouTube

Indeed a treasure can be located in Rotterdam. One of the major rivers in Europe, one of the most vital and one of the longest, Rhine River starts from a small stream in Switzerland and ends in the North Sea in Rotterdam. 

It is incredibly long that it goes through six different countries. Its source is in the Swiss Alps to the Principality of Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France and the Netherlands! With 1,232 km of length, Rhine is surely one of the most substantial and epoch-making arteries of universal industrial transport.

Wayback many years, it became one of the most polluted European rivers because of the chemical spill in 1986. Just within 10 days, the rest of Rhine’s cover were badly affected.

The last section of the Rhine is where it splits up into different wings such as the Waal and the Lek. A unique feature of Rhine is that aside from it, no other river across the globe has various antiquated and renowned cities on its banks! Moreover, it’s amazing how Rhine River is called differently per country it transports through. In the Netherlands, it is Rijn. In Germany, it is Rhein. In France, it is Rhine.

Rhine River is a top commercial route. It has always been unsurpassed of all the rivers in the world. That’s the same historically speaking because of the amount of traffic carried over it.

[2] Waal

Source – Shutterstock

Briefly mentioned earlier is Waal River. It is the main branch where the Rhine River distributes waters into. This key channel links the port of Rotterdam to Germany and is approximately 80 km in its flowing length through the Netherlands. 

The name Waal comes from its Germanic origin that implies ‘crooked’. The river today  shows little signs of the bends being highlighted. That’s because countless calibration and development projects were made previous centuries in order to refine the river and its surroundings, considering that it is economically valuable as a shipping waterway. 

If you visit places where the Waal River passes through, you can spend time fishing! It would definitely be a memorable trip for you. You can catch whatever you are fishing for, and if you want to ride a bike, you also can while you have fun in the scenic landscapes!

[3] Rotte

Source – Together in Transit

Located in the Rhine-Maas-delta, the Rotte River is also a branch in the Rhine River delta. The river’s name is where the name of Rotterdam came from. A dam was built along the small river in the 13th century; that’s when Rotterdam’s name as a city was given birth to.

The original name of Rotte River is Rotta which is from rot, ‘muddy’, and ‘water’. The end meaning is ‘muddy water’.

[4] Meuse

Source – Freepik

Another major European river is the Meuse River. It begins in France, moves through Belgium and the Netherlands, ends into the North Sea from the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta. 

It is said to be a wild and winding waterway surrounded with exceptional natural heritage. It would be a lovely time to spend discovering Meuse the places around it! Around it are biodiversity hotspots which make the river even more impactful in the environmental scene!

The meaning of the name “Meuse” goes down to its root which in English refers to “maze”. It reflects the twists and turns, curves and curls of the river! This feature makes Meuse River a charming spot for cruise. You will fall in love even more with the river’s enchanting beauty as you ride aboard a cruiser! Furthermore, there are game fishing stands where you can find out your talent in catching fresh fish!

The Meuse (Maas) is included in the first verse of Germany’s old national anthem and is part of a prominent patriotic song’s title “Le Régiment de Sambre et Meuse” which was lyricized after the French loss in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.

[5] Oude Maas

Source – Ronald Puma-Photo Blog

Oude Maas is a former distributary of Meuse River. In the early Middle Ages, the main flow of the Maas followed the present Oude Maas, but in the later Middle Ages, after a flood occured, the Oude Maas linked to the Merwede rivers. That time, the Maas and the Rhine sent water to Oude Maas. 

But floods happened again, leading the Merwede to a new way to the sea, so the Oude Maas lacked fresh water allocation. When the Merwede branched properly to its lower sections by artificial ways, Oude Maas again became a major branch of the Maas and Rhine.

The Maas and Rhine were disconnected in the 19th century. Due to that, risk of flooding was reduced. It was the best achievement in Dutch hydraulic engineering before the establishment of the Zuiderzee Works and Delta Works. Thereafter, only the Rhine River shares its part to Oude Maas. 

[6] Nieuwe Maas

Source – Zoom

The Nieuwe Maas River separates Rotterdam into north and south. This river is a distributary of the Rhine River, and also a previous distributary of the Meuse River. It flows from the convergence of the rivers Lek and Noord and runs west through Rotterdam.

Approximately 24 kilometres is the length of Nieuwe Maas. This river glides through some of the most heavily crowded and developed locations in the Netherlands. 



Rotterdam is not the largest port in Europe for nothing! It certainly has the most impressive shipping industry routes that pass through many different places! These rivers come with great importance to history that passed, to the present that occurs and to the future that is approaching. 

If you are a traveler in this wonderful city, don’t miss the chance to take a look at these lovely rivers! Whether you’re eating out at a famous restaurant, walking along stunning views, learning in astonishing museums and libraries, staying in a hotel in Rotterdam, or whatever you are doing, make sure you drive or just ride your way to these rivers’ spots for local guests and tourists! 

It will forever be a moment you’ll be proud of telling others about! Rotterdam and its stories over the waters and over the years will fascinate you even more beyond words and photos can do! Catch them all with your own eyes. Experience them right there in the land where Rotterdam’s waters are found.


Nicole Ann Pore is a daytime writer for PREMIER SUITES PLUS Rotterdam, an excellent alternative to a conventional hotel offering extensive serviced apartments for both locals and travelers. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts, she finished her studies as a Cum Laude from De La Salle University Manila, Philippines.


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