In 2020, Rotterdam pledged to invest $251 million to make it happen. Among them is Hofbogenpark, a public space that will run an abandoned railway (like the High Line in New York City), and “green lungs” – pedestrian and bicycle paths, lined with trees, that will cut through the central parts of Rotterdam. And although these urban decorations are still years away, many climate-related projects have already begun in the Netherlands’ second city.
The revitalized port area, M4H, has the world’s first Floating Farm, selling yogurt and homemade butter. Farms are scarce, his 40 cows live in a floating barn and their feed includes grain from Stadshaven Brouwerij, a brewery next door to a gastropub that recently took over a 100-year-old orchard.
Another recent architectural theme is Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen. This glass-clad building, which opened in November 2021, houses more than 150,000 works, including classical works of art and furniture by Sottsass. The storage and renovation of the museum next to the house, is the first such place to make its entire collection visible to the public. The depot also added to the city’s green space with its 16,000-square-meter roof garden, planted with 75 birches and 20 pine trees.
The best new hotels in the city are also revolutionary giants. The Slaak, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, was a newspaper office in the 1950s. The concrete-walled rooms feature antique typefaces and medieval decor. Two metro stops to the west, the 1867 townhouse is now the Hotel Âme, a 14-room Scandi-Japanese restaurant with a cafe and boutique.
But the most visible symbol of the city’s push for sustainability may be the Floating Office Rotterdam, a building on the Maas River. It has a co-working space, an outdoor swimming pool, and Putaine, a club restaurant, and a fully equipped lounge. I’m also looking ahead – solar panels will float, not flood, as the water inevitably rises.
A version of this article first appeared in April 2023 Travel + Leisure under the title “Higher Ground.”