3 reasons to explore Rotterdam during #EAIE2023

3 reasons to explore Rotterdam during #EAIE2023 Rotterdam 2023

The 2023 EAIE Conference and Exhibition is right around the corner, and with it thousands of international higher education professionals will be pouring into Rotterdam for a week of learning and networking. This year’s theme of ‘Connecting currents’ refers not only to the role played by the Annual EAIE Conference in connecting the many currents within international higher education, but also to our host city and all it has to offer.

The Annual EAIE Conference and Exhibition is all about fostering connection and keeping current with the developments in our field. As international educators, we often aspire to think globally and act locally. So this September, as you spend your days in sessions and workshops focused on all things global at the EAIE Conference, don’t forget to explore the local and take advantage of all Rotterdam has to offer. Here are three reasons to get out and enjoy Rotterdam during #EAIE2023.

It’s connected

Rotterdam is an example par excellence of a connected city, which you’ll experience first-hand on your way to this year’s EAIE Conference. In addition to the conveniently located Rotterdam The Hague International Airport, little over half an hour from the conference venue by public transport, most of those flying in from further afield will land in Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, a short 25-minute ride from Rotterdam Central on the high-speed Intercity direct train. Of course, if you’re going all-in on the #EAIEGreenGoals and traveling green to Rotterdam, the city’s manifold rail connections to the rest of Europe give you plenty of options for a smooth, low-carbon ride to the Conference.

Upon arrival, you’ll quickly find that Rotterdam’s internal connections are on par with its connections to the rest of Europe. That’s why we’ve teamed up with EduCanada to provide this year’s conference attendees with a free public transport card, so you can take advantage of the city’s extensive public transport network – including an underground metro, light rail tram lines and buses – to follow your curiosity around the city. Use the metro to visit must-see sights like the Markthal (Metro station Blaak, Lines A, B & C), the Erasmus Bridge (Metro station Wilhelminaplein, Lines D & E; or Tram stop Willemsplein, Line 7), the Euromast (Tram stop Euromast, Line 8) and more. Craving some time between the trees? Various stops on tram lines 7 and 8 will drop you within a few minutes’ walk of the Kralingse Bos, or take tram lines 21 or 24 to the stop Woudestein and visit the Trompenburg Gardens and Arboretum. Of course, if you want to go for the full Dutch experience, then you can explore the city by bike on its dense network of dedicated cycling paths. Just make sure you’re up to the task: the Dutch take their cycling seriously!

Finally, if you’re looking for a little escape before or after the Conference, the Dutch National Railway (NS) service includes quick, convenient connections to nearby major cities like The Hague, Utrecht and Amsterdam, as well as to smaller cities like Delft, Gouda and Leiden where you can unwind with a stroll through the cobblestone streets. The connections from Rotterdam are nearly endless.

It’s current

Within the Netherlands, Rotterdam is known as the hip, cool, contemporary city that keeps up with all the current trends. Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent than on the Witte de Withstraat, lined with fashionable bars and cafes that cater to Rotterdam’s young population. This trend-setting reputation has a long history, reaching back at least to the city’s reconstruction after its bombardment during the Second World War, which has left it with a distinctly modern architectural character, unlike most other cities in the Netherlands.

Indeed, Rotterdam’s distinct skyline are the first sign that this city is different, and architecture is a great gateway for exploring the city’s modernity. Architectural walking tours of the city will take you along famous sights like the Cube Houses, the Erasmus Bridge, and the Euromast. Other architectural wonders double as museums or other activities, like the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, which sits like a warped disco ball in the middle of the Museum Park casting imposing reflections of the city back upon itself, or the Markthal, itself a modernist wonder where you can easily pass an afternoon browsing food stalls beneath the art-adorned arch, or the Kunsthal, an art hall housed inside a building which is an architectural accomplishment in its own right.

It's not only the visual arts scene in Rotterdam which give it its distinctly current, contemporary edge. Music is key to the youth culture in Rotterdam, with venues like Rotown and Annabel hosting live music for lovers of indie, pop, hip hop and nearly any other genre imaginable. Even the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra reflects the city’s modern, youthful flavour, winning critical acclaim for its chief conductor Lahav Shani, who in 2018 became the youngest chief conductor in its history. From architecture to the performing arts, Rotterdam lives on the cutting edge of culture.

It’s connected to the currents

Rotterdam is a city of ‘connecting currents’ in more ways than one. In a literal sense, it sits in the fertile delta where the currents of two major European rivers – the Maas and the Rhine – flow into the North Sea and the world’s oceans. Perhaps more significantly for the EAIE Conference, the convergence of these currents serves both as a direct catalyst of and apt metaphor for the convergence of the many cultures and currents of thought that together make up global society. Few cities in Europe harbour such a strong connection to the seas and waterways.

That said, perhaps the most authentic way to explore Rotterdam is by water. Take a ride on the water taxi for a different perspective on famous sights like Delfshaven or Hotel New York. Tour the SS Rotterdam and enjoy a meal while you’re there. Book a Rotterdam Harbour Tour, or if you’re feeling more adventurous, rent a boat for your own tour of Rotterdam’s waterways. Before or after the Conference, take a day trip to the nearby Delta Works and marvel at one of the modern wonders of engineering keeping Rotterdam and the entire west of the Netherlands above sea level.

Rotterdam’s position as a prominent port city and a centre of European and global trade has shaped its evolving identity through the ebb and flow of the city’s history. As you move through this year’s EAIE Conference and Exhibition, be sure to avail yourself of its excellent infrastructure, appreciate its modern architecture, and draw energy from its strong connections to the currents flowing through the rest of Europe and the wider world.

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