The exterior of Rotterdam Centraal station

Rotterdam Centraal (Rotterdam)

This guide to the fabulous main railway station in Rotterdam explains what to look out for when departing and arriving by train and connects you to all the relevant info.

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At a Glance

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First Class Lounge
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A view of the exterior of Rotterdam Centraal with the tram stops over to the right A view of the exterior of Rotterdam Centraal with the tram stops over to the right
The main concourse at Rotterdam Centraal - the passage way to the trains is bottom left The main concourse at Rotterdam Centraal - the passage way to the trains is bottom left
Looking down on the platforms/spoors at Rotterdam Centraal Looking down on the platforms/spoors at Rotterdam Centraal
A view across the platforms/spoors at Rotterdam Centraal A view across the platforms/spoors at Rotterdam Centraal
Looking from the platforms/spoors towards the concourse at Rotterdam Centraal station Looking from the platforms/spoors towards the concourse at Rotterdam Centraal station

At Rotterdam’s magnificent, relatively new Central train station, the platforms/sporen/tracks that trains depart from/arrive are at an upper level.
A passage way leads from the main concourse beneath the platforms/sporen - which can be accessed by lifts (elevators) and escalators.

The long platforms (sporen) at Rotterdam Centraal station are DIVIDED into different sections numbered 8a, 8b etc and trains usually depart from these specific sections of the platform/spoor.
Therefore check that you are waiting, on the right part of the platform/spoor for your train, using the nearest departure indicators on the platform as a guide
Each specific part of a platform/spoor, 8a, 8b etc will have its own indicator for the next train to depart from this part of a platform.

Rotterdam's central station does not have a main large electronic departure board.
Instead departures are listed solely on the smaller TV screens that will be located around the station.
However, most of the time only trains departing within the next 10-15 minutes will be shown.

These information screens (and those on the platforms), only show the terminating station and the principle stations that the train will be calling at (‘via Delft, Leiden’ etc)
To find info about subsequent departures use the paper departure sheets, though each train route from Rotterdam Centraal has a dedicated sheet.
So you may need to look through multiple departure sheets to find your destination.

The 1st class lounge is only available if you are travelling with a 1st class international ticket valid on the Eurostar or Thalys trains.

Rotterdam-Blaak Station

The rather fabulous Markthal is adjacent to Rotterdam-Blaak station The rather fabulous Markthal is adjacent to Rotterdam-Blaak station

Many of the city’s most visited examples of modern architecture including the Markthal and Cube Houses are close by to Rotterdam Blaak station.

Frequent local trains link Rotterdam Centraal and Rotterdam Blaak, there is no need to take the Metro - and the trains are also a faster option than the tram service that links the two stations.
Also some InterCity trains to/from Rotterdam call at Rotterdam Blaak in addition to Rotterdam Centraal.

A Base for exploring The Netherlands and beyond By Train

Opting to holiday in Rotterdam may raise an eyebrow or two, even ardent fans of 20th century architecture, of which many fine examples can be found in the city, will likely concede that it’s not the most beautiful of Dutch cities.

However, Rotterdam has two aces up its sleeve:

(1) staying in Rotterdam is generally (much) cheaper than in Amsterdam and

(2) Rotterdam is also an ideal base for exploring the best of The Netherlands (and beyond) by train.

You can be in central Amsterdam within an hour of departing from Rotterdam Centraal station, if you take one of the frequent ‘InterCity Direct' trains.

These InterCity Direct trains also provide a fast and frequent connection to Schiphol Airport, so getting to and from Rotterdam by plane/train is straightforward - AND at Schiphol, during the tulip season, you can connect for a bus link to the Keukenhof  gardens/tulip fields.

In addition to the trains to Amsterdam and Schiphol, there are a minimum of 2 x trains per hour between Rotterdam and a swathe of must-see Dutch towns and cities including Den Haag, Delft, Gouda, Haarlem and Leiden.

As all of these destinations can be reached in under 1hr 15mins from Rotterdam Centraal by train.
It’s also feasible to visit multiple towns on straight forward day trips - Combine Den Haag with Delft or Gouda, or see both Leiden and Harlem in a single day.

Two other big ticks in the Rotterdam compared to Amsterdam box are;

(1) you’ll have more time to explore Belgium – the journey time by train from Rotterdam to Antwerpen and Bruxelles is shorter than that from Amsterdam.

(2) The largest collection of Dutch windmills at Kinderdijk can be easily accessed from Rotterdam.
First take the D or E metro lines from central Rotteram to Zuidplein station and then connect there for buses on Lijn 90, taking the bus to the ‘Molenkaade' stop – the buses run mostly hourly and the journey time from Zuidplein station is around 50 minutes.

You won’t pay any extra for journeys by train within The Netherlands if you book tickets last minute at the station, so you can be spontaneous.

All journeys from Rotterdam can be looked up here.

Journeys

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Journeys to Rotterdam Centraal
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Amsterdam to Rotterdam by train
Bruxelles / Brussels to Rotterdam by train
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This is one of more than 300 station guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.