Rotterdam Chinatown is the largest Chinatown in the Netherlands and is located in the Kruisplein area.
The current Rotterdam Chinatown dates to the 1980s when it was relocated from its original location near the docks. That original Chinatown was founded in 1911 when Chinese sailors were employed in response to local dock worker's strike.
The relocation is not an uncommon event in the world of Chinatowns. In London, Limehouse Chinatown was relocated to a new location after the war.
In the case of Rotterdam, the original Chinatown made way for urban development.
Compared to Amsterdam Chinatown and Hague Chinatown, Rotterdam Chinatown is less touristy and perhaps more functional. It is an interesting parallel to San Francisco Chinatown and Oakland Chinatown in the USA where one is more touristy and another more functional and less touristy.
Most of the shops in Rotterdam Chinatown cater to daily needs of local residents featuring lots of Chinese restaurants, supermarkets offering typically Chinese goods, Chinese pastry shops as well as Traditional Chinese doctors and even acupuncturists.
Festivals in Rotterdam Chinatown
The most atmospheric time of the year to visit is during the Chinese New Year season when New Year goods are available and the streets are decorated for the Chinese New Year celebrations. On the days around the Chinese New Year, the Chinatown is full of sounds from fire crackers and any visitors can easily catch one of the many lion dance and dragon dance performances in the area.
While the Chinese New Year is the most festive time to visit, Rotterdam Chinatown is also a must visit all year round. The locality of Rotterdam Chinatown is also known as the melting port because of the diverse ethnic groups living in the area.
True to its name, Rotterdam Chinatown blends in seamless with other ethnic areas so that the streets of Chinatown lead visitors to other ethnic area with its own cultural distinctions.
100 years of history
In 2011, the city celebrated the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the Chinese with an exhibition and a series of events for the public. A more permanent reminder of this anniversary is the idea of a cultural centre.