Delfshaven featuring a river or creek, a bay or harbour and a windmill
This quaint portside suburb is best known as the place where the Pilgrims set off for the New World and it offers an authentic taste of the Holland of old.

Spend time enjoying the pace in Delfshaven, a Rotterdam neighbourhood that is less busy than the city centre. Discover the traditional cafés and restaurants that line the Nieuwe Maas River, visit historic buildings and learn about the area’s fascinating associations with the Pilgrims. 

Originally part of the city of Delft, Delfshaven was given municipality status in 1811 before becoming a district of Rotterdam in 1886. While central Rotterdam was virtually flattened during World War II, Delfshaven emerged relatively unscathed. Its characterful pre-war buildings contrast sharply with Rotterdam’s striking modern architecture. 

Delfshaven is famous for being the port from which the Pilgrims departed at the start of their voyage to America. Visit the Pilgrim Fathers Church to see where they said their prayers before leaving in 1620. The exterior is dominated by a grand, white bell tower. Venture inside the  and you can go inside to view models of the boats used for the dangerous crossing. Examine the vessels and imagine how the intrepid travellers would have felt before making their voyage to the New World.

Make the short walk south from the church to the De Dubbelde Palmboom. This museum houses an intriguing collection of maritime artifacts. See ancient tools and equipment recovered from around the globe by the East India Company and trace the history of Rotterdam from prehistoric times to the present day. Nearby, see the work taking place on the reconstruction of De Delft, a warship that sank in the North Sea in the 18th century. Take a tour of the vessel to get a feel for the deep-rooted seagoing culture of this area. 

Save some time to explore the canal network. Walk the canal-side paths or rent a bike from one of the local shops. As you wander, you’re likely to pass by a scale-model of a traditional windmill, as well as many idyllic waterside bars, where you can sample locally brewed beer. Stay in the area for dinner and try the fresh seafood caught just hours before by the town’s fishing fleet. 

Delfshaven is approximately a 20-minute tram ride from central Rotterdam. Easy access and a more leisurely pace of life to the big city make it an ideal location to spend a relaxing couple of days.

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