When I was told I'd be heading back to Rotterdam as part of Must Love Festivals I was excited. I have made no secret about how much I love that city. When I was then told it would be to attend the World Port Days festival - or Wereldhavendagen, to you Dutchies - I was a little sceptical and uncertain. It didn't sound like the cool, cutting edge festival I was sure Rotterdam could be the perfect host of.
Then I was told that the World Port Days Festival is kind of a big deal in the city. It's a celebration of Rotterdam's biggest asset, its defining history, and the thing that has made it the world class city it claims to be... and truly is in my humble opinion; the port.
Review of World Port Days Festival, Rotterdam
"They have boats everywhere, that you can go on and explore. And there are tours of the port and talks about the history of how Rotterdam became the biggest and busiest port in the world*." I was told.
"And will there be sailors?" I asked tentatively, trying to find an angle to make this festival a bit sexier and more relevant to those who don't possess a pair of sea legs (like myself).
The good news was that yes, there would be sailors.
Even better than that, there would also be a late night jazz cruise into the heart of the harbour - something that doesn't happen every day.
And then I would have two days to hop on and off boats, to admire military and cruise ships lining the historic waterfront of Kop van Zuid and in amongst it all I would see howmuch of a big deal this festival was.
And so I went curious and inquisitive, unsure what to expect, but hopeful that I would find something for everyone.
The short version of what followed is: Yes, I did find something for everyone. And the sexy (and drunk!) side of the festival is to be best enjoyed at Nacht van de Kaap, an annual mini-festival hosted over on the shores of Katendrecht.
The long version is better explained with these photos which show you just how much is on offer during Wereldhavendagen.
* The Chinese have now robbed Rotterdam of this honour, which most locals will grumble to tell you, but it still remains the biggest and most important port in Europe and having cruised along the Maas and into the heart of the port which most visitors will never see, I can tell you that it is vast, like another city on its own. There is the option to see this for yourself with a Spido tour, which was the company behind our jazz cruise on the Friday night of World Port Days. They only offer the late night tours of the port at night, but either way the experience was highly recommended!
Frances M. Thompson
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