Email from a friend who used to live in Rotterdam…

Hey Sam,

All good here.
Yes I lived in Rotterdam for a couple of years.
I guess your study trip is going to Netherlands because of the extreme density/cultivated nature of the country. No piece of land is “natural”. All is built or cultivated parks or high-tech farmland.
I do not really know who you should talk to about this. But a good place for Architecture information and contacts is always NAI (Netherlands Archtecture Institure). It is located in Rotterdam and you can contact them via internet as well.
Popular street to go out at night is Witte De Witt Straat. A bar called Witte Aap (white Ape) is dense with architects. Also Nieuwe Binnenweg (New Binnen Street) is popular. I think a good bar there is called Rotown.
Then there is Dudok – which is a good place to go for beers and food (good price). It is a large bar/restaurant in the center, an institution in Rotterdan. Its almost like the livingroom of the city. Also good for coffee or brunch or whatever. Open all day. This is a good place to go for food/beers with a large group.
In the harbour there is Hotel New York- amazing large seafood restaurant in a building that used to be the ferry terminal for ships to New York.
And in west rotterdam there is Dizzys Jazzbar.
c. The whole city is a playground for architecture. It was totally destroyed in the WW2 bombings and therefore anything has been possible since then. Amazing amount of architectural experimental buildings and cityplans. Some nice, some not. But all pretty interesting and inspiring.
The city is quite rough, its a poor harbour and working class city. So be careful. Some streets are not ok at night, and some areas are heavily controlled by drug dealers.
Have fun!