The 2006 It List

by Charles Runnette

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Rotterdam is the new Berlin. Like the German capital, this city of 600,000 has important museums, forward-looking architecture (maverick designer Rem Koolhaas is based here), quirky new restaurants (check out the theatrical Blits, designed by Marcel Wanders) and hot, tall northern Europeans who speak excellent English. What's different? Well, the Dutch attitude (let's call it "open") toward sex and drugs. Which is why Rotterdam is quickly becoming the clubbing and nightlife capital of Europe (and easily eclipses its increasingly sober neighbor, Amsterdam). The world's top DJ, Tiësto—he played the Opening Ceremonies at the Athens Olympics—makes his home here, as do a heap of other spinners on DJ Magazine's top 100 list. Rotterdam clubs can be cavernous and thumping, like Now&Wow, or laid-back and loungy, like Thalia Lounge (pictured); artsy like Off-Corso, a former movie theater that houses revolving art exhibits; or downright bizarre, like BUMB ("bar underground music bunker"), located in a former underground passageway. In summer, the dancing moves outdoors, with festivals such as Summer Carnival, Dunya, World Port Days, and the FFWD Heineken Dance Parade. When you're ready to slow down, head for the Euromast, Rotterdam's trademark 610-foot-tall tower, which rents out just two rooms, outfitted with groovy '60s-style furniture, a Jacuzzi, and the highest balcony in town. Yet another reason Rotterdam's on the way up.

Tel: 31 10 241 1788
Fax: 31 10 436 2280

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