Got Jazz? Rotterdam Does, and Lots of It

How do you prepare for the world’s largest indoor jazz festival? Well, if you’re Rotterdam, you hold a two week, pre-festival celebration.

North Sea Round Town is a collection of concerts, exhibitions, lectures, street performances and jam sessions. In 2015, there were more than 200 events throughout the South Holland city, and 2016 looks to be even bigger. (North Sea Round Town’s Facebook Page is the place to go to keep up-to-date on this year’s events.)

Popular venues like BIRD and NRCafe, once the city’s newspaper headquarters, hold nightly performances. Generally, the shows are smaller, more intimate affairs, featuring local artists as well as international musicians such as Soil & “Pimp” Sessions from Japan.

A jazz band playing at the NRCafe in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

A North Sea Round Town jam session at the NRCafe with and special guest musicians from The Big Hunger and friends.

Speaking of Soil & “Pimp” Sessions, we saw the Tokyo sextet at North Sea Round Town last year. The band performed at BIRD and brought the party to Rotterdam, priming it wonderfully for the North Sea Jazz Festival, precisely what North Sea Round Town is designed to do.

On its own, Rotterdam is a blast; it’s a young, vibrant city, full of great architecture and neighborhoods to explore. North Sea Round Town adds another dimension to the city, offering a good excuse to get out and explore the city’s lively jazz scene.

Yellow cube houses in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Designed by architect Piet Blom, the Rotterdam Cube Houses are a sight to behold, but things really begin to take ship when you step inside for a self-guided tour; tickets are just 3€. And, if you want to buy one, they cost about 200,000€, which seems like a pretty good deal since the location is unbeatable and overlooks the port.

For a firsthand look at North Sea Round Town, check out our story, Turning Japanese in Holland. And for more information about the festival, visit North Sea Round Town.