Rotterdam Erasmusburg Bridge

Best Practice visits and study trips are an excellent opportunity to see how other cities have embraced their waterfronts. Whether that is how they approach the water’s edge, or how they link their public realm with public art and interpretation, and a key consideration is how other cities engage with their maritime heritage. Maritime Belfast uses these trips as inspiration for the Board and staff on developing our heritage and destination focused projects.

Over the last few years, we have arranged best practice trips to a range of waterfront destinations: Greenwich, London, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and most recently Rotterdam.

  • Greenwich – exploring the National Maritime Museum and their collections, including the interpretation and display of the Cutty Sark. Greenwich has also developed a series of waterfront parks with stunning public realm, art installations and personal meditation points. The Tide | Greenwich Peninsula
  • London – visiting the SouthBank, the Olympic Park, the elevated gardens at the Canary Wharf Crossrail park and the SkyGarden. Pavilions and pop-up visitor information centres were of particular interest, along with using harbour cranes as artwork, the innovative seating options across the area, pop up events and animation. Crossrail Place Roof Garden – Canary Wharf
  • Hamburg – discovering the new developments in Hafencity and the public realm along the waterfront. The Maritime Museum was really inspiring, containing the world’s largest private collection of maritime artefacts and model ships, set over nine exhibition floors in Hamburg’s oldest warehouse. International Maritime Museum Hamburg – IMMHIMMH (
  • Amsterdam – enjoying the annual Amsterdam Light festival, a series of light installations across the city’s canals, many of which are best viewed from the water and via canal boats. The festival now has a collection of art sculptures that travel the world as well as many permanent installations in Amsterdam, and includes an education project where school children get involved with creating a light artwork.  Amsterdam Light Festival
  • Copenhagen – experiencing the port of Copenhagen and its amazing architecture, as well as the interventions that have cleaned the harbour and allowed people to be both in and on the water. Floating islands, moveable pontoons, saunas and swimming pools are scattered across the waterfront, and the developments are people centric, and driven by quality of life. Copenhagen has really considered transportation, and even multi-storey carparks have a multiple use with urban sports parks on the roof. Read more here.
  • Rotterdam – toured the architectural highlights of Rotterdam such as the Market hall building and Cube Houses, swing bridges, and visited public realm in the open market spaces and theatre square. The visit included an Architecture exhibition in three floating barges turned into an event space, garden and urban sports park. The study trip also included the Maritime Museum, with its inspiring collections and both indoor and outdoor exhibitions, on-site forge and maritime themed children’s play area. The water taxis were a quick way to get around Rotterdam, Europe’s largest seaport. Read more here. 

Rotterdam 2023