The beginning of Rotterdam
The story of the city, the bombardment and reconstruction, and the drive to innovate that locals still use today to shape their city all make Rotterdam a fascinating place to visit. Everything seems possible here, and there’s so much left to explore.
Back in 1270, a dam was built in the little Rotte river, forming the heart of a small fishing village. Trade and shipping flourished, leading to the rapid growth of ‘Rotterdam’. Between 1866 and 1872, the excavation of the Nieuwe Waterweg canal linked Rotterdam to the sea, making it possible for the city to blossom into a truly world-class metropolis.
During the Second World War, on 14 May 1940, fate struck the flourishing city. A German bombardment destroyed almost the entire city centre of Rotterdam. The ruins smouldered for days. Rather than sitting down and giving up, the people of Rotterdam set to work. Only four days after the bombardment, they embarked upon the reconstruction of their city, opting to establish a completely new city plan.
The passion of Rotterdam
That passion for innovation has always been characteristic of the Rotterdam locals. From philosopher Desiderius Erasmus, born in Rotterdam and renowned as one of the most important humanists of the Renaissance, to contemporary innovators like architect Rem Koolhaas, artist Joep van Lieshout, and designer Daan Roosegaarde. The immigrants who came to Rotterdam in the 1960s and ’70s to work in the port also had a major influence on the city’s character. Their influx allowed Rotterdam to grow into a fascinating melting pot where over 170 cultures cohabit in close proximity.
Rotterdam has seen many changes in recent years. Quite a few new icons now grace the city’s skyline, including the Markthal, De Rotterdam and the new Central Station. Amidst all those imposing high-rise towers, creative entrepreneurs blazed new trails, pioneering an exciting cultural environment which has been widely acclaimed in the international media
The port of Rotterdam
The port of Rotterdam is the largest cargo port in Europe and the 10th largest in the world. Rotterdam’s logistic success is based on its strategic location on the North Sea, directly at the mouth of the Nieuwe Maas(New Meuse) channel leading into the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta. The rivers Rhine, Meuse, and Scheldt give waterway access into the heart of Western Europe, including the highly industrialized Ruhr region. The extensive distribution system including rail, roads and waterways have earned Rotterdam the nickname “Gateway to Europe”, and, conversely; “Gateway to the World” in Europe