The rise of Rotterdam
Back in 1270, a dam was built in that modest 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. Is Rotterdam a must-see city? Absolutely!