A very good friend of mine for some time was living in a small city close to Rotterdam. One Saturday morning I hoped on the train and 2 hours later ended up in this great completely modern architecture city.
It is the second largest city in the Netherlands, and lies on both banks of the Nieuwe Maas, the tidal southern arm of the Rhine. As a big logistic and economic centre it is home to Europe’s largest port, as known as Europort. Thereby, the city is called Gateway of Europe and, conversely Gateway to the World.
The city of Rotterdam is known for the Erasmus University, named by Erasmus of Rotterdam – Dutch/Netherlandish Renaissance humanist, Catholic priest, social critic, teacher, and theologian that who lived in 15 century. A classical scholar that wrote in a pure Latin style editions of the New Testament, which raised questions that would be influential in the Protestant Reformation of 16 century.
Hence, the Erasmus bridge or Erasmusbrug, a combined cable-stayed bridge that has women legs standing upon the air as bridge props. Indeed, a truly weird architecture style – but this is Rotterdam.
But, to start from the beginning, the city heritates from 9 century when the first settlers stard to build the dam because of the floods and high water. The city got name moody waters.
During World War I the city was the world’s largest sp y centre because of Dutch neutrality and its strategic location in between Great-Britain, Germany and German-occupied Belgium. Many spies who were arrested and executed in Britain were led by German secret agents operating from Rotterdam.
During World War II (known as the Rotterdam Blitz) the near-complete destruction of Rotterdam’s city centrehas resulted in a varied architectural landscape including sky-scrapers, which are an uncommon sight in other Dutch cities. Rotterdam is home to some world-famous architecture from renowned architects like Cube Houses – the fine examples of modern architecture block of houses with their unique cube-shaped upper stories 🙂 whatever weirdy Rotterdam 🙂
However, some sites were not completey demolished and renowned after the WWII finished. One of the sites is the St Lawrence church dating from 15 century.
Or simply another example of art nouveau style: Witte Huis or the White Haus – a building and National Heritage Site in Rotterdam, built in 19 century. It is famous as the oldest skyscraper in the world. This 10-storey building is mostly shop center today.
The skyscraper has actually great location by the Oude Haven (Old Harbour) too, built in the 14th century already. Within this ancient harbour, many historic ships are moored. The view of this historic fleet gives the Old Harbour in Rotterdam a unique atmosphere. The Old Harbour also offers a small shipyard, where historic ships are renovated in its old splendour. But what makes the Old Harbour really special is the mix of historic homes and modern design, which is characteristic for Rotterdam and it is a great place to stop and take a moment, enjoying the coffee moment – what my Friend and I did. 🙂
But my defo best place in Rotterdam is the old district of Delfshaven, which unlike much of Rotterdam survived WWII largely unscathed, is consequently one of the most popular spots in this big bustling city. Famous as the birthplace of Admiral Piet Hein, a 16th-century hero of the country’s long war against Spain.
It’s also where, in the Old Church (Oude Kerk), the last service was held in 1620 by the Pilgrim Fathers before sailing for the New World (the event is commemorated with a memorial and bronze tablet).
For all the foodie lovers, temples of gastronomy are not something you necessarily expect in Holland. Yeah there are good cheeses, and that’s it. But the quirky idea of building a food market shaped like an inverted letter U that incorporates apartments in its arch – only Rotterdam – because why the hell not.
For the end of this post, I will quote one of the most famous architects of Rotterdam, Jan Knikker: “Because this is a working-class city, the architecture had to be not too serious. ”