Rotterdam, Netherlands

Rotterdam, Netherlands

According to computergees, Rotterdam, is a port city in the province of South Holland, Netherlands, in the mouth of the Rhine on the Neue Maas, with (2018) 638 700 residents (1965: 731 600 residents) the second largest city in the Netherlands (after Amsterdam). The important trading and port center Rotterdam is located in the south of Randstad Holland. The lock-free waterway from the North Sea to Rotterdam (Nieuwe Waterweg) remained open after the construction of the Delta Works (1950–86), but can be closed by a storm surge barrier (completed in 1997) if there is a risk of flooding. The Rotterdam exclave Hoek van Holland lies at the mouth of the Nieuwe Waterweg. Cooperation with neighboring communities (including Capelle aan den IJssel, Schiedam, Vlaardingen, Maassluis, Ridderkerk, Spijkenisse, Rozenburg) takes place in the Rijnmond planning community.

Rotterdam is the Catholic bishopric; Erasmus University (1973 emerged from the Dutch Business School and Medical Faculty Rotterdam), technical colleges, academies for fine arts and architecture, conservatory, economic research institute, architecture institute, natural history museum, museum Rotterdam, maritime museum, museum Boymans van Beuningen (important art collection), photo museum, Kunsthalle, Völkerkundemuseum, Museum of Contemporary Art; several theaters, concert and congress center “De Doelen”; Zoological Garden.

The city is the seat of numerous shipping-related institutions and wholesalers. In total, more than 60,000 people are employed in the traffic and trade-related areas, in port operations and in port-based industry (2014). The labor-intensive port operation has been transformed into a computer-controlled logistics center since the 1980s. The port-based industry mainly includes steel and mechanical engineering, car assembly plants, oil refineries, fertilizer and detergent factories, large mills, cable, electrotechnical, clothing, paper, food and luxury goods industries as well as the declining shipbuilding industry.

In terms of sea handling with (2016) 461.2 million t, Rotterdam is one of the largest ports in the world. With a throughput of 12.4 million TEU, Rotterdam is also one of the largest container ports in the world. Canals and arms of the Rhine connect Rotterdam with the hinterland, especially with Germany, Belgium and France, so that a large part of the goods in traffic with the hinterland is carried on inland waterways. The harbor basins are mainly lined up along the left bank of the New Maas, with the ones close to the city used in particular for general cargo and container handling. The oil ports, the Botlek port and especially the Europoort are used for bulk cargo handling. From 1966 the Maasvlakte was created in the west as a port and industrial area; an extension of the port and commercial area (Maasvlakte II) to new land is under construction; the first phase (port expansion) was completed in May 2013. With its five refineries, Rotterdam has the largest crude oil processing capacity in the world and is an important starting point for the European crude oil and product pipeline network. A subway (since 1968), bridges and tunnels connect the districts in the north and south of the New Maas (the southern districts are on the delta island of IJsselmonde). 1987–93 a four-track railway tunnel was built under the New Maas (Willemsspoortunnel; 2,796 m long, tunnel floor 15.3 m below sea level) for traffic between Rotterdam and Dordrecht. A new railway line (“Betuwe Line”) for freight transport between Rotterdam and Germany was put into operation in 2007. Ferry services to England exist from Hoek van Holland and Europoort. Rotterdam Airport is located in the north-west of the city, in the Zestienhoven polder.


The city was badly damaged in the Second World War (especially by the German air raid on May 14, 1940). Of the historical buildings, among others. the Gothic Sint-Laurenskerk (also »Grote Kerk«; around 1460–1525) and the Schielandshuis (1662–65; now a museum) have been restored. The reconstruction, in which leading architects (including J. B. Bakema and J. J. P. Oud) participated, was used as a radical new beginning. The town planning was based on a new grid. Since the reconstruction, old Rotterdam has formed the core of an approximately 20 km long ribbon of industrial and residential complexes along the Nieuwe Waterweg to the North Sea. Broad shopping streets emerged in the city center, including the pedestrian-only shopping street »Lijnbaan« (1949–53 by Bakema and J. H. van den Broek) and the department store “De Bijenkorf” (1957–58 by M. Breuer), before that the sculpture “Construction” by Naum Gabo (1957). O. Zadkine created the memorial for the destroyed city (1953).

Among the numerous modern buildings, the following should also be emphasized: the cube apartments by Piet Blom from the late 1970s, the Museum Island with the Kunsthalle (1987–92, by Rem Koolhaas and his office OMA), the Architecture Institute (NAI; 1989–93, by Jo Coenen) and the Children’s Art Museum (1997, by Sjoerd Soeters); the Schouwburgplein (1990–97, by Adriaan Geuze), where the concert and congress building “De Doelen” (1966) and the municipal theater (1982–88) are located; the 150 m high Delftse Poort (opened in 1992). The landmark of the port of Rotterdam is the 180 m high Euromast. Instead of the Willemsbrug, a new suspension bridge was built in 1982. The 800 m long Erasmus Bridge over the Neue Maas (opened in 1996, by B. van Berkel) connects the city center with the “De Kop van Zuid” district, which, in addition to the port expansion, represents the largest urban development project in Rotterdam in recent times. The Fortis Bank (completed in 1996, by H. Jahn), the World Port Center (completed in 2000, by Foster & Partners), the Toren op Zuid (completed in 2000, by R. Piano), the Montevideo (opened in 2005, by the architects »Mecanoo«) and the three-tower high-rise complex De Rotterdam (completed in 2013, by Rem Koolhaas) are particularly noteworthy. A notable industrial building from the early 20th century is the Fabriek Van Nelle (1926–30, by J. A. Brinkman et al.; UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2014). In March 2014 the new station building Rotterdam Centraal (by Benthem Crouwel) was opened. – In 2001 Rotterdam was »European City of Culture«.

Rotterdam, Netherlands


Rotterdam is named after the right Delta tributary Rotte, which was blocked off by a dam. Mentioned for the first time in 1283, it received city rights in 1299, then in 1340. As a port, it initially lagged behind Briel and Dordrecht and only gained importance through the herring fishery, the import of wool and grain and the export of cloth. The city experienced a great boom as a trading center in the 17th century. Due to the silting up of the port, shipping almost completely came to a standstill by the beginning of the 19th century. It was not until the Nieuwe Waterweg, laid out in 1866–72, that Rotterdam flourished again.