The sculpture "De verwoeste Stad" (The devastated city) by Ossip Zadkine is a symbol of Rotterdam. It commemorates the destruction of the city by the German Air Force on May 14, 1940. The Netherlands capitulated after the attack on Rotterdam. How many people were killed in the attack is not known, but it will have been several thousand. About 25,000 houses were destroyed. The historic center of the city was wiped out. After the war, Rotterdam was rebuilt according to a new concept with modern architecture. The old town of Rotterdam was around the Delftsevaart Canal. The monument stands at Leuvehaven, next to the Maritime Museum.
The new market hall was built in 2014 on the spot where Rotterdam once originated. The gigantic "Rotterdam Markthal" is spanned by an 11,000 square meter work of art by Arno Coenen. In the hall you will find fruit and vegetables but also a lot of Dutch specialties, restaurants and small delicacies. In the market hall there are many food stalls where you can eat while standing. There is a supermarket and parking spaces in the basement. There are also some restaurants on the ground floor where you can sit inside. The new market hall of Rotterdam is also ideal for buying souvenirs.
The late-Gothic church was built between 1449 and 1525. After the bombing attack on Rotterdam in 1940, only the outer walls remained, the interior was completely destroyed by fire. The "Laurenskerk" was rebuilt and opened in 1959 by Queen Juliana. There is a museum in the church, where the story of the cathedral is told. The church does not only serve for worship services it can also be rented for events.
As one of the few buildings in the city center, the City Hall of Rotterdam survived the bombardment in 1940. The "Stadthuis" was erected in 1920 by the architect Henri Evers and is a protected monument of Rotterdam since 1997.
The Beurstraverse is an underground shopping arcade in east-west direction, passing under the main road Coolsingel. You can cross the north-south axis without waiting for traffic lights. The passage was opened in 1996.
The former post office was built between 1915-1922 by G. C. Bremer. The façade of the Art Déco building was clad with limestone, the figures were created by the sculptor Joop van Lunteren. Main attraction is the 22.5 m high counter hall.
The 43 m high Witte Huis is often referred to as the first high-rise on the european continent. It is certainly one of the oldest skyscrapers in Europe built in 1898. But the Midland Grand Hotel in London was built in 1869 at St. Pancras station with a height of 82 m. The town hall of Augsburg was also higher than the Witte Huis at 57 m in 1620. The ten-story Witte Huis was built from steel and concrete and is therefore the first high-rise structure. Since the subsoil in Rotterdam is very soft, piles were driven into the ground to prevent the structure from sinking. The architect of the Art Nouveau building was Willem Molenbroek. The White House survived the German bombing of 1940 and is considered a National Monument of the Netherlands (Rijksmonument).
The 550 m long "Maastunnel" was built between 1937 and 1942. Only the two ventilation buildings of the architects van der Bruggen and van der Steur can be seen above ground. Here you will find the accesses to the pedestrian and cycling tunnel.
The "Delfshaven" was named after the city of Delft. Albrecht I Duke of Holland gave the permission in 1389 to the city of Delft, to built a seaport. Delft is connected to the port via the river Schie. The town of Delfshaven became independent in 1825. In 1886 Delfshaven was incorporated to Rotterdam. Delfshaven is a major tourist spot of Rotterdam, because it still looks like a 17th century painting.
Are there windmills (dutch Windmolens) in Rotterdam? Yes, even more than you think. At Kralingse plas, a lake in the district of Kralingen are two very beautiful mills, which still operate (photo). There is also a windmill in Delfshaven and other historic windmills are located in the suburb of Schiedam.
Welcome to Rotterdam
The center of Rotterdam was destroyed in the WW2 and has a repellent effect on many visitors. Rotterdam is a modern city, very different from pretty Amsterdam. Rotterdam is characterized by the harbor, the New Meuse (Rhine) and many high-rise buildings. Because Rotterdam does not have to be considerate of an pretty old town, very experimental new buildings are constructed.
Where is Rotterdam most beautiful?
You should definitely go to the "Hotel New York", the view from here of the broad stream opens the horizon. The view from "Euromast" is also unique, here you get the whole great panorama of the Rotterdam Skyline. If you want a little bit of Amsterdam atmosphere, you will find an idyllic canal with small gabled houses and a windmill at the "Delfshaven".
Tips for Rotterdam
If you don't have a sense for modern architecture, you won't recognize the charm of Rotterdam. But most of the visitors come to Rotterdam for the architecture. There is a separate section on regiopia >> Architecture in Rotterdam <<.
Rotterdam also has a few must-see museums. The most famous art collection in the city can be found in the Boimans van Beuningen and in the Kunsthal Rotterdam there are interesting exhibitions. The Nederlands Fotomuseum is also highly recommended. In a port city you can of course also find a Maritime Museum with many old ships.