Anyone who wants to know what European cities will look like in thirty or forty years should go to Rotterdam. This city was far ahead of its time both in appearance and outlook. The buildings here are alien and unusual: on the same square, houses in the form of a constructor, a mushroom, a hangar and even a sewer hatch are adjacent to each other. There is a tower that resembles the mast of a ship, as well as a bridge that looks like a swan.Such a number of unusual sights cannot be found in any other city in the world.
Rotterdam is located in the province of South Holland (Zuid-Holland), in the western part of the Netherlands (Nederland). From Amsterdam, the capital of the country, Rotterdam is located 74 km southwest.
The area of Rotterdam is 320 km2, inhabited by more than 600 thousand people. People of various nationalities live here:
- 50% - Dutch
- 25 % - Surinamese (a country in the east of South America), Turks, Moroccans;
- the rest are immigrants from the Netherlands Antilles (the former autonomy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South America), southern Europeans and other immigrants from developed and undeveloped countries.
The Nieuwe Maas river flows through Rotterdam, which, a few kilometers from the city, merges with the river. Oude Maas, one of the tributaries of the Rhine. The result is the Scheur River, which flows into the North Sea (Noordzee).In total, the distance from Rotterdam to the North Sea is 33 km.Despite this distance, the city is the largest port in Europe, with a length of 40 km. Until 2004, it was the largest in the world.
From the northeastern part, the Rotte River flows into Rotterdam, passing into the Stokviswater Canal in the city center. Previously, Rott was connected to the Nieuwe-Meuse via canals, but after the construction of the East-West metro line, the direct connection between them was interrupted - and now Rott flows through an underground tunnel in the Oostplein quarter.
It should be noted here thatthere are a lot of canals in Rotterdam... Therefore, boats are everywhere and everywhere, and some of them are the same public transport as a bus or taxi.
- I advise you to read about:the best hotels in Rotterdam- Where to stay?
Rotterdam owes its history to its unusual appearance and unique architecture. Everything was here - ups and downs, prosperity and destruction. And every time after the collapse, the townspeople rebuilt the city and became stronger. Therefore, the motto of Rotterdam is the phrase: "Sterker door strijd!" - which means "Strong in the fight!"
The birth of the city
The first mention of Rotterdam is associated with the construction of a dam on the Rotte River, which was erected by local residents in 1283 to protect the land from floods. Thanks to this river, the settlement located here got its name: Rotterdam in translation means "Dam on the Rotte River". Although the literal translation of the word "Rotte" means rotten, historians are more inclined towards a different interpretation. They argue that the name of the river comes from the word "Rotta", which means "muddy water". Another option is "Rootte" or "standing water".
At first, fishermen predominated among the inhabitants of Rotterdam. But thanks to its favorable location, the settlement soon became a center of trade, which led to the appearance of the first ports.In 1299, the fifteen-year-old Count of Holland, Jan I van Holland, granted Rotterdam the status of a city.In the same year, he and his guardian were killed, and many believe that after that the city rights were taken away from Rotterdam, but many disagree with this opinion.
In any case, in 1340 Count Wilhelm IV of Holland, either renewed the status of the city, or approved it. By this time, already 2 thousand people lived in Rotterdam. In the same period, construction began on the Rotterdamse Schie canal, which connected the city with the canals of the Netherlands, which facilitated maritime trade between the locals and the Germans and the British. That is why, after a while, Rotterdam became the port in which the main trade turnover between Great Britain and Germany took place.
Thus, Rotterdam in the XIV century. began to develop actively, and under the influence of the European Renaissance, local residents were carried away by science and art. In 1466, one of the most famous Dutch scientists and writers, Erasmus of Rotterdam (Desiderius Erasmus), was born here.
The struggle for independence
In 1556, the lands of the Netherlands began to belong to the Spanish king Philip II of Habsburg (Filips II van Spanje). The Dutch were not happy with his rule, and therefore, twenty years later, they rebelled against Spain. When the Spanish governor, Count Maximiliaan van Hénin-Liétard, sacked the city with his men in 1572, the Rotterdam people joined the rebels. Despite this, military actions bypassed the city. In 1581, the independent Republic of the United Provinces of the Netherlands (Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden) was formed, and Rotterdam became part of it within the province of Holland.
By the end of the 17th century. the population of Rotterdam was 50 thousand people, and the city was overcrowded. At the same time, it did not expand for a long time, being limited by fortress walls and ditches: local residents began to settle on new lands only in 1825.In the second half of the XIX century. the New Waterway (Nieuwe Waterweg gegraven) was built, connecting Rotterdam with the North Sea... The need for its appearance was due to the fact that sea vessels became too large to safely navigate the old sea routes, while the river delta began to be clogged with silt. The emergence of the new channel marks another round in the development of Rotterdam.
The Second World War destroyed Rotterdam to the ground.The Nazis planned to crush the resistance of the Rotterdamians in one day, but the Dutch fought back more fiercely than the Germans had hoped. Then the Nazis announced an air raid on Rotterdam on May 14, 1940 - and put forward a demand: either the Dutch surrender, or the city will be bombed. The Dutch surrendered and the bombing was canceled.
But sixty out of a hundred bombers, for some reason, did not receive an order to cancel the operation, and dropped 97 tons of bombs on the city.
The center, the historic part of Rotterdam, was especially badly hit. This led to severe fires, due to which 24 thousand houses burned to the ground, 800 Rotterdam residents died, 80 thousand were left homeless. The bombing proved to be the last battle of the Dutch against the Wehrmacht: realizing its inability to defend against air attacks, the Netherlands surrendered.
Interestingly, the bombing of Rotterdam was the reason that Great Britain, which had not bombed Germany before, changed its strategy. And the very next night, her planes made the first raid on the Ruhr region.
In November 1944, the Nazis took 52 thousand men aged 17 to 40 from Rotterdam to concentration camps.The city remained under occupation for another six months, and it was liberated only in May 1945. After the war, the Rotterdam people actively began to rebuild the city, and after a few years the port began to work at full capacity, in the 60s. the subway opened.
What to see in Rotterdam in one day?
Starting to rebuild Rotterdam after World War II, the locals decided that their city should be bright and unusual, so they gave preference to the most daring projects. This is how a cube house, an iceberg-shaped building, a children's designer, a mushroom, a swan-shaped bridge and many other interesting sights appeared.
Church of St. Lawrence
St. Lawrence Cathedral (Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk) is the only medieval monument in Rotterdam.
The construction of the temple dragged on for almost a hundred years: they began to build it in 1449, finished in 1525. At first the church belonged to Catholics, but after the Reformation, the building passed to the Protestants, which is why many altars and statues were destroyed, and the interior was converted to Protestant service.
During the bombing, the cathedral was almost destroyed, so when the city was rebuilt, they wanted to completely demolish it. But many spoke out categorically against this decision.The restoration took sixteen years, and the temple was opened to parishioners in 1968.
But here, too, the Rotterdam team distinguished themselves. Although the building looks like a typical Gothic church from the outside, the inside is striking in its modernity. In addition to the organs, bronze doors, the architects created an art space inside the temple. Eternally burning lights, as well as strange sparkling installation mirrors, on which the inscription “I will live!” Appears from time to time, cannot leave indifferent.
There is a cafe inside the temple where you can talk about God over a cup of tea. One of the chapels houses an exposition dedicated to the history of the church and the city. There is also a space allocated for the exhibition of world religions, where each teaching is captured in a certain picture, which is a moving installation. In addition to services, the church regularly hosts organ music concerts and various social events.
- Address: Grotekerkplein, 27;
- Web sites:www.kerkenindelaurens.nl; laurenskerkrotterdam.nl;
- Working hours: from 11 to 17.00, from April to October: from Tuesday to Saturday, from November to March - Friday, Saturday, Tuesday.
- Church visit fee: from 12 years old 2 €, self-guided tour of the church 5 €, in a group - 10 €, + 4.5 €, per person. Museum: adults 3 €, from 13 to 18 years old - 2 €, up to 12 years old - free. Tower: adults 5 €, 12-18 years old - 3.5 €.
Village of mills
All tourists who come to Rotterdam must go to the village of Kinderdijk mills, which is 15 km east of Rotterdam. There are nineteen windmills here, which were built in 1740 not to grind flour, but to drain the flooded areas and prevent flooding.
The mills are also interesting because many of them are still inhabited: hereditary millers live here.
If desired, such a structure can be bought for 1 million €. But to settle here, owning a mill is not enough: first you need to become a miller, for which to take special courses. Some mills are still in operation and are open to tourists. Therefore, anyone can appreciate how millers lived several centuries ago.
- Address: Nederwaard 1, 2961 AS Kinderdijk. The road from Rotterdam takes 27 minutes. by car, by train 46 min. In summer it is better to take a ferry;
- Working hours: from 9.30 to 17.00;
- Ticket price: admission to the territory of the village is free. A visit to the mill for adults - 6 €, for children - 4 €.
One of the most famous buildings in Rotterdam are the 40 cubic buildings (Kubuswoning), built in 1984 on Overblaak Street by Piet Blom. An unusual decision of the architect was that he installed the cube not at the bottom, but at the top of the building. That is, the first two floors are straight, the other two are placed in a polyhedron, thus giving the building the shape of a tree.
At the same time, these houses are connected into one structure, being a single complex.
The general plan of each house is approximately as follows:
- 1st floor - entrance;
- 2nd tier - kitchen and living room;
- 3rd floor - bathroom and two bedrooms;
- 4th tier - in some houses there is a garden.
These houses are inhabited by ordinary people who sometimes agree to give tourists a tour for 2.5 €. One of them has a hostel where you can rent a bed for 21 € per night.But don't expect to see anything extraordinary inside.On the upper floors, the walls and windows are tilted at an angle of 54.7 °, the roofs have windows, which allows a lot of light to enter the building.
- Overblaak, 70;
- Web site:www.kubuswoning.nl.
Rotterdam call the Euromast a 185 m high tower, which was built in 1960. It is made of concrete, has 9 m in diameter and a rather thin wall - up to 30 cm.To give the structure stability, the weight of the concrete foundation blocks reaches almost two tons.
At an altitude of 96 m, there is an observation deck called Crow's Nest.
At first, the tower was much lower - 101 m and for a long time was considered the tallest building in the city. Then numerous skyscrapers appeared around, which "swallowed" Euromast, but not for long:in 1970, a spire was completed above the observation deck, increasing its height by 84 m.A transparent elevator rises to the top of the tower from the Crow's Nest, revolving around its axis. Visitors sit with their backs to the tower, and for the convenience of exploring the surroundings, there are transparent hatches in the floor. It looks extreme, but whoever has little drive can go down the tightrope from the Euromatchta. This pleasure costs 55 €.
There are several establishments on the main platform, where the observation deck is located. Most of the upper platform is occupied by the prestigious and expensive De Rottiserie restaurant. A cheaper cafe is located below it, but prices still bite.
Also on the upper tier of the platform there are two super-luxury hotel rooms.
You need to pay for a double apartment 385 €. Although the room is very comfortable, keep in mind that the walls here are glass, and the apartments are located in the middle of the observation deck, where tourists walk during the day, who can perfectly see everything that happens in the room. But from ten in the evening until ten in the morning there is no one on the observation deck, so it is completely at the disposal of the hotel guest. And the views from here are amazing:Euromast observation decks are considered the best in the city.
- Address: Parkhaven, 20;
- Web site:www.euromast.nl;
- Ticket price: children from 4 to 11 years old - 6.25 €, adults up to 65 years old - 9.75 €, after 65 years - 8.75 €. Cash is not accepted: payment only by bank cards.
You may need an overviewbest hostels in Rotterdam
How to get from Amsterdam
Since Rotterdam is located 74 km from Amsterdam, you can get here from the capital of the Netherlands within an hour. The best way is to take a train, bus or car.
Train leaves from Amsterdam depart every ten minutes. The first flight leaves at half past five in the morning, the last one at midnight. Trains run from two stations - Station Amsterdam-Zuid and Amsterdam Centraal. Some routes run via Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
The road takes from 35 to 40 minutes if you go by a direct train, without changes. If you didn't get a ticket for a direct train, it doesn't matter. The delay on the way is no more than half an hour. For a ticket in a second-class carriage, you have to pay 15.2 €, for the first one - 25.8 €. More details about the schedule and prices can be found on the website:www.ns.nl... At the same time, it should be noted that it is indicated here whether a transfer is provided, travel time, and whether it is necessary to pay extra for a ticket in excess of the established price.
Although it is cheaper to get from Amsterdam to Rotterdam by bus, it is not very convenient, since there are from three to six flights per day, depending on the day of the week. The bus leaves from Amsterdam Sloterdijk Station and goes to Rotterdam Central Station.
The road takes from one and a half to two and a half hours. The ticket costs from 7 to 10 €. More details about the ticket price and the bus schedule can be found here:www.flixbus.ru.
A car from Amsterdam to Rotterdam can be reached in an hour along the A4 highway. To do this, first take the A10 (Amsterdam-West), bypassing Damrak, Haarlemmer Houttuinen and Haarlemmerweg / s103. This part of the journey will take 17 minutes. After that, take A4 / E19 and A13 towards Stadhoudersweg / S113 (Noord, Rotterdam). It will take 40 minutes to overcome this segment. Continue on Stadhoudersweg towards S112 (Centrum). Rotterdam will appear in 6 minutes.
Why come here
Anyone interested in contemporary art should see the sights of Rotterdam.Skyscrapers of amazing design, magnificent panoramas, interesting entertainment, water taxi and tram - the city of the future will not leave curious tourists indifferent.