July 14, 2018
Rotterdam is the second-largest city and a municipality of the Netherlands. It is located in the province of South Holland, at the mouth of the Nieuwe Maas channel leading into the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta at the North Sea. Its history goes back to 1270, when a dam was constructed in the Rotte, after which people settled around it for safety. In 1340, Rotterdam was granted city rights by the Count of Holland.
Rotterdam is known for its Erasmus University, its riverside setting and a lively cultural life and maritime heritage. The near-complete destruction of the city centre in the World War II Rotterdam Blitz has resulted in a varied architectural landscape, including sky-scrapers designed by renowned architects such as Rem Koolhaas, Piet Blom and Ben van Berkel.
The city centre is located on the northern bank of the Nieuwe Maas, although recent urban development has extended the centre to parts of southern Rotterdam known as De Kop van Zuid (‘the Head of South’, i.e. the northern part of southern Rotterdam). From its inland core, Rotterdam reaches the North Sea by a swathe of predominantly harbour area.
Built mostly behind dikes, large parts of the Rotterdam are below sea level. For instance, the Prins Alexander polder in the northeast of Rotterdam extends 6 metres (20 ft) below sea level. The lowest point in the Netherlands (6.76 metres below NAP) is situated just to the east of Rotterdam, in the municipality of Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel.
The Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt give waterway access into the heart of Western Europe, including the highly industrialized Ruhr in Germany. The extensive distribution system including rail, roads, and waterways have earned Rotterdam the nicknames “Gateway to Europe” and “Gateway to the World”.
A major logistic and economic centre, Rotterdam is Europe’s largest port, with the rivers Meuse and Rhine providing excellent access to the hinterland upstream reaching to Basel, Switzerland and into France. In 2006, Rotterdam was the world’s seventh largest container port. The port’s main activities are petrochemical industries and general cargo handling and transshipment. The harbour functions as an important transit point for bulk materials between the European continent and overseas. From Rotterdam goods are transported by ship, river barge, train or road. In 2007, the Betuweroute, a new fast freight railway from Rotterdam to Germany, was completed.
Rotterdam has a major university, the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), named after one of the city’s famous former inhabitants, Desiderius Erasmus. In Financial Times’ 2005 rankings, the school placed 29th globally and 7th in Europe. The university is also home to Europe’s largest student association, STAR Study Association Rotterdam School of Management, while the world’s largest student association, AIESEC, has its international office in the city.
There is a healthy competition with Amsterdam, which is often viewed as the cultural capital of the Netherlands. There is a saying: “Amsterdam to party, Den Haag (The Hague) to live, Rotterdam to work”. Another one, more popular by Rotterdammers, is “Money is earned in Rotterdam, distributed in The Hague and spent in Amsterdam”.
(Narrative excerpted from Wikipedia)