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Rotterdam
Flag of Rotterdam
Flag
Official seal of Rotterdam
Seal
Nickname(s): R'dam, Manhattan on the Maas
Location of Rotterdam within the Netherlands
Location of Rotterdam within the Netherlands
Area
 • City 319 km2 (123 sq mi)
 • Land 206 km2 (80 sq mi)
 • Water 113 km2 (44 sq mi)
Population
 • Density 2,850/km2 (7,400/sq mi)
 • Urban 2.100.000
 • Metro 6.659.300
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Area code(s) 010
Website www.rotterdam.nl

Rotterdam is the second largest city in the Netherlands. About 603,000 people live there. In the urban area, there are about 1.1 million people. Rotterdam also has one of the biggest, and busiest ports in the world. It is the biggest and busiest port in Europe. The city is on several rivers, most notably the Maas. Rotterdam, like all of the Netherlands, has an oceanic climate (Cfb in the Koeppen climate classification).

History

A dam was built in 1260 across the river Rotte where the Hoogstraat is now. The name Rotterdam comes from this dam. The settlement was a regular fishing village at first, but became a thriving trading port pretty soon. The city got city rights in 1340 and city walls in 1360. Rotterdam became a important city in Holland in the middle of the 15th century when it won little wars against Delft and Gouda. From 1449 until 1525 a Gothic church (Laurenskerk) was built. The city then hold about 10,000 people. The city revolted against Spanish occupation in 1573, becoming one of the main city's of the Eighty Years' War. The port of Rotterdam grew a lot in the late 16th century and early 17th century. In the end of the 17th century the city hold almost 50,000 people. But the city had not built outside of the city walls. The city became very crowded. The port of Rotterdam became bigger and bigger in the 19th century when several new canals were digged. These were: Nieuwe Waterweg (lit: New Waterway), and Voornse Kanaal. The city is growing very fast due the enormous amount of work in the port. The city grows from 160,000 people in 1880 to 315,000 in 1900. Various new districts were build, including Cool, Crooswerk, and Nieuwe Westen. Neighbouring places also became part of Rotterdam. In 1920, the city held more than 500,000 people for the first time in its history

Second World War

Rotterdam, Laurenskerk, na bombardement van mei 1940
Rotterdam after the bombardment around the Laurenskerk
Rotterdambrandgrens02
Project Brandgrens (fire-border) in the night of May 15th 2007

When Nazi Germany attacked the Netherlands in May 1940 heavy fighting occurred in Rotterdam. When the Dutch were holding the city, the Germans bombarded Rotterdam on May 14, 1940. The damage was huge; 24,000 buildings were destroyed in only 15 minutes, and there was virtually nothing left of the old centre of Rotterdam. 800 people died instantly, and 80,000 were homeless. The bombardment also destroyed the Willemsbrigde, one of the two brigdes across the Maas at that time. The Germans repaired the bridge quickly, as it was of vital importance for the city. During the German occupation, the neighbouring places of Hillegersberg, Schiebroek, Overschie, Kralingseveer and Ijsselmonde are annexed (put by) by Rotterdam. On November 11th, 1944, a large razzia took place. About 50,000 men from 17–40 years old from Rotterdam were deported into working camps. The city also lost many people in the famine of 1944 (hongerwinter (lit: Winter of hunger)).

After the war

Rotterdam Erasmusbrug bij avond vanaf hoek Veerhaven-Westerkade
Erasmusbrigde as seen from the old harbor

Rotterdam was quickly rebuild after the war, but modernization led to the fact that many old buildings were not repaired, but replaced by totally new ones. The has led to the fact that the centre of Rotterdam is composed of new buildings, a thing not common in European city's. The ports of Rotterdam grow even more during the latter part of the 20th century. New area's, build right in the sea are Botlek, Maasvlakte, and Europoort. The Euromast (185 m high) becomes an icon of Rotterdam. De metro of Rotterdam is opened in 1968, which then is the first metro in the Netherlands. The 1990s saw an increase of skyscrapers. The Delftse Poort which was ready in 1991 was the highest skyscraper in the Netherlands, with 151 m high, until the Maastoren became the highest building in 2009 with 165 m. The new Erasmusbridge which was ready in 1996 gave Rotterdam a new symbol.

Geography

Rotterdam-plaats-OpenTopo
Topographic map image of Rotterdam (city), as of Sept. 2014

'Rotterdam' is divided into a northern and a southern part by the river Nieuwe Maas, connected by (from west to east): the Beneluxtunnel; the Maastunnel; the Erasmusbrug ('Erasmus Bridge'); a subway tunnel; the Willemsspoortunnel ('Willems railway tunnel'); the Willemsbrug ('Willems Bridge'); the Koninginnebrug ('Queen's Bridge'); and the Van Brienenoordbrug ('Van Brienenoord Bridge'). The former railway lift bridge De Hef ('the Lift') is preserved as a monument in lifted position between the Noordereiland ('North Island') and the south of Rotterdam.

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, or rather below Normaal Amsterdams Peil (NAP) or 'Amsterdam Ordnance Datum'. The lowest point in the Netherlands (6.76 metres (22.2 ft) below NAP) is situated just to the east of Rotterdam, in the municipality of Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel.

Rotterdam by Sentinel-2
Satellite image of Rotterdam and its port

The Rotte river no longer joins the Nieuwe Maas directly. Since the early 1980s, when the construction of Rotterdam’s second subway line interfered with the Rotte’s course, its waters have been pumped through a pipe into the Nieuwe Maas via the Boerengat.

Metropoolregio Rotterdam Den Haag (Rotterdam The Hague Metropolitan Area)
The 24 municipalities of the Rotterdam The Hague Metropolitan Area

Between the summers of 2003 and 2008, an artificial beach was created at the Boompjeskade along the Nieuwe Maas, between the Erasmus Bridge and the Willems Bridge. Swimming was not possible, digging pits was limited to the height of the layer of sand, about 50 cm (20 in). Alternatively people go the beach of Hoek van Holland (which is a Rotterdam district) or one of the beaches in Zeeland: Renesse or the Zuid Hollandse Eilanden: Ouddorp, Oostvoorne.

Rotterdam forms the centre of the Rijnmond conurbation, bordering the conurbation surrounding The Hague to the north-west. The two conurbations are close enough to be a single conurbation. They share the Rotterdam The Hague Airport and a light rail system called RandstadRail. Consideration is being given to creating an official Metropolitan region Rotterdam The Hague (Metropoolregio Rotterdam Den Haag), which would have a combined population approaching 2.5 million.

On its turn, the Rijnmond conurbation is part of the southern wing (the Zuidvleugel) of the Randstad, which is one of the most important economic and densely populated areas in the north-west of Europe. Having a population of 7.1 million, the Randstad is the sixth-largest urban area in Europe (after Moscow, London, Paris, Istanbul, and the Rhein-Ruhr Area). The Zuidvleugel, situated in the province of South Holland, has a population of around 3 million.

Climate

Rotterdam experiences a temperate oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb) similar to all of the coastal areas in Netherlands. Located near to the coast, its climate is slightly milder than locations further inland. Winters are cool with frequent cold days, while the summers are mild to warm, with occasional hot temperatures. Temperatures above 30 °C are not rare during summer, while tempatures rarely drop below -5 °C during winter. The following climate box is from the airport, which is slightly cooler than the city, being surrounded by water canals which make the climate milder and with a higher Relative Humidity. The city experiences the Urban heat island effect, especially inside the city centre.

Neighbourhoods

The city of Rotterdam is split up into 13 districts, each with a number of neigbhourhoods. The districts are:

  • Centrum
  • Charlois
  • Delfshaven
  • Feijenoord
  • Hoek van Holland
  • Hoogvliet
  • IJsselmonde
  • Kralingen-Crooswijk
  • Noord
  • Overschie
  • Pernis
  • Alexander

Some notable people from Rotterdam

Economy

Rotterdam NationaleNederlanden
Gebouw Delftse Poort, one of the tallest office buildings in the Netherlands

Rotterdam has always been one of the main centres of the shipping industry in the Netherlands. From the Rotterdam Chamber of the VOC, the world's first multinational, established in 1602, to the merchant shipping leader Royal Nedlloyd established in 1970, with its corporate headquarters located in the landmark building the 'Willemswerf' in 1988. In 1997, Nedlloyd merged with the British shipping industry leader P&O forming the third largest merchant shipping company in the world. The Anglo-Dutch P&O Nedlloyd was bought by the Danish giant corporation 'AP Moller Maersk' in 2005 and its Dutch operations are still headquartered in the 'Willemswerf'.

Nowadays, well-known companies with headquarters in Rotterdam are consumers goods company Unilever, asset management firm Robeco, energy company Eneco, dredging company Van Oord, oil company Shell Downstream, terminal operator Vopak, commodity trading company Vitol and architecture firm Office for Metropolitan Architecture. It is also home to the regional headquarters of chemical company LyondellBasell, commodities trading company Glencore, pharmaceutical company Pfizer, logistics companies Stolt-Nielsen, electrical equipment company ABB Group and consumer goods company Procter & Gamble. Furthermore, Rotterdam has the Dutch headquarters of Allianz, Maersk, Petrobras, Samskip, Louis Dreyfus Group, Aon and MP Objects.

Being the largest port and one of the largest cities of the country, Rotterdam attracts many people seeking jobs, especially in the cheap labour segment. The city's unemployment rate is 12%, almost twice the national average.

Culture

HerdenkingVuurgrensRotterdam1940 2007 edit1
Rotterdam waterfront, with spotlights shining into the air to commemorate the Rotterdam Blitz

Alongside Porto, Rotterdam was European Capital of Culture in 2001. The city has its own orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, with its well-regarded young music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin; a large congress and concert building called De Doelen; several theaters (including the new Luxor) and movie theatres; and the Rotterdam Ahoy complex in the south of the city, which is used for pop concerts, exhibitions, tennis tournaments, and other activities. A major zoo called Diergaarde Blijdorp is situated at the northwest side of Rotterdam, complete with a walkthrough sea aquarium called the Oceanium.

Rotterdam features some urban architecture projects, nightlife, and many summer festivals celebrating the city's multicultural population and identity, such as the Caribbean-inspired "Summer Carnival", the Dance Parade, Rotterdam 666, the Metropolis pop festival and the World Port days.

Marathon

Hardlopers marathon in Rotterdam
Runners during the marathon in Rotterdam

Rotterdam has its own annual international marathon, which offers one of the fastest courses in the world. From 1985 until 1998, the world record was set in Rotterdam, first by Carlos Lopes and later in 1988 by Belayneh Densamo.

In 1998, the world record for women was set by Tegla Loroupe, in a time of 2:20.47. Loroupe won the Rotterdam Marathon three consecutive times, from 1997 to 1999.

The current track record for men is held by Duncan Kibet, who ran a time of 2:04.27 in 2009. The female record was set in 2012, when Tiki Gelana finished the race in 2:18.58. Gelana went on to become the 2012 Olympic champion in London, a few months later.

The marathon starts and ends on the Coolsingel in the heart of Rotterdam. It attracts a total of 900.000 visitors.

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