Theme Week Netherlands – Rotterdam, Manhattan on the Maas

January 16th, 2011 | Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, European Union, General, European Capital of Culture |

Museumschip Zr Ms Buffel © Quistnix

Museumschip Zr Ms Buffel © Quistnix

Rotterdam is a city and municipality in the Dutch province of South Holland, situated in the west of the Netherlands. The municipality is the second largest in the country, with a population of 600,000. The greater Rotterdam area is often known as “Rotterdam-Rijnmond”/”Rijnmond region” (Rijnmond literally translates into “Rhine’s mouth”, referring to Rotterdam’s location at the end of the Rhine-delta and its economic position as Europe’s main port), yet other versions can be suggested for greater Rotterdam. Depending on what version is chosen, the area contains between 1.2 and 1.4 million people. When including The Hague, with whom Rotterdam now shares the Rotterdam The Hague Airport and city-lightrail RandstadRail, the enlarged region approaches 2.5 million inhabitants. It forms the southern part of the Randstad, the sixth-largest metropolitan area in Europe, with a population of 6.7 million.

Maas © Massimo Catarinella

Maas © Massimo Catarinella

The port of Rotterdam is the largest in Europe. From 1962 to 2004 it was the world’s busiest port until surpassed by Shanghai. Rotterdam is on the banks of the river Nieuwe Maas (“New Meuse”), one of the channels in the delta formed by the Rhine and Meuse rivers. The name Rotterdam derives from a dam in the Rotte river. Rotterdam has always been one of the main centers of the shipping industry in the Netherlands. From the Rotterdam Chamber of the VOC, the worlds 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 head quartered in the “Willemswerf”. Rotterdam is also home to the Dutch half of the anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever, and Mittal Steel Company N.V., subsidiary of Luxembourg-based Arcelor Mittal, the world’s largest steel company.

Historical Museum © Andre Engels

Historical Museum © Andre Engels

Alongside Porto, Rotterdam was European Capital of Culture in 2001. The city has its own orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra with its world famous musical director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, a large congress and concert building called De Doelen, plus many theatres (including the new Luxor theatre) and movie theatres. The Ahoy complex in the south of the city 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 Harbour © Debot

Rotterdam Harbour © Debot

In 1898, the 45 meter high-rise office building the White House (or in official Dutch Witte Huis) was completed, at that time the tallest office building in Europe. In the first decades of the 20th century, some influential architecture in the modern style was built in Rotterdam. Notable are the Van Nelle fabriek (1929) a monument of modern factory design by Brinkman en Van der Vlugt, the Jugendstil clubhouse of the Royal Maas Yacht Club designed by Hooijkaas jr. en Brinkman (1909), and Feyenoord’s football stadium de Kuip (1936) also by Brinkman en Van der Vlugt. The architect J. J. P. Oud was a famous Rotterdammer in those days. During the early stages of World War II the center of Rotterdam was bombed by the Germans, destroying many of the older buildings in the center of the city. After initial crisis re-construction the center of Rotterdam has become the site of ambitious new architecture. Rotterdam is also famous for its Kubuswoningen or cube houses built by architect Piet Blom in 1984. In addition to that there are many international well known architects based in Rotterdam like O.M.A (Rem Koolhaas), MVRDV, Neutelings & Riedijk and Erick van Egeraat to name a few.

Residential building Montevideo © Rottermaas

Residential building Montevideo © Rottermaas

Rotterdam has a reputation in being a platform for architectural development and education through the Berlage Institute, a postgraduate laboratory of architecture, and the NAi (Netherlands Architecture Institute), which is open to the public and has a variety of good exhibitions on architecture and urban planning issues. Rotterdam is standing in the best European SkylineTop together with Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Paris, Warsaw, Brussels and Moscow. Over 30 new highrise projects are being developed at the moment, including the 165 meters (541 ft) high ‘Maas Tower’, the ‘New Orleans Tower’, which will be about 158 meters (518 ft) and the Zalmhaven Urban Tower 212 meters (696 ft).

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facepage pages/Twitter accounts. Read more on City of Rotterdam, holland.com – Rotterdam and Wikipedia Rotterdam. Learn more about the use of photos.



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