“It takes more than 100 years to rebuild a city that has been bombed to the ground… The people from Rotterdam did not look back in history. Don’t think about the past, they said, look at the future.”
— Wim Pijbes
After the bombs, they built bridges.
Modern day Rotterdam bears little resemblance to the Rotterdam of old, a city reduced to rubble in May 1940 to force a fearful Netherlands into an early surrender so that the German airforce would not repeat the feat upon its other great cities.
From ashes and dust, Rotterdam 2.0 would eventually emerge with an ambitious emphasis on experimental structures and new approaches to urban living, whilst preserving its outward looking tilt and an international identity shaped by the river and seas.
With world leading architects unencumbered by the need to respect historical skylines or aesthetic standards on a ‘blank slate’ space, this means that Rotterdam is a city which may not be to every city breaker’s tastes; the cobblestones and filmset ready streets of old Europe greats like Amsterdam, Paris, and Brussels are not to be found here, and this is important to know before you arrive.
However, for the curious with an appreciation of post-war design and unconventional geometric building blocks, who wish to ride a bicycle over, under, and through these masterpieces, and who adore the sense of visiting a forward-looking city which is not defined by tourists but rather by those who call it home, Rotterdam is the place for you.
It’s unconventional. It’s modern. And it’s also (Rotter)damn cool.
We could write whole articles about what to see and do in Rotterdam, but perhaps the best way is to make them fall in love thanks to the photos, on your own you’ll understand why it’s worth spending a few days there!
So … here you are Rotterdam!