Rotterdam, Netherlands. What to see?

Rotterdam, Netherlands. What to see?

To feel like a hero of the novel “Silver Skates”, cutting a perfectly smooth surface of the frozen canal in winter, or dashingly pedaling along one ancient mill after another in summer is possible, perhaps, only in Kinderdijk – a tiny and terribly cozy village near Rotterdam.

Rotterdam’s Old Harbor

Rotterdam’s Old Harbor (De Oude Haven) has a special quality: it allows you to see the city as it could be. The secret is simple: the historic center of Rotterdam was almost completely destroyed by German aircraft in 1940, but the Old Harbor survived the night bombing.

Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam

Erasmusbrug (i.e. Erasmus Bridge) is familiar to all tourists who have ever been to Rotterdam. This is probably the most famous building of the city, its symbol, its calling card. And there are many reasons for this.

The White House in Rotterdam

Rotterdam has its own “White House”, but it has nothing to do with politics. And that doesn’t make it any less interesting, because it’s Europe’s first skyscraper and a very distinctive building in its own right.

The Euromast in Rotterdam

The famous Rotterdam Euromast is called in Dutch in a very similar way – Euromast. This is not surprising: many shipbuilding terms came into the Russian language from the Dutch along with the reforms and ideas of Peter the Great. The name reflects the essence quite accurately.

De Rotterdam complex

The ensemble of three adjoining towers De Rotterdam is the largest building in the Netherlands. This “vertical city” stands next to the famous Erasmus Bridge. The multifunctional complex was designed by the OMA architectural bureau under the direction of the famous Rem Koolhaas.

The Cubist House Rotterdam

The Cube House in Rotterdam is one of the most striking sights in the city. If you come here, it’s easy to see why: raised above the ground and upside down at a strange angle, the cube houses on their pillars still look avant-garde.

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The Red Apple skyscraper

Rotterdam is famous for its modern architecture, but even amidst the outstanding modernist structures, the Red Apple skyscraper looks quite original. The 124-meter tower has a glass-aluminum facade riddled with vertical beams of scarlet.

Rotterdam Zoo

Founded in 1857, Rotterdam Zoo fortunately didn’t suffer too much damage during the war and is now one of the city’s most popular attractions. There are always a lot of visitors here because it is a fairly large, well-organized, and well-maintained zoo.

Church of the Pilgrim Fathers in Rotterdam

The Church of the Pilgrim Fathers in Rotterdam will be of interest not only to American tourists, but to everyone else as well: besides its connection to the history of the colonization of America, it is an interesting and beautiful old building in itself.

St. Lawrence Church in Rotterdam

St. Lawrence Church was built in 1449 as the main church of the city. Originally it was without a high tower (i.e. erected on the principle of a hall church) and Catholic, and the low bell tower was separated from the main church building by a brook. In the middle of the 16th century, several major changes were made.

A huge percentage of Russian tourists remain disappointed after a trip to Rotterdam. The reason for this is the same: no antiquity, only modern buildings. There is some truth in it: the center of this city is almost entirely modern, but the historical center has not been preserved.

Unfortunately, this is the result of World War II. Before it, it was a wonderful old town, one of the brightest in Holland, founded at the beginning of the ninth century, with a beautiful old harbor and blocks of old houses that are 300 years old. But Hitler’s command planned to take Holland in a day, and when it turned out that on the fourth day it was still resisting, it became angry and carried out a punitive action: in one night it completely bombed the center of one of the largest cities in the country, namely, Rotterdam. The historic center was almost completely destroyed.

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The military destruction was so great that it was impossible to restore the buildings of the center – it was smashed into a field with piles of bricks on it. So those buildings that somehow retained their shape were restored, and new, ultra-modern ones were erected in place of the rest. The result is a very peculiar city: old buildings and skyscrapers. The lovers of antiquity is really better to choose another city, but fans of modern architecture is the best place to be.

One of the most famous buildings – “Cubic Houses. They are built in the form of cubes, raised on supports and inclined at an angle to the ground. It’s a very avant-garde project, and one house works as a museum – you can go in and see what it looks like from the inside.

Another famous place is the Erasmus Bridge, named after Erasmus of Rotterdam. A unique technical construction, two spans, one suspended, the other lifted. For the peculiar shape of the supporting pylon the bridge is called “The Swan” in the city.

The best observation platform in the city is the Euromast. This observation tower is 184 m high. On a clear day the view of the city is amazing.

Van Nelle Fabriek used to be a coffee packaging factory. Now it is a modern building, very unusual. Several modern buildings in Rotterdam are on the UNESCO World Heritage List and this factory is one of them. Kunsthal Rotterdam, the Museum of Modern Art (a good one, by the way), also has a curious building.

Something old has been preserved as well. The most extensive area in the center is probably the Old Harbor. A few streets with 17th century houses and the oldest marina in the city have survived here. The area is now filled with restaurants and stores. There’s also Witte Huis, Europe’s first skyscraper, built in the mid-19th century. It too has survived; it’s a quaint building that looks like nothing else.

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Another preserved area is Delfshaven. It’s a harbor, too, and a couple of streets of buildings have survived here, but the most curious thing is the church of the Pilgrim Fathers.

It’s an old 15th-century building, and it got its name because it was here that the first permanent settlers from England to America held a service before boarding a ship and sailing there. It was a religious community of Puritans, and it was from their settlement that the present-day United States was formed.

There’s also St. Lawrence Church, a quaint 15th-century Gothic building now famous the world over for its organ, the best in Holland. There is also the Paradijskerk, considerably newer, but it retains very quaint Baroque interiors.

The city has plenty of recreational facilities, a large zoo with all sorts of rare animals, a botanical garden and arboretum, a lot of walking areas. Also in Rotterdam there are seven windmills around the city, but to find them, you have to go far away from the center.

Rotterdam has a huge port, the largest in Europe and the third largest in the world. It largely determines the picture of city life. In general, it is a very active and lively port city, with a lot of students and people from all over the world, with different languages on the streets and a huge number of events. And to find antiquity, you just have to go outside of it or just to the outskirts.

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