Welcome to

Rotterdam The Netherlands



The story of Rotterdam

When fishermen built a dam in the river Rotte in the 13th century, they lay the foundation for the city as we know it today. They established a settlement and called their new home Rotterdam, a contraction of the words ‘Rotte’ and ‘dam’. In the year 1340 Rotterdam received city status. During this period, canals were dug, walls were erected, and gates were built. Trade began to play an increasingly important role. As at the end of the 19th century the connection with the sea via the Nieuwe-Waterweg was made, the city grew explosively.

Listen to the Dutch pronunciation

The bombardement

The bombing on 14 May 1940 is a turning point in the history of Rotterdam. After heavy fighting the Germans wanted to force the Netherlands to surrender. They therefore cast almost 100,000 kilos of bombs above the city. The bombardment cost about 850 lives and more than 2,000 people were injured. Only a few buildings were spared, like the City Hall, the Laurenskerk and the Schielandshuis. The city was irreparably damaged.

Rotterdam, a metropolis

Already a few days after the bombing during the World War II the reconstruction started. In contrast to many other cities that have been bombed, Rotterdam rebuilt a whole new city from scratch, with new streets and new buildings. In the previous century the many new construction projects were mainly commercial, aiming to boost. A lot has changed in recent years though. Reconstruction focused more on residential areas, bringing more social and cultural interaction in the form of several summer festivals, cafes and restaurants. The effect of this change is clearly visible: more tourists visit Rotterdam today and the city is being praised for its innovative and surprising architecture. Still Rotterdam continues to build and reinvent itself.


Wereldstad = World city

Haven = Port

Vissersdorp = Fishing village

Wolkenkrabber = Skyscraper