Rotterdam Travel Guide

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Erasmusbrug Rotterdam

Erasmusbrug Rotterdam

Liv Flores

This large and modern port city has risen phoenixlike from the ashes of World War II. In 1940 the Germans bombed the city to force a fast surrender of the Netherlands. Most demolition was actually done in the process of rebuilding the city to modern standards. Only three large buildings in the center have survived miraculously: the city hall, the St. Laurence church and the White House.

Today Rotterdam is the most modern city in The Netherlands, with the high rising towers of company buildings in the center. Some people think it became a playground for architects trying their theories and thus making Rotterdam one giant wind tunnel, but you can really feel things are happening here if you are interested in architecture. For quite some time it is the place to be for a perfect night out. Though Rotown has decent, though small acts and is well-known internationally, The Thalialounge is the place to see and be seen in a groovy club atmosphere, and De Doelen is a wonderful venue for classical music. Clubs like Now&Wow, Off Corso and Baja Beach Club are very popular in The Netherlands. Rotterdam has become nightlife city number one, taking over this position from Amsterdam.

Symbol of Rotterdam is the Euromast Space Tower, 605ft/184m tall that had to be extended several times to keep its leading position as highest building of the Meuse city. From this tower with its revolving sit-down elevator you have an excellent view over the city and the surrounding industrial harbour landscape. The harbour, one of the busiest in the world, is a draw in itself and still the largest one if you count by pure volume.

A city like this can’t do without Museums. A collection of painting, sculpture and design worth seeing is displayed at the Boymans-van-Beuningen Museum. A day in Rotterdam is sufficient for most, but you can also spend several days if you want to see it all. The Dutch institutes of photography and of architecture are located right near the center, and there are lots of galleries. In February there is always the International Film Festival and every other year there is a photo biennale. The Kunsthal, designed by the famous architect Rem Koolhaas, has changing exhibitions on all sorts of expressions of art and culture.

The people, though claiming to be one of the friendliest of Holland, tend to somewhat distrust foreigners. In 2004 the city laws to forbid people from poorer families to settle in the city came to be, when all other recources were depleted to stop poverty from becoming ever more popular. It is therefore no surprise Rotterdam was also the home of the right wing politician Pim Fortuyn, who became the first victim ever of political assassination in The Netherlands when he was killed on May 6th, 2002. There is a statue you can visit, which still regularly has flowers put underneath it.

Because Rotterdam is very near Brussels and The Hague and because it is a huge port, it has a huge expat community which has settled in this only Dutch metropole. Actually, near to 60% of the population is either non-Dutch or Dutch born abroad (allochtonen, in Dutch). The problem most of the expat community encounters is the bureaucratic way the municipality and government handles licenses, legal documentation etc. If you want to live in Rotterdam or The Netherlands be sure to learn the language as fast as you can, because there is a tendency of being less tolerant in The Netherlands. The Dutch can get very annoyed if you have lived there for a few years and still don't talk Dutch. For the expat community in Rotterdam there is website with all kinds of tips & tricks to get used to the Rotterdam way of life www.yourrotterdam.com. Furthermore you can always contact the municipality for information about living in Rotterdam. Most of the hassle above can be ignored by European Union citizens though, as they are exempt of most of the paperwork asked from other foreigners.

Come to Rotterdam for the architecture, the museums, the nightlife, a refreshing boattrip on the Meuse or just some shopping.

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September 01, 2006 change by logrus (1 point)

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