There are very few cities in the Netherlands that have such a distinct image as the city of Rotterdam. Rotterdam has always been one of the largest port cities in the world. It is still the biggest port in Europe.
Largest port in the world
The ambition is to once again be one of the largest ports in the world. The port of Rotterdam is very important for the Netherlands but also for countries further in Europe. The port of Rotterdam originated in the Middle Ages and has since grown into one of the largest ports in the world. It was the port that ensured that Rotterdam grew into the world city that it has since become.
Rotterdam itself was then only a small place that lay on the river Rotte. The name of the city is therefore derived from the name of this river. In the colonial era of the Netherlands, Rotterdam was not yet ready to become the largest port in the country. This honor was assigned to Amsterdam. Only in the second half of the 19th century did the port of Rotterdam begin to take the upper hand thanks to a number of important changes.
Today, Rotterdam is the largest container handling port in Europe, and hard work is being done to expand the port area. Because there was little room on land to expand the port even further, it was decided to reclaim land from the North Sea. With the reclaiming of land at the mouth of the river Maas, the Maasvlakte was created.
The Maasvlakte was built in the sixties. The first ships docked in 1973. The Maasvlakte was built by laying a ring dike within which sand from the North Sea was sprayed on. This now forms the bottom of the plain. There are still many fossils in the sand. The area is therefore popular with fossil seekers.
What is there to do in Rotterdam
But there is more to do in Rotterdam than just the port area. Rotterdam also owns probably the oldest zoo in the Netherlands: Blijdorp Zoo. In 1855 a garden was laid out for pheasants and water birds in the center of Rotterdam, at the Kruiskade.
The bird garden was owned by the railroad employees F. van der Valk and G.M. van den Bergh. It became a success and on May 18, 1857 the Rotterdamsche Diergaarde was opened as a continuation.
In 1932 it was decided to reorganize the zoo. It was first decided to admit non-members more often and to make membership more attractive, but to no avail. In 1937 it was decided to relocate the zoo to a new location. The zoo exchanged land with the municipality.
The municipality received part of the old zoo for free, the rest they had to pay. In exchange, the zoo became the owner of two-thirds of a new 13-hectare site in the Blijdorp district, while one-third of the new location had to be rented for one guilder.
A new zoo was funded with financial help from the Volkskracht Foundation. De Volkskracht, however, set a condition: from now on the zoo had to be accessible to everyone. The Association was dissolved on October 26, 1938, and the Rotterdamsche Diergaarde Foundation was established.
Damage caused by the bombing of Rotterdam
In 1940, at the start of the Second World War, the old zoo was heavily damaged by bombs on 12 May, two days before the major bombing of Rotterdam on 14 May. The zoo was not hit during the big bombing. The zoo was then largely moved to the current location.
Between 1939 and 1941, construction was carried out at a location between the Utrecht – Rotterdam railway line and Van Aerssenlaan. Many animals died in the bombing, while a few others escaped. A zebra walked through a shopping street and a few sea lions swam in the canals of the city.
If you like a little adventure, a ride with splash tours is an adventure. You get on the bus and then drive to the quay. Against all expectations, the bus simply drives into the water.
This naturally creates the necessary hilarity. Then the bus / boat takes you on a tour over the waters of Rotterdam and shows you Rotterdam from the water.
This 185 meter high tower in the city of Rotterdam is also the highest accessible tower in the Netherlands. The tower with its pointed mast is a symbol of the city. The highest point (180 meters) is accessible to the public through a glass elevator.
Lovers of a little excitement and who like to explore their limits can abseil or zip from the Euromast. At a height of 112 meters it is possible to rent a room in the hotel. You can dine at a height of 96 meters.
A striking building that has been put away in the center of Rotterdam is the Markthal. As a result, Rotterdam has since the fall of 2014 suddenly come into possession of one of the most beautiful covered markets in Europe.
Within the Markthal you can enjoy eating and drinking in all possible forms: beautiful ingredients, beautiful food to take home and mouth-watering dishes to eat on the spot: the Markthal has it all!