Welcome to Rotterdam! Rotterdam never sleeps, there is always something going on. Every year, new, original festivals are launched. New restaurants, bars, coffee bars and clubs are opening at exciting locations all the time. Leading museums and art institutions, such as the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and the Kunsthal Rotterdam, continue to attract attention with high-profile exhibitions. And also the range of shopping opportunities grow day by day, from famous international fashion stores to cool design shops selling products produced locally.

Today’s Rotterdam is a young, multifaceted and dynamic town. A breeding ground for creativity. Home to Europe’s largest port. Trendsetter in lots of areas. In short, there is always something to experience in Rotterdam. It is a city that is booming, buzzing and is never boring. Where there is space for everyone. And where the sky really is the limit.


Rotterdam’s history began around the site of today’s Binnenrotte street. It was here that a dam was built on the river Rotte about the year 1270 and a small fishing village was created. Trade and shipping flourished, causing ‘Rotterdam’ to grow quickly. Between 1866 and 1872, the Nieuwe Waterweg canal was constructed to improve Rotterdam’s accessibility from the sea and the city became a real international hub. On 14 May 1940, during the Second World War, practically the whole of the old city centre was destroyed in the Rotterdam blitz. As a memorial to the disaster, special red street lighting marks the extent of the devastating fire which followed the bombardment.

The people of Rotterdam rolled up their sleeves and got to work: two weeks after the war, they began the process of reconstruction. The city had the courage to radically break with the past and made a daring choice for spacious town planning and modern architecture. The keynote was light, air and space. Rotterdam has remained a trendsetter to this day, ensuring that the city keeps its ultra-modern feel. The desire to go for innovation is still typical of the people of Rotterdam. The city’s skyline is praised throughout the world as a paean to modern architecture.

‘We’re from Rotterdam, we’ll keep going’ appeared on a placard just days after the city was devastated by aerial bombing on 14 May 1940. This resolute motto in many ways typifies the character of Rotterdam and its inhabitants. It explains how a buzzing metropolis was built literally on the post-blitz ruins. The port city, where nowadays around 170 different nationalities help create an open and cosmopolitan atmosphere. And where the resolute perseverance of Rotterdam people still motors the city’s continual push for innovation.


Rotterdam is synonymous with innovation, whether it is in architecture, the creative sector or the port. It is often a trendsetter. Just think of the Maasvlakte II project, extending the port into the sea, and of the architectural tours de force in the Kop van Zuid district. The city on the Maas is home to many leading architectural practices, including Rem Koolhaas’ OMA and the MVRDV and ZUS practices. Rotterdam’s universities, educational institutes and knowledge centres, including the flagship Erasmus University, have an international reputation for high-quality research and education.

World Port World City

The port remains an integral part of Rotterdam. This is a given after more than 400 years of trade and shipping success. Rotterdam, World Port World City, has Europe’s largest port which makes it the gateway to the European mainland. A staggering 450 million tons of goods are transferred through the port of Rotterdam each year, serving the needs of about 350 million consumers.

Rotterdam - City of Architecture

Rotterdam is a trailblazer where architecture is concerned. The city is internationally well-known for its daring modern buildings. The most celebrated champion of this city-wide trend is architect Rem Koolhaas and his OMA practice. His design of the Netherlands’ largest building, De Rotterdam, proved a sensation at home and abroad. De Rotterdam was completed in 2013 and is a complete town within the city: the three towers house luxury apartments, a hotel, offices and, at ground level, bars and restaurants which command wonderful views across the river Maas. It is a powerful statement about Rotterdam, confirming that it continues to be a vibrant, growing metropolis.

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