Rotterdam The Netherlands

Rotterdam is a city in South Holland, the Netherlands, located geographically within the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt river delta at the North Sea.     Its history goes back to 1270 when a dam was constructed in the Rotte River,  people settled around it for safety.   In 1340 Rotterdam was granted city rights by the Count of Holland and grew into a major logistic and economic center.     Today it is home to Europe’s largest port.

The city of Rotterdam is known for the Erasmus University.     Recently Rotterdam was listed 8th in The Rough Guide Top 10 Cities to Visit.

The port of Rotterdam is the largest cargo port in Europe and the 10th largest in the world.    The extensive distribution system including rail, roads and waterways have earned Rotterdam the nickname “Gateway to Europe”, and, conversely; “Gateway to the World” in Europe.

Rotterdam Kubus Woningen = Cube house

Rotterdam Kubus Woningen8 by jaytje at freeimages it is a cube house    617872_22411257

Image courtesy of jaytje at freeimages.com

 

The Erasmus Bridge

Erasmus Bridge by chemtec at freeimaes.com    1272555_55592599

Image courtesy of chemtec at freeimages.com

‘Rotterdam’ is divided into a northern and a southern part by the river  Nieuwe Maas, connected, from west to east: the Beneluxtunnel; the Maastunnel; the  Erasmusbrug,  ‘Erasmus Bridge’; a subway tunnel; the Willemsspoortunnel, ‘Willems railway tunnel’; the Willemsbrug, ‘Willems Bridge’; the Koninginnebrug, ‘Queen’s Bridge’; and the Van Brienenoordbrug, ‘Van Brienenoord Bridge’.   The former railway lift bridge De Hef, ‘the Lift’, is preserved as a monument in lifted position between the Noordereiland , ‘North Island’,  and the south of Rotterdam.     Built mostly behind dikes, large parts of the Rotterdam are below sea level.

Between the summers of 2003 and 2008, an artificial beach was created at the Boompjeskade along the Nieuwe Maas, between the Erasmus Bridge and the Willems Bridge.     Swimming was not possible, digging pits was limited to the height of the layer of sand, about 50 cm, 20 in.    Alternatively, people go the beach of Hoek van Holland, which is a Rotterdam district or one of the beaches in Zeeland: Renesse or the Zuid Hollandse Eilanden:   Ouddorp, Oostvoorne.

In the Netherlands, Rotterdam has the highest percentage of foreigners from non-industrialised nations.    They form a large part of Rotterdam’s multi ethnic and multicultural diversity.    47.7% of the population are of non Dutch origins or have at least one parent born outside the country.     There are 80,000 Muslims, constituting 13% of the population. The mayor of RotterdamAhmed Aboutaleb, is of Moroccan descent and is a practicing Muslim.   The city is home to the largest Dutch Antillean community.    The city also has its own China Town at the West Kruiskade, close to the central railway station.

Universities/Colleges

Rotterdam has one major university, the  Erasmus University Rotterdam, EUR, named after one of the city’s famous former inhabitants, Desiderius Erasmus.   Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.     The university is also home to Europe’s largest student association, STAR Study Association Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the world’s largest student association, AIESEC, has its international office in the city.

The Willem de Kooning Academy Rotterdam’s main art school, which is part of the Hogeschool Rotterdam.    It is regarded as one of the most prestigious art schools in the Netherlands and the number 1 in Advertising and Copywriting.    Part of the  Willem de Kooning Academy is the Piet Zwart Institute for postgraduate studies and research in Fine Art, Media Design and Retail Design.    The Piet Zwart Institute boasts a selective roster of emerging international artists.

The Hoboken campus of EUR houses the Dijkzigt, general, hospital, the Sophia Hospital, for children, and the Medical Department of the University.    These are known as the Erasmus Medical Center, which is ranked third worldwide for medical research, behind the Harvard University and  Johns Hopkins University.   The Erasmus Medical Center ranks as the top European institution in clinical medicine according to the Times Higher Education rankings.    As a combined medical treatment and research center it is particularly noted for its patient cohort studies in which large numbers of patients are followed for long periods of time.

There are also three Hogescholen Universities of applied sciences in Rotterdam.     These schools award their students a professional  Bachelor’s degree and postgraduate or Master’s degree.   The three Hogescholen are Hogeschool Rotterdam, Hogeschool in Holland and Hogeschool voor Muziek en Dans, uni for music and dance, which is also known as CodArts.

As there are many international and American schools scattered across Europe such as ASH, American International School of the Hague, Rotterdam also has its own international/American school by the name AISR,  American International School of Rotterdam.    At AISR children receive a multicultural education in a culturally diverse community and it offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program.

Unique to the city is the  Shipping & Transport College, which offers masters, bachelors and vocational diplomas on all levels.

Museums

Rotterdam has many museums.    Well known museums are:

  • The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
  • The Netherlands Architecture Institute
  • The Wereldmuseum
  • The Kunsthal
  • Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art and the Maritime Museum Rotterdam.
  • The Historisch Museum, Historical museum, has two buildings: the Dubbelde Palmboom and the Schielandshuis.

Other museums include the tax museum and the nature historical museum.    At the historical shipyard and museum Scheepswerf ‘De Delft’ the reconstruction of ship of the line Delft, which you can visit.

Sports

Rotterdam is the home of three professional football clubs, being first tier clubs  Feyenoord and Excelsior and second tier club Sparta.

Sparta, founded in 1888 and situated in the northwest of Rotterdam, won the national title six times; Excelsior (founded 1902), in the northeast, has never won any.

Rotterdam also has three  fourth tier clubs, SC Feijenoord, Feyenoord Amateurs, PVV DOTO and TOGR. Rotterdam is and has been the home to many great football players and coaches.

Marathons

Rotterdam has its own annual international marathon, which offers one of the fastest courses in the world, Track.

The marathon starts and ends on the Coolsingel the heart of Rotterdam.

Tennis

Since 1972, Rotterdam hosts the indoor hard court ABN AMIRO World Tennis Tournament, part of the ATP Tour.

Former Wimbledon winner  Richard Krajicek became the tournament director after his retirement in 2000.    

Tour De France 2010

In November 2008 Rotterdam was chosen as the host of the Grand Depart of the 2010 Tour de France.

Rowing

Members of the student rowing club Skadi were part of the ‘Holland Acht’, winning a gold medal at the  Olympics in 1996.

Field Hockey

In Field Hockey, Rotterdam has the largest hockey club in the Netherlands, HC Rotterdam,  with its own stadium in the north of the city.      The first men’s and women’s teams both play on the highest level in the Dutch Hoofdklasse.

Baseball

Rotterdam is home to the most successful European  baseball team, Neptunus Rotterdam, winning the most European Cups.

Boxing

Rotterdam has a long boxing tradition starting with Bep van Klaveren, 1907–1992, aka ‘The Dutch Windmill’, Gold medal winner of the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, followed by professional boxers like Regilio Tuur  and Don Diego Poeder.

Swimming

Rotterdam’s swimming tradition started with Marie Braun aka Zus, sister, Braun, who was coached to a Gold medal at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics by her mother Ma Braun, and 3 European titles 3 years later in Paris.      In her career as 14 time national champ, she broke 6 world records.     Ma Braun later also coached the Rotterdam born, three-times Olympic champion Rie Mastenbroek during the Berlin Olympics in 1936.     In later years Inge de Bruijn became a Rotterdam sport icon as triple Olympic Gold medal winner in 2000 and triple European Gold medal winner in 2001.

Motor Cycle Racing

Motor cycle speedway was staged in the Feyenoord Stadium after the second world war.     The team which raced in a Dutch league was known as the Feyenoord Tigers.    The team included Dutch riders and some English and Australian riders.

Sportsmen of the Year Election

Since 1986, the city has selected its best sportsman, woman and team at the Rotterdam Sports Awards Election, held in December.

Events

Rotterdam hosts several annual events unique to the city. It hosts the Zomercarnaval, Summercarnaval, the second largest Caribbean carnival in Europe, originally called the Antillean carnival.    Other events include: North Sea Jazz Festival, the largest Jazz festival in Europe, Bavaria City Race, a Formula 1 race inside the city center and a 3 day long maritime extravaganza called the World Port Days  celebrating the Port of Rotterdam.   They have special events from the months of January to September find more info from the local tourist office for a list of their events.

Transportation

Several motorways which run to/from Rotterdam.   The following four are part of its ‘Ring’:

• A20 North Ring: Hoek van Holland – Rotterdam – Gouda
• A16 East Ring: Rotterdam – Breda – Antwerp – Paris
• A15 South Ring: Europoort – Rotterdam – Nijmegen
• A14 West Ring.

The following two motorways also serve Rotterdam:

• A13 Amsterdam – The Hague – Rotterdam
• A29 Bergen op Zoom – Rotterdam

Airport

Much smaller than the international hub Schiphol Airport, Rotterdam The Hague Airport, formerly known as Zestienhoven,  is the third largest airport in the country, behind Schiphol Airport and Eindhoven Airport, Located north of the city.      For business travelers Rotterdam The Hague Airport offers advantages due to rapid handling of passengers and baggage.

Train

Rotterdam’s new Central Station reopened in March 2014, designed to handle up to 320,000 passengers daily.

Rotterdam is connected to the Dutch Railway , and has some international connections:

  • South direction – Dordrecht, Breda, Eindhoven, Flushing Vlissingen, and the  international trains to Belgium/France
  • West direction  –  Hoek van Holland
  • North-West direction –  The Hague, Leiden, Amsterdam
  • North direction – high-speed rail to Schiphol, Amsterdam
  • North-East direction  –  Utrecht and further
  • A fifth alternative train system to the Hague, the  Hofplein Line  was converted to the light rail system  Randstadrail  in 2006
  • The city is often publicized as the terminus of the Eurasian Land Bridge

Railway Stations:

  • Rotterdam Centraal – Rotterdam’s main station
  • Rotterdam Alexander – Eastern Rotterdam
  • Rotterdam Blaak – Center Rotterdam
  • Rotterdam Lombardijen – Southern Rotterdam
  • Rotterdam Noord – Northern Rotterdam
  • Rotterdam Zuid – Northern part of Southern Rotterdam
  • Rotterdam Stadion – Station near the De Kuip Stadium, open for football and music concerts.

 The main connections:

  • Direct international services to Belgium and France via high speed train system:  called the Thalys
  • Frequent international trains to  Antwerp and Brussels, Belgium
  • Frequent services within the Netherlands:
    • Intercity line to The Hague, Leiden, Schiphol Airport and Amsterdam, north
    • Intercity line to Utrecht to Deventer or Enschede, east, Leeuwarden, north-west or Groningen, north-east
    • Intercity line to Dordrecht, Roosendaal and to Vlissingen, south west
    • Intercity line to Dordrecht, Breda, Tilburg, Eindhoven and Venlo, south east
    • Night services every hour connecting every day of the week to Delft, The Hague, Leiden, Schiphol airport, Amsterdam, and, with a detour, Utrecht. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday night services (either direct or via a detour) to Den Bosch, Eindhoven, Tilburg, Roosendaal.
    • Several semi-fast services and local trains originate or call at Rotterdam Centraal; semi-fast services Amsterdam-Breda.
  • Detailed information available from the site of the Bederkabdse Spoorwegen, Dutch Railways.

In Rotterdam, public transport services are provided by these companies:

  • NS (Dutch Railways) ; Train services
  • RET (Rotterdam Elektrische Tram); Tram, city-bus, metro, randstadrail and ferry-services in Rotterdam and surrounding cities.
  • Arriva Netherlands ; Province bus services.
  • Connexxion ; Province bus services.
  • Veolia ; Province bus services.

Water Taxis are small individual boats just like your regular land taxis’

Bus
Rotterdam offers 33 city bus lines.

Water bus
Every half hour a water bus, waterbus route 1, goes from Rotterdam to Dordrecht and vice versa.    The trip takes an hour, inclusive stops along the way.    The ferry can carry about 130 passengers and there is space for 60 bicycles.

The stops are:

  • Rotterdam Willemskade –  Krimpen aan den IJssel
  • Stormpolder – Ridderkerk
  • De Schans – Alblasserdam
  • Kade – Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht
  • Veerweg –  Papendrecht
  • Westeind –  Dordrecht Merwekade

 

Restaurants in Rotterdam

Hostels/Pensions

Stayokay Rotterdam Cube Hostel, Hostel Room Rotterdam, Hostel Ani & Haakien Rotterdam, Hostel de Mafkees.  Just a few hostels to list there are more.  If you are into cozy and private you might want to try, The Budget B&B Aelbrechtskade, they offer large master bedroom with balcony, whirlpool, sunbathe and barbecue if you like and free breakfast, which if you want can be prepared and you take it with you.  I liked this one, it was different and I went and came as I pleased and always started my mornings with Breakfast, it’s free!, I got to save money on food.

 

Introduction featured image on top of the Euromast courtesy of cromziqt at freeimages.com

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