May 17, 2022

Rotterdam (pronunciation (info / explanation)) is a port city in the west of the Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. With 588,490 inhabitants (1 January 2021), it is the second largest city in the Netherlands in terms of population, after Amsterdam. The entire municipality of Rotterdam has 656,050 inhabitants, and the even larger metropolitan region of Rotterdam The Hague has more than 2.4 million inhabitants. Rotterdam owes its name to a dam in the river Rotte. The city is located on the Nieuwe Maas, one of the rivers in the delta formed by the Rhine and the Meuse. The port of Rotterdam was for a long time the largest in the world and is still the largest and most important in Europe. The port area extends over a length of 40 kilometers and is an important logistics and economic center. Partly because of the port industry, Rotterdam has the image of a working-class city and the city has a very diverse population. After the historic city center was largely destroyed by a German war bombing in 1940, Rotterdam has become a cradle for innovative architecture, including the Erasmus Bridge, the Cube Houses and a large number of skyscrapers. The city is also known for the Erasmus University, the art collections of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and the Kunsthal and football clubs Sparta, Excelsior and Feyenoord.


Origin and rise

Since the ninth century, the settlement Rotta has been located on the site of the current city center of Rotterdam. It became uninhabitable in the twelfth century due to the flooding of the river Rotte. Around 1270 a dam was built in the Rotte at the place where the Hoogstraat crosses the Rotte. Rotterdam derives its name from this. A settlement arose around this dam, where people initially lived from fishing. It soon became a trading place and the first ports arose. On March 17, 1299, Rotterdam received city rights from Count Jan I of Holland. In the past it was generally assumed that they were revoked that same year, after the death of Wolfert I van Borselen (the guardian of Jan I) and Jan I himself, but this view is no longer generally accepted. Be that as it may, on June 7, 1340, Count William IV of Holland (again) granted city rights. A city wall was built in 1360, after permission had been obtained from Albrecht van Beieren in 1358. Jonker Frans van Brederode played an important role for Rotterdam during the Hoekse and Kabeljauwse quarrels between 1488-1490. The wars had greatly strengthened Rotterdam's position as its base of operations in comparison with the surrounding cities. For example, nearby Delft had lost almost all its ships and Gouda half of its houses. Thanks to Jonker Frans, Rotterdam definitely became a city of significance in Holland. Between 1449 and 1525, the late Gothic Saint Laurent Church was built. This was the only stone building in medieval Rotterdam. It was an ambitious project: at the time, Rotterdam consisted of approximately 1200 houses. In 1572, Rotterdam was sacked by troops of the stadholder of the Spanish king, the Hainaut Maximilian van Hénin-Liétard. In 1573 the city sided with the Dutch Revolt. The city then had about 10,000 inhabitants. At the end of the 16th century, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, who was Grand Pensionary of the city from 1576 to 1586, had the port of Rotterdam expanded further, laying the foundations for the important place that this city would acquire in the maritime trade. By the 1622 census, the population had grown to about 20,000. By the end of the 17th century there would be even 50,000. Despite this, the city did not expand beyond its ramparts and canals. The more or less triangular space between Coolsingel, Goudsesingel and the Nieuwe Maas did not exceed 140 hectares, so the city became overcrowded. It was not until after 1825 that it would expand beyond these narrow borders. From the 17th to the 19th century, many N