Rotterdam is the second city of the Netherlands and the eternal rival of Amsterdam. In the Second World War, the city center was heavily bombed, which is why there are hardly any historical buildings, although there are surprising examples of new architecture. It is the only Dutch city with relatively many skyscrapers.
The city itself has almost 600,000 inhabitants, but it is located in an urban area (Rijnmond) with more than 1.1 million inhabitants. Rotterdam is considered a 'working' city, with is reflected in the club song of local football heroes Feyenoord: 'No words, but actions'.
Rotterdam is located in the south-west of the Netherlands, on the banks of the river Meuse, one of the rivers in the Rhine delta. The city is close to The Hague (25 kilometers), and together with other surrounding cities forms a large urban agglomerations. Amsterdam is located at 75 kilometers, Utrecht at 60 kilometers. Historical Delft is located at 10 kilometers of Rotterdam.
Historically, the port is the city's most important economic activity, although little of that is noticeable in the city itself these days. The ports have been moved to the west, along the Nieuwe Waterweg. For a long time, Rotterdam had the largest port in the world, until that title went to Shanghai in 2004. Apart from the transfer of goods, there is also a petrochemical industry. A tour of the harbor is popular among tourists. In addition to the activities in and around the harbor, Rotterdam's economy is also built on the service sector. A few large insurance companies and other financial institutions have their headquarters in the city.
To the north of the city lies Rotterdam Airport (formerly: Zestienhoven), which processes about a million passengers a year. There are direct connections to European destinations, including London and Rome.
Rotterdam has an excellent public transport system, with two metro lines, trams and buses. The metro trains arrive every 4 minutes, and at night every 15 or 30 minutes. Like in the rest of the country, you need a so-called strip card to use the public transport system. The maps of the metro, tram and bus lines show the number of zones you need to stamp to get from A to B. In addition, there is a water taxi, which connects the two riverbanks.
Traffic and Parking
Because the center of Rotterdam was rebuilt after the Second World War, the city has relatively broad roads (compared to other Dutch cities). At the same time, it is often very busy in and around the city, due to the high population concentration and economic activities. During morning and evening rush hour, there are often many traffic jams.
Parking in the street may be difficult in Rotterdam. The parking meters do not accept coins, but only the so-called Chipknip. You can also pay by mobile phone, but you need to register first. Some parking meters accept credit cards. It is easier to park your car in one of the many car parks. At metro stations at the edge of the city, there are four guarded P+R areas, where you can park for free and proceed by public transport.
Rotterdam is no major tourist attraction, but it is popular among business people. Generally speaking, it is not hard to find a hotel room in Rotterdam. If you want to stay in a particular hotel, we recommend you book in advance.
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