Rotterdam is known for its bold architecture and its world-class port, but is actually a very green city as well. There are more than 600.000 trees, making it the city with the most trees per capita in the Netherlands. There are a few really old ones, like a red beech (1822) in Crooswijk cemetery and a sycamore (1851) in Lijnbaan that survived the bombing of the city.
THE 10TH CAPE VERDEAN ISLAND
Rotterdam has the largest community of Cape Verdeans (± 15.000) in the Netherlands and is therefore called ‘the 10th Cape Verdean island’. Three quarters of the Cape Verdean population live in Delfshaven. Heemraadsplein square is a popular meeting place and the site of the yearly Festa de São João do Porto. Look for the street sign that says Pracinha de Quebrod (square of the poor souls).
A car free shopping promenade was a novelty in 1953, in fact Lijnbaan was the first in the world. It was designed by Van den Broek & Bakema architects and is considered a highlight of the reconstruction era. More than fifty years later, it’s still a popular place to spend money, though nowadays mostly in international chain stores.
The largest port in Europe
The Port of Rotterdam is the largest in Europe, and it holds its own in between nine Asian cities in the world’s top ten. Some staggering figures: the port covers 12.500 hectares and has a total length of over 40 kilometres. About 30.000 ocean going vessels and 110.000 river barges anchor here every year. The annual throughput is 450 million tonnes.
ROTTERDAM COULD HAVE BEEN A CLASSICAL CITY
Right after the bombing of 14 May 1940 city architect W.G. Witteveen made a plan to clean up and rebuild the city. A plan that, according to its critics, focussed too much on repairing and restoring perimeter blocks and monumental facades, and not enough on innovation. In 1944 Witteveen resigned, paving the way for a more modernist city.