Rotterdam is a world city. Literally and figuratively.
For the people of Rotterdam who are so proud of their city, the latter is nothing new, but they are surprised that the rest of the world is now beginning to share their view. Rotterdam is praised in foreign newspapers and magazines; it scores high in the top 10 most popular cities. To what does it owe this?
It is, of course, the location. On the Nieuwe Maas [New Meuse] that runs right through the city, and divides north from south.
It is the harbours connected by it, even though these are ever farther from Rotterdam, right out to the North Sea, but the activity can be felt as the container ships sail through the city. And it is the development of that harbour that has left behind a structure of inland ports and formed the peninsula of Katen-drecht, which has now been rescued from decline. This can be clearly seen on the aerial photographs.
It is, of course, the architecture, that has traditionally been innovative and daring. ‘The fact that Rotterdam was destroyed has nourished modernity. An opportunity for the architecture,’ says Rem Koolhaas. And Rotterdam grasped that opportunity. With the bridges that connect north and south. With the Central Station and the new heart of the city, the Market Hall. With De Rotterdam, the latest of the residential and office towers on the Kop van Zuid, which give Rotterdam its imposing skyline: ‘Manhattan on the Meuse’.