Rotterdam is the second largest municipality by population in the Netherlands, after the capital Amsterdam, and the largest city in the province of Zuid-Holland (South Holland). The port of Rotterdam is the largest in Europe and was the world’s busiest port from 1962 to 2004, until it was overtaken by Shanghai. Rotterdam is situated on the banks of the river Nieuwe Maas (‘New Meuse’), one of the channels in the delta formed by the Rhine and Meuse rivers. The name Rotterdam derives from a dam in the Rotte river. Today Rotterdam is the most modern city in The Netherlands, with the high rising towers of company buildings in the center.
Some people think it became a playground for architects trying their theories and thus making Rotterdam one giant wind tunnel, but you can really feel things are happening here if you are interested in architecture.
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Symbol of Rotterdam is the Euromast Space Tower, 605ft/184m tall that had to be extended several times to keep its leading position as highest building of the Meuse city. From this tower with its revolving sit-down elevator you have an excellent view over the city and the surrounding industrial harbour landscape. The harbour, one of the busiest in the world, is a draw in itself and still the largest one if you count by pure volume.
Rotterdam has many museums. A collection of painting, sculpture and design worth seeing is displayed at the Boymans-van-Beuningen Museum. A day in Rotterdam is sufficient for most, but you can also spend several days if you want to see it all. The Dutch institutes of photography and of architecture are located right near the center, and there are lots of galleries. In February there is always the International Film Festival and every other year there is a photo biennale. The Kunsthal, designed by the famous architect Rem Koolhaas, has changing exhibitions on all sorts of expressions of art and culture.
The Erasmus Bridge (1996) is a 2,600-foot (790 m) cable stayed bridge linking the north and south of Rotterdam. It is held up by a 138 meters (453 ft) tall pylon with a characteristic bend, earning the bridge its nickname ‘De Zwaan’ (‘the Swan’).
Rotterdam has the tallest residential building in the Netherlands: the Montevideo Tower (524-foot (160 m)).
Rotterdam is also home to the tallest office building ‘Delftse Poort’ (520-foot (160 m)) which houses Nationale-Nederlanden insurance company, part of ING Group.