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A modern city with a historical character
In the Netherlands, Rotterdam’s identity has been a collective story of a working-class and entrepreneurial port city that was reconstructed after it was severely damaged during the Second World War (WWII). The city has undergone significant changes over the last decades: port facilities have moved out of the city towards the sea; the city’s economy has been transformed; the composition of the population has become very diverse; and the post-war reconstruction has been completed. What remains are the stories and the images with their roots in the post-WWII reconstruction period. In this exciting audio-tour, we will explore the history of the city of Rotterdam – which was reshaped by the events of the Second World War, and present our fellow honours students with the opportunity to delve into Rotterdam’s cultural heritage.
After WWII, Rotterdam underwent a substantial physical transformation, and an extensive redevelopment program was initiated. Rotterdam lost its historical centre and during the post-war reconstruction period, the city centre was turned into a modern district. Other large cities in the Netherlands have a historic core, whereas Rotterdam has a modern core. The theme of our tour is dedicated to both the history and modern architecture and art of the city. We would like to explore the remains of what was once the city of Rotterdam and visit sights that remind the visitors of the events that shaped the character of the city. At every tour location, you can listen to the corresponding audio fragment to receive extra information. You will also spot various artworks whilst walking between the tour locations.
Our tour starts at the Central Station of Rotterdam (A). From there you walk to the Nieuwe Delftse Poort (B). This is a rebuild of the original gate, which was destroyed during the bombing in 1940. The unfinished construction symbolizes that Rotterdam is still a work in progress. Then you will walk to the Laurenskerk (C), which is the only building that survived the bombing. From here you will go to the Markthal (D). This marketplace opened in 2014 and is known for its modern, horseshoe-shaped architecture and the massive artwork on the ceiling. Inside Markthal, you can find over 100 food stands and restaurants, so you can grab a quick snack or drink here during the tour. After walking through this, you will head to the iconic Cube Houses (E). These homes and hostels are cubes tilted 45-degrees on their side and resemble an abstract forest. The sixth stop will be at the Statue of the Destroyed City (F). This statue shows how the centre of Rotterdam has been destroyed. From here you will walk over the Erasmus bridge, which is an important connection between the city centre and Kop van Zuid. Because of its design, it has coined the nickname ”The Swan”. When walking on the bridge, you will have a striking view of the skyline of Rotterdam and the Euromast. When you have reached the end, you will head to the right and walk along the port of Rotterdam until you reach the end destination: Hotel New York (G). The boats of the Holland America Line used to depart here, bringing many immigrants to the United States. From the end destination, you can either walk/take the public transportation (Wilhelminaplein) back to the Central station or try the delicacies at Kop van Zuid.
When participating in this tour you will mostly walk, because then you can explore the city at its best. After this tour, you will have learned more about the history of Rotterdam through the audio-guide, creative buildings and historic monuments.