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Rotterdam

Rotterdam is a city in the Netherlands and the largest European port. Until recently, he had a similar world title, but at the beginning of the new century he lost the palm to Shanghai . However, Rotterdam attracts tourists not only and not so much by the achievements of shipping - there is something to see and something to be surprised at.

Highlights

Today Rotterdam is part of the Randstad metropolitan area and by the number of inhabitants - 631 thousand in 2016 - it ranks second in the country after the capital. An interesting fact is that a third of the local population does not have Dutch roots and even the burgomaster Ahmed Abutaleb is a Muslim of Moroccan origin. By the way, he is the first adherent of Islam to take over as mayor in a large Western European city.
The most significant sector of Rotterdam's activity is the petrochemical industry and general cargo handling. The port is the most important center for the handling of bulk, liquid, container and other cargoes both within the European continent and around the world. In addition to sea transport, communication with Rotterdam is established by road, rail, river and air transport.

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Story

Rotterdam occupies a site at the confluence of large rivers - a strategically advantageous place even from the point of view of our distant ancestors. It is not surprising that where the Rotte and Meuse channels meet (the French call the last Meuse), settlements arose a long time ago. The first documentary evidence of this is the chronicles of the 13th century. Already in 1299, Rotterdam received, and four decades later, significantly expanded special city rights and privileges, which made it possible for free growth and development.

In the Middle Ages, the city was an important center of fishing, herring caught by local fishermen successfully “traveled” along the trade routes of the continent. In the 15th century, artisans took up the production of cloth. After another 200 years, "the dam on the Rott" (this is how the name literally translates) began to be considered a serious trade port, through which exotic fruits for northern latitudes, noble wines and salt, which was highly valued at that time, were supplied from the Mediterranean coast. However, only the construction of the 28-kilometer canal New Waterway in 1866-1872 allowed Rotterdam to take a special place in the river transport system of Western Europe. From now on, from the sources of the Rhine to the North Sea, a path ran through it, without which it would have been impossible to fully develop industry, in particular, in the Ruhr regionGermany .

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The above dates can give tourists the anticipation of a meeting with the imposing historical center, where you can admire the examples of architecture from different eras. Alas! It is no coincidence that the heraldic lions on the coat of arms of Rotterdam support the shield, under which is the inscription “Sterker door strijd”. The city is truly “Strong in the Struggle”, as it has experienced many tragedies throughout its history. In 1489, Rotterdam was besieged by the army of the future emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, and then the king of Germany, Maximilian I. In 1563, there was a large-scale fire, only nine years later - an attack by the Spaniards who fought with the recalcitrant provinces in the Eighty Years War. World War I, in which the Netherlands retained neutrality, passed without significant upheavals, although the city became the temporary "capital" of espionage activities.

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The last and perhaps the most devastating blow to the legacy of bygone generations was the Luftwaffe air raid on May 14, 1940. Despite the surrender of the Dutch leadership, fifty German bombers dropped 97 tons of bombs on the center of Rotterdam, which led to colossal destruction and the death of thousands of people. In memory of the tragedy, at the site of the maximum concentration of the fallen shells, the "Scream" monument, otherwise called "The Devastated City", was erected. A huge bronze figure with a hole in his chest stands with his arms raised to the sky, where death came from.

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