The whole Netherlands is full of historic town centres. So Why is Rotterdam so modern?
The story of Rotterdam
Despite the missing historic town centre, Rotterdam is actually a really old city. Namely, Count Willem IV of Holland granted Rotterdam city rights in 1340. Later, the success of the Rotterdam port led to a city development boom in the 17th century. Rotterdam kept on growing until the beginning of WWII.
…So what happened?
On 14 May 1940 over 90 bombs were dropped on the city. These bombs started a fire that left the city centre almost razed to the ground. Over 900 Rotterdammers were killed and 25,000 houses were destroyed.
After the war, from the 1950s to the though the 1970s the city was gradually rebuilt almost from scratch. Later, in the 1980s the city council began developing a new active architecture policy. Rotterdam have been daring new styles of buildings ever since.
In 2015 the city was voted ‘European City of the Year’ by the Academy of Urbanism.