City and municipality
Erasmusbrug seen from Euromast.jpg
Laurenskerk, Rotterdam.jpg
Rotterdam zadkine monument.jpg
Overzicht - Rotterdam - 20358120 - RCE.jpg
2003-03-04 rotterdam 15 cubic houses.JPG
Rotterdam feyenoord stadion 1.jpg
Rotterdam stadhuis.jpg
Schielandshuis Rotterdam cropped.jpg
Rotterdam hotel newyork.jpg
Rotterdam aelbrechtskolk wallekant.jpg
Maasvlakte, containeropslag foto1 2014-03-09 11.12.jpg
From top down, left to right: Rotterdam at dusk,
Lawrence Church, The Destroyed City sculpture, Euromast,
Cube houses, De Kuip; stadium of Feyenoord,
City Hall of Rotterdam, Schieland House, Hotel New York,
Historic town centre of Delfshaven, Port of Rotterdam
Flag of Rotterdam
Coat of arms of Rotterdam
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Rotown, Roffa, Rotjeknor, Nultien
Motto(s): Sterker door strijd (Stronger through struggle)
Highlighted position of Rotterdam in a municipal map of South Holland
Location in South Holland
Coordinates: 51°55′N 4°30′E / 51°55′N 4°30′E / 51.917; 4.500South Holland
 • BodyMunicipal council
 • MayorAhmed Aboutaleb (PvdA)
 • Aldermen
 • Municipality325.79 km2 (125.79 sq mi)
 • Land208.80 km2 (80.62 sq mi)
 • Water116.99 km2 (45.17 sq mi)
 • Randstad3,043 km2 (1,175 sq mi)
Elevation[4]0 m (0 ft)
Population (Municipality, August 2017; Urban and Metro, May 2014; Randstad, 2011)[3][5][6][7]
 • Municipality635,389
 • Density3,043/km2 (7,880/sq mi)
 • Urban1,015,215
 • Metro1,181,284
 • Metropolitan region2,261,844
 • Randstad8,219,380
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)

Rotterdam (m/, UK also m/;[8][9] Dutch: [ˌrɔtərˈdɑm] (About this sound listen)) is a city in the Netherlands, in South Holland within the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt river delta at the North Sea. Its history goes back to 1270, when a dam was constructed in the Rotte river, after which people settled around it for safety. In 1340, Rotterdam was granted city rights by the Count of Holland.[10]

A major logistic and economic centre, Rotterdam is Europe's largest port, and has a population of 633,471 (2017), the second-largest in the Netherlands, just behind Amsterdam.[11]

Rotterdam is known for the Erasmus University, its riverside setting, lively cultural life, and maritime heritage. The near-complete destruction of the city centre in the World War II Rotterdam Blitz has resulted in a varied architectural landscape, including sky-scrapers (an uncommon sight in other Dutch cities) designed by renowned architects such as Rem Koolhaas, Piet Blom, and Ben van Berkel.[12][13]

Rotterdam's logistic success is based on its strategic location by the North Sea, at the mouth of the Nieuwe Maas channel leading into the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta. The rivers Rhine, Meuse, and Scheldt give waterway access into the heart of Western Europe, including the highly industrialized Ruhr. The extensive distribution system including rail, roads, and waterways have earned Rotterdam the nicknames "Gateway to Europe" and "Gateway to the World".[14][15][16]


Map of Rotterdam by Willem and Joan Blaeu (1652)

The settlement at the lower end of the fen stream Rotte (or Rotta, as it was then known, from rot, "muddy" and a, "water", thus "muddy water") dates from at least 900 CE. Around 1150, large floods in the area ended development, leading to the construction of protective dikes and dams, including Schielands Hoge Zeedijk ("Schieland’s High Sea Dike") along the northern banks of the present-day Nieuwe Maas. A dam on the Rotte was built in the 1260s and was located at the present-day Hoogstraat ("High Street").

On 7 July 1340, Count Willem IV of Holland granted city rights to Rotterdam, whose population then was only a few thousand.[10] Around the year 1350, a shipping canal, the Rotterdamse Schie was completed, which provided Rotterdam access to the larger towns in the north, allowing it to become a local trans-shipment centre between the Netherlands, England and Germany, and to urbanize.[17]

The Delftsevaart, c. 1890–1905

The port of Rotterdam grew slowly but steadily into a port of importance, becoming the seat of one of the six "chambers" of the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC), the Dutch East India Company.

The greatest spurt of growth, both in port activity and population, followed the completion of the Nieuwe Waterweg in 1872. The city and harbor started to expand on the south bank of the river. The Witte Huis or White House skyscraper,[18] inspired by American office buildings and built in 1898 in the French Château-style, is evidence of Rotterdam's rapid growth and success. When completed, it was the tallest office building in Europe, with a height of 45 m (147.64 ft).

Rotterdam centre after the 1940 bombing of Rotterdam. The ruined St. Lawrence' Church has been restored
Tower blocks in the Kop van Zuid neighbourhood

During World War I the city was the world's largest spy centre because of Dutch neutrality and its strategic location in between Great-Britain, Germany and German-occupied Belgium. Many spies who were arrested and executed in Britain were led by German secret agents operating from Rotterdam. MI6 had its main European office on de Boompjes. From there the British coordinated espionage in Germany and occupied Belgium. During World War I, an average of 25,000 Belgian refugees lived in the city, as well as hundreds of German deserters and escaped Allied prisoners of war.[19]

During World War II, the German army invaded the Netherlands on 10 May 1940.[20] Adolf Hitler had hoped to conquer the country in just one day, but his forces met unexpectedly fierce resistance. The Dutch army was forced to capitulate on 15 May 1940, following the bombing of Rotterdam on 14 May and threatening to bomb other Dutch cities.[21][22][23] The heart of Rotterdam was almost completely destroyed by the Luftwaffe. Some 80,000 civilians were made homeless and 900 were killed; a relatively low number due to the fact that many had fled the city because of the warfare and bombing going on in Rotterdam since the start of the invasion three days earlier. The City Hall survived the bombing. Ossip Zadkine later attempted to capture the event with his statue De Verwoeste Stad ('The Destroyed City'). The statue stands near the Leuvehaven, not far from the Erasmusbrug in the centre of the city, on the north shore of the river Nieuwe Maas.

Rotterdam was gradually rebuilt from the 1950s through to the 1970s. It remained quite windy and open until the city councils from the 1980s on began developing an active architectural policy. Daring and new styles of apartments, office buildings and recreation facilities resulted in a more 'livable' city centre with a new skyline. In the 1990s, the Kop van Zuid was built on the south bank of the river as a new business centre. Rotterdam was voted 2015 European City of the Year by the Academy of Urbanism.[13]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Rotterdam
Akan: Rotterdam
አማርኛ: ሮተርዳም
العربية: روتردام
aragonés: Rotterdam
ܐܪܡܝܐ: ܪܘܛܪܕܐܡ
arpetan: Rotèrdame
asturianu: Róterdam
azərbaycanca: Rotterdam
বাংলা: রটার্ডাম
Bân-lâm-gú: Rotterdam
беларуская: Ротэрдам
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Ратэрдам
български: Ротердам
bosanski: Rotterdam
brezhoneg: Rotterdam
català: Rotterdam
Чӑвашла: Роттердам
čeština: Rotterdam
Chavacano de Zamboanga: Rotterdam
Cymraeg: Rotterdam
dansk: Rotterdam
Deutsch: Rotterdam
eesti: Rotterdam
Ελληνικά: Ρότερνταμ
emiliàn e rumagnòl: Rotterdam
español: Róterdam
Esperanto: Roterdamo
estremeñu: Rotterdam
euskara: Rotterdam
فارسی: روتردام
føroyskt: Rotterdam
français: Rotterdam
Frysk: Rotterdam
Gaeilge: Rotterdam
Gàidhlig: Rotterdam
galego: Rotterdam
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Rotterdam
한국어: 로테르담
հայերեն: Ռոտերդամ
हिन्दी: रॉटर्डम
hornjoserbsce: Rotterdam
hrvatski: Rotterdam
Bahasa Indonesia: Rotterdam
Interlingue: Rotterdam
isiZulu: Rotterdam
íslenska: Rotterdam
italiano: Rotterdam
עברית: רוטרדם
Basa Jawa: Rotterdam
ქართული: როტერდამი
қазақша: Роттердам
Kiswahili: Rotterdam
Кыргызча: Роттердам
Latina: Roterodamum
latviešu: Roterdama
Lëtzebuergesch: Rotterdam
lietuvių: Roterdamas
Limburgs: Rotterdam
Lingua Franca Nova: Rotterdam
lumbaart: Rotterdam
magyar: Rotterdam
македонски: Ротердам
मराठी: रॉटरडॅम
مصرى: روتردام
Bahasa Melayu: Rotterdam
монгол: Роттердам
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ရော်တာဒမ်မြို့
Nāhuatl: Rotterdam
Dorerin Naoero: Rotterdam
Na Vosa Vakaviti: Rotterdam
Nederlands: Rotterdam
Nedersaksies: Rötterdaam
нохчийн: Роттердам
norsk: Rotterdam
norsk nynorsk: Rotterdam
occitan: Rotterdam
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Rotterdam
پنجابی: راٹرڈیم
Papiamentu: Rotterdam
پښتو: روتردام
Plattdüütsch: Rotterdam
polski: Rotterdam
português: Roterdão
Qaraqalpaqsha: Rotterdam
română: Rotterdam
Runa Simi: Rotterdam
русский: Роттердам
Scots: Rotterdam
Seeltersk: Rotterdam
shqip: Roterdami
sicilianu: Rotterdam
Simple English: Rotterdam
slovenčina: Rotterdam
slovenščina: Rotterdam
ślůnski: Rotterdam
Soomaaliga: Rotterdam
Sranantongo: Rotterdam
српски / srpski: Ротердам
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Rotterdam
suomi: Rotterdam
svenska: Rotterdam
татарча/tatarça: Роттердам
Türkçe: Rotterdam
українська: Роттердам
اردو: روتردم
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: Rottérdam
vèneto: Rotterdam
vepsän kel’: Rotterdam
Tiếng Việt: Rotterdam
Volapük: Rotterdam
West-Vlams: Rotterdam
Winaray: Rotterdam
吴语: 鹿特丹
ייִדיש: ראטערדאם
粵語: 鹿特丹
Zeêuws: Rotterdam
中文: 鹿特丹