Rotterdam City Tour
Rotterdam is the Netherlands' largest port city. It connects the Netherlands to the European hinterland. It is a city of action, which we see in the lines of the football song (for Feyenoord) ‘no words but actions’ (geen woorden maar daden).
The city was severely damaged in World War II, but has now fully recovered. Under the leadership of Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, all sectors of society (the inhabitants now largely non-Western in origin) are involved in a well-functioning city.
Dennis Callan takes you into modern Rotterdam in the film below, starting at the beautiful new station.
Starting out at the Rotterdam train station, which is where you would probably be arriving when you come to Rotterdam, in the Netherlands. There's an excellent Tourist Information counter here where you can get a lot of good advice about the main sites you want to see in your visit. The tram station out front is quite active with eight different tramlines running through it.
Very modern buildings
You'll quickly reach anywhere in town from the central station. There are very modern buildings in Rotterdam, and they are well planned with apartments in the downtown area and some parks and you've got the idyllic waterfront with the boat traffic and the apartments around it. There is a culture history museum. There's an excellent art museum. And that's where we are heading soon in the program, show you a couple of fine museums.
First we walk along Westersingel canal, with parks along the banks of the canal, you've got some ducks quacking by and also it's an outdoor sculpture garden with fountains and benches and a wide promenade that makes for very easy and pleasant walking. Then we visit a great museum, Boymans van Beuningen, which is one of the major art museums in the Netherlands, an amazing collection that spans from the Renaissance and earlier right up through modern design.
Then, the museum we are heading for next is all about people and culture history called the World Museum and English, or in Dutch, the name is Wereldmuseum. The city population is 640,000 making it second largest after Amsterdam, but if you include the greater metropolitan area extending to the Hague, population totals 2.5 million.
Rotterdam has got 38 skyscrapers and 352 high-rises with many more skyscrapers coming up soon. There are nine different tramlines operating in Rotterdam, making this a very convenient way to get around, and they are thoroughly modernized. Although, in their beginnings, they were founded in 1878 as horse-drawn trams.
From horse to electric
In 1904 the first electric trams began service and gradually the horse wagons were phased out. By 1906 there was already five electric tramlines operating and then four more lines began in the next four years. The last horse cars stopped running by 1925. The maximum extent of Rotterdam's tramway network was 25 lines, which was reached in 1930. Throughout the main cities of Europe, there has been a similar history of trams developing from horse to electric, and then declining, and in recent years, a resurgence in popularity of the system. Currently 40 different Dutch cities have operating tram systems, but only two have metros, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. .