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Rotterdam is unusual among European cities because most of its historical base was destroyed during WWII. Its rebuilding over the years has given it the unique distinction of being the most modern city in Holland.
Rotterdam’s history dates to the 13th Century when a fishing village was built along a small river called the Rotte. A municipal charter was granted in 1340 and the area became a prosperous trading area in the 16th and 17 centuries. Shortly after, the mouth of the Maas River had silted up and trading opportunities dried up as well, until canal links with the Maas and the Rhine were built. This gave Rotterdam a direct connection to the North Sea and Rotterdam was reborn.
Rotterdam was well built up and developing into an industrial and trading power when, in 1940, German bombers destroyed its downtown center and harbor.
Over the years, Rotterdam has rebuilt, and its architecture, which is unique to Holland, brings many curious visitors to its borders. It’s considered a cosmopolitan, but urban city, and provides a more modern look at Holland than you might find elsewhere.
For a more true Dutch experience head for Delfshaven, a historic neighborhood that features true Dutch-style houses and neighborhoods. This is the area from which the pilgrims set sail for America in 1620.