10 things you need to know about the city The Story of Rotterdam

1. The city of growth

Everything in Rotterdam is growing: the skyline, the centre, the popularity, the number of tourists and also the number of inhabitants. For example, it is expected that from now until 2035, an additional 55 thousand inhabitants will be living here. This means that Rotterdam will have 694 thousand inhabitants by then.

1. De stad van de groei

Alles in Rotterdam groeit: de skyline, het centrum, de populariteit, het aantal toeristen en ook het aantal inwoners. Zo wordt er verwacht dat vanaf nu tot 2035, er 55 duizend inwoners bij zullen komen. Dit betekent dat Rotterdam tegen die tijd 694 duizend inwoners telt.

Rotterdam is a city of diversity: the monument to sexual and gender diversity
Rotterdam is een stad van diversiteit: het monument seksuele en genderdiversiteit

2. Stronger through struggle

In 1948, Rotterdam received permission from Queen Wilhelmina to use the motto “Sterker door strijd” (translation: stronger through struggle) under the city's coat of arms. It says everything about the strength that the city has shown after the war(s) and all the trials that the population has endured. A beautiful slogan that every Rotterdammer knows and feels. Sculptor Hank Hans subsequently created a corresponding work of art for this, which you can admire in the City Hall.

'Stronger through battle' belongs to all Rotterdammers
The official coat of arms of Rotterdam

3. The Fire Border

The Brandgrens (Fire Border) is unique in Rotterdam. This is a marker, scattered throughout the city, that shows the boundary of the bombing and subsequent fire of Tuesday 14 May 1940. Not only does the fire border serve as a reminder of this destruction, it also shows why the modern city centre is so different from other cities in the Netherlands.

You can recognise the markings of the Fire Border by the lights in the ground on which an icon is depicted. This icon features flames, a silhouette of a bomber and the image of Zadkine.

You can follow the Fire Border with a walking route. This is 12 km long and takes you along all points around the city.

The fire line lights up against the cloudy sky
New fire border lighting

4. International rankings at Erasmus University

In Rotterdam you study at the Erasmus University. Students come from all over the world to follow renowned courses and to go out into the world with a valuable piece of paper. It is not surprising that they come to Rotterdam for that, because the studies here are highly regarded in international rankings.

The Financial Times, for example, lists all business schools every year. The RSM (Rotterdam School of Management) has been listed 5th place in the world for years. In addition, in 2021 the bachelor's degree in Business Administration was voted the number 1 in the world according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), also known as the Shanghai ranking.

The academic year is traditionally ushered in

5. The largest port

Rotterdam has the largest port in Europe. And the numbers confirm that, because in 2020 more than 8 million containers were shipped in and out of the port and no less than 436.8 million tons of goods were transhipped. With this, the port of Rotterdam creates more than 385,000 jobs, both directly and indirectly.

The harbour fascinates young and old
Container transhipment in the Port of Rotterdam
‘You can recognize a real Rotterdammer by his or her down-to-earth mentality, which can take a beating!’

6. No words, but deeds

Rotterdam has a number of catchphrases that are strongly linked to the mentality of the city. For example, we have “Geen woorden, maar daden” (no words, but deeds), “Sterker door strijd” (stronger through struggle) en “Niet lullen maar poetsen” (don’t blab, but clean). A real workers’ mentality in which the inhabitants are not afraid to roll up their sleeves.

Where does this mentality come from? Of course, the reconstruction of the city played a major role in this. The whole country has had to suffer the consequences of this, but Rotterdam has never been the same again. The port also plays a role in this, where physical labor is paramount.

You can recognize a real Rotterdammer by his or her down-to-earth mentality.

7. We give everything a nickname

We don't know why, but Rotterdammers love to give things a nickname. The Beurstraverse? Never heard of it. The Rotterdammer simply calls it the Koopgoot. The Erasmus Bridge is the Swan, the Blaaktoren is Het Pencil and Central Station is nicknamed Station Kapsalon, named after a typical Rotterdam snack served in an aluminium tray.

But the city itself also has a number of them. Roffa, Rotjeknor and 010 are nicknames that everyone in the city knows. The city is also called Manhattan on the Maas.

The annual Roffa Mon Amour Film Festival

8. Bokito steals the show

You may already know him, but this world-famous gorilla made quite a name for himself when he escaped from his stay in Blijdorp in 2007. Blijdorp Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the Netherlands and was home to the silverback gorilla Bokito for many years.

Dozens of visitors got the shock of their lives when they saw Bokito jump over the moat of his residence. Worse still: a visitor even had a number of fractures.

It is certain that Bokito left an impression, because no Rotterdammer will soon forget this moment.

Bokito is the most famous attraction of Blijdorp

9. Hoerenloper

The Rijnhavenbrug, the bridge between the Wilhelminapier and Katendrecht, is also known as the Hoerenloper (whoremonger). Hey, there we have another nickname! But why this name? Katendrecht was a real sailor's neighbourhood and this was the place where prostitution was centred.

But today it is different. The bridge can now even be seen as the bridge of love, because couples in love have hung hundreds of locks here to seal their love. Just like the famous Pont des Arts in Paris.

The Rijnhaven Bridge to Katendrecht, aka De Hoerenloper
Locks to seal your love

10. The highest tower

Rotterdam is increasing in height. In the coming years, the Rotterdam skyline will be expanded with various architectural masterpieces. For example, we have the Zalmhaven Tower, which is no less than 220 meters high, making it the tallest tower in the Netherlands.

The Zalmhaven Tower will be 220 meters high