A series on Rotterdam – Modern architecture

Like mentioned in my previous post, Rotterdam is known for it’s modern architecture, because most of the old buildings were destroyed in the second World War. While I am a big fan of old buildings, for photography, modern architecture is great too!


Modern architecture. A hotel in Rotterdam.

In the ninth century (yes, Dutch cities are old), a little village, called Rotta, was completely flooded by a river called Rotte. Around the year 1260 it was decided to build a dam, to protect the village. This is where the city inherits her name from. The city grew and grew. And in spite of multiple setbacks, like the plundering of the city by the Spanish king in 1572, it became a harbour city, as it was located near the North Sea. The city got rich, and expensive mansions were built. But it all changed on the 14th of May in the year 1940.


Rotterdam Business District. As the city is still getting richer.

Only four days before, the Germans had invaded The Netherlands. The Dutch military were fighting to keep control over Rotterdam, but in the morning of May the 14th (1940), Germany sent a negotiator, he had one message: “Surrender, or we will destroy the city”. However, the Nazi’s had no patience, and only a few hours later the bombing started. It lasted for only 15 minutes, but it killed 800 residents, and left over 80.000 homeless.


The second World War couldn’t stop Rotterdam from rising again. A hotel in Rotterdam, part of the modern architecture.

Later that day, the Nazi’s threatened to do this to more Dutch cities. This was the reason for the Dutch government to capitulate, after only five days of fighting. An unfair battle against a more than five times bigger enemy.


A long exposure in the Rotterdam Business District.

Now, 70 years after the war ended, The Netherlands and Germany are companions in the European Union. Both the first, and second World War will never be forgotten, but all is forgiven. And Rotterdam? Rotterdam bounced back, and will continue to grow.

How do you people feel about modern architecture?

Kind regards,



  1. Hello Tieme, I especially like the starburst-flare in the streetlights in pic 4 as well as pic 5. I’d never really thought of where the name Rotterdam comes from, good history lessen to go with good pics 🙂

    As for buildings, I love old buildings but when it’s done right (which it not often is, I feel) a mix between old and modern can be great.

    Have a great day!

    • Hi Kiki!

      Thank you for your comment! The star flares are always nice in night time photography 🙂

      Haha, yes, since I stay in Rotterdam a lot for work, I thought I might as well learn a thing or two about the city, hence the history lessons 😉

      Guess where the name Amsterdam came from? Yup, also because a dam was built (near the river Amstel)! I think this was a popular usage of the word dam back in the day 😉

      A mix between old and new can be great indeed! I think the power of a good modern architecture, is a good overview and regularity. Too much a mixture of ugly buildings are built and called “modern architecture”. This was Rotterdam up to 10 or 20 years ago. Now, it gets nicer and nicer!

      Have a great day too!


  2. I’ve mixed feeling about modern architecture. I like it, but I’m not an addict. Seeing a few building is nice, but I quite nice other kind of architecture as well 🙂

    • Thank you for leaving your thoughts! 🙂 I am not an addict too, I like the architecture in Rotterdam, it really turned into a beautiful city. But nothing beats a little Italian village of a thousand years old 😉

      Have a great day!


  3. Pingback: A series on Rotterdam – Construction never stops | Luvo

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