Beach exercise

Beach exercise

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Rotterdam

After the visit with her sister, Anneke headed to Rotterdam, where she was born, to spend some time with her friend Margreeth ,  who she has known since grammar school.  It was to be a journey through memory lane and to see all the changes since we last lived there in 1999.

Rotterdam is one of the economic engines of the country and for many years was the largest shipping port in the world.  It is also an important part of our personal history. My first visit was in the late 1960's as a cadet on a training ship. I had no clue that later, I was to spend seven years in two tours there with the Coast Guard. On the first tour I met and married Anneke and our family returned to spend my last four years in the Coast Guard in Rotterdam 15 years later.

Like most cities, Rotterdam is constantly changing, but some of that change was horrific.  On 14 May, 1940, Germany completely leveled the city by aerial and ground bombing. The historic center of the city was nearly completely destroyed. The rebuilt Sint Laurenskerk (church) is the only medieval architecture remaining.  One of the building that survived was the town hall.




Anneke settled into her friend's home and immediately noticed the interesting view from the patio.



Most of their touring of the center city was on foot and public transportation.

 One of the first major building to be build after the destruction of Rotterdam was the Groothandelsgebouw, or large business center.  It remains an active business center and is now a national monument. As luck would have it, there was a celebration of 75 years rebuilding of Rotterdam after the war while she was there.  A  stairs to the top of the building was constructed  so everyone could reach the top of the business center for a view of Rotterdam.  It was to only be in place for 30 days.  There is a complete panoramic view of the city and a very close up view of another city landmark-Central station.  From here you can see the port , many other modern buildings and some of the remaining houses from before the war.  Also in the distance is the skyline of The Hague-the political center of the Netherlands.





















The city embraces many different architectural styles.  One of our weird favorites is the cube houses, which we toured in 1987.






The new market hall opened in 2014. From here you can also get a glimpse of the pencil building. 






In a world where things are constantly changing, it was nice to see that the restaurant where Anneke and I had our first meal together was still there and open for business.  Many of these windmills date from the 1700's.





After a busy day of sightseeing, it was nice to return home for happy hour on the patio.



11 comments:

Laura Skjenna said...

wonderful to reconnect with friends.

Wanderin' said...

It's great to have the opportunity to go back "home" and visit family and friends.

John and Carol said...

What a wonderful place to visit. Your pictures are great. I've always wanted to visit there.

Paul and Marsha Weaver OCT. 17, 2009 said...

What an awesome tour! I cannot believe those steps. I saw the steps before I read that they were not permanent. Now that would be a good workout.

I had no idea Rotterdam was the largest shipping port in the world. What a wonderful place to call home. The photos are terrific.

Sherry said...

I just cannot imagine my home town having been bombed and lost all or pretty nearly its historic buildings and of course my home town isn't any where near medieval. Wars still make me ill just thinking about what we do to each other. And for what good to anyone? Wonderful to see the pictures of the town thriving today. How fantastic to be there at just the right time to see the panoramic view. Glad Anneke could make such a nice trip for her and visit her life long friend.

Paul and Marti Dahl said...

So that's where the Green Giant left his guitar... ;c)

Linda said...

Beautiful photos, lovely architecture. I love your perspective in these photos.

Randy Warner said...

Great photos and lots of interesting info. Quite different architecture mixed together.

Nickie Jim said...

Great pictures of a city I've never been to and will probably never see in person. (I know, never say never!). Thanks for the tour!

Gypsy said...

Rotterdam is one of the European cities I've always wanted to visit but always seemed to miss. I love your photos, and I could get quite dizzy and disoriented looking at the cube houses for long!

Erin Erkun said...

Very timely post for my planning purposes. I had the cube buildings on my list to see in Rotterdam, which we hope to visit while in Dordrecht, but can do so as well later from Amsterdam. Those steps are so ingenious ... too bad they're only going to be up for a month ... we'll swing by anyway just in case they are still up when we're there in July.