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Rotterdam Travel Guide

Rotterdam, Netherlands © Michielverbeek

Unlike many historic cities in the Netherlands, which sport Gothic churches and Renaissance buildings, Rotterdam is a gleaming cluster of high-rises. Indeed, some of them are marvels of 20th-century architecture. Public parks, spacious streets and slick shopping malls dot this efficiently designed city, making it the perfect destination for travellers who lean more towards the modern than the classical.

Many parts of the city were bombed in World War II. In fact, only three buildings in Rotterdam's historic centre survived the onslaught, namely, the art deco City Hall, the iconic White House, and St Lawrence Church. The Delft Harbour area also escaped destruction. Extensive rebuilding has given the city a unique personality when compared to the rest of the country. Travellers should view it from the iconic Euromast Space Tower, which has a revolving sit-down elevator.

Rotterdam hasn't forgotten its roots, though, despite its modern look and feel. Its museums cover art, World War II, architecture, photography, maritime history, natural history, and the Netherlands' rail system. Rotterdam is also a multicultural city, with larger immigrant populations than most of the Netherlands.

That said, the city is roughly 16 miles (26km) away from a prominent cluster of windmills, which are an enduring symbol of the Netherlands. Located in the small town of Kinderdijk, these structures are fully functioning and drain water from the Alblasserwaard polder. They're also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the most popular attractions in the region.

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