Rotterdam

3.3948863636348 (1056)
Posted by motoman 04/05/2009 @ 12:22

Tags : rotterdam, netherlands, europe, world

News headlines
Woman dies in head-on crash on I-890 in Rotterdam - Schenectady Gazette
By Kathleen Moore (Contact) The woman, who was driving westbound, crossed into the eastbound lane at 3:22 pm and struck an oncoming vehicle, police said. They said she apparently lost control of her car. Both the driver and passenger of the car she...
Research for infertility treatments - The Press Association
Researcher Lisette Stolk, from Erasmus University in Rotterdam, said: "We found that the 20 SNPs were all related to a slightly earlier menopause, and women who had one of them experienced menopause nearly a year earlier than others....
Styrene, Toluene and ParaXylene FOB Rotterdam prices remain status ... - Chemical Explorer (subscription)
Chemical Explorer: As per the information received from one of our sources and havng converesation with importets, buyers, etc prices of Styrene,Toluene and Paraxylene FOB Rotterdam have remain status quo.Toluene prices were quoted in the range of USD...
State worker from Rotterdam charged with fixing friend's tax bill - Schenectady Gazette
By Steven Cook (Contact) ALBANY — A Rotterdam woman who was a longtime employee of the state Department of Taxation and Finance has been arrested on allegations she fixed an acquaintance's tax debts, the state Attorney General's office said today....
Moms on the Run can't be stopped - Albany Times Union
Nancy Briskie of Rotterdam says having a flexible approach to training helped her run while her two kids were younger. At the time, she'd run around her block in winter, a quarter-mile per lap, after the kids went to bed. That way she'd be close to the...
Geert Eijsink of Argos to join Odfjell Rotterdam on 1 June 2009 - TankTerminals.com (press release)
Geert Eijsink of the Rotterdam-based Argos Groep BV will join Odfjell Terminals Rotterdam BV as Managing Director as from 1 June 2009. Geert Eijsink joined Argos 4.5 years ago and became responsible for the expansion of the company's tank storage...
Biopetrol May Idle Rotterdam Biodiesel Plant - World Energy Alternatives News
Switzerland-based Biopetrol may idle its 400000 mt/year biodiesel plant in Rotterdam for up to 18 months as they wait for conditions to improve. The company will also sublease its Rotterdam tanks while rates are high. World Energy is a leading provider...
Storms lash the Netherlands - Independent Online
There were more than 300 km of traffic jams on the Dutch roads, with the A20 near Rotterdam entirely closed off in both directions due to flooding and fallen trees. Lightning brought down the railway network's electrical systems at Leiden,...
Five arrested over festival violence in Rotterdam - Radio Netherlands
Police have arrested two men in their twenties on suspicion of violent behaviour during a Liberation festival in Rotterdam on 5 May. Three other suspects were arrested earlier this week. All five suspects were traced using video footage....
Eurabia Has a Capital: Rotterdam - American Daily Review
By Diana West Via Sandro Magister's Chiesa, a website that reports on the Catholic Church and Islamic matters, a horrifying travelogue through the Islamicized, sharia-compliant heart of islam's European capital, Rotterdam. The article was first printed...

Rotterdam

Skyline of Rotterdam with lights commemorating the Rotterdam Blitz

Rotterdam (pronounced (help·info)); city and municipality in the Dutch province of South Holland, situated in the west of the Netherlands. The municipality is the 2nd-largest in the country, with a population of 584,046 on 1 January 2007 and comprises the southern part of the Randstad, by one count the 6th-largest metropolitan area in Europe, with a population of 6.7 million inhabitants.

The port of Rotterdam is the largest in Europe. From 1962 to 2004, it was the world's busiest port; then it was superseded by Shanghai. Rotterdam is situated on the banks of the river Nieuwe Maas ('New Meuse'), one of the channels in the delta formed by the Rhine and Meuse rivers. The name Rotterdam derives from a dam in the Rotte river.

On 1 January 2007 (source: Statistics Netherlands), the municipality covered an area of 319 km2 (206.44 km2 of which is land) with a population of 584,046. It is part of a larger metropolitan area called Rijnmond ('Mouth of the Rhine') with a total population of about 1.2 million. In 1965, the municipal population of Rotterdam reached its peak of 731,000, but by 1984 it had decreased to 555,000 as a result of suburbanization.

Rotterdam consists of 11 submunicipalities: Charlois (including Heijplaat), Delfshaven, Feijenoord, Hillegersberg-Schiebroek, Hoek van Holland, Hoogvliet, IJsselmonde, Kralingen-Crooswijk, Noord, Overschie, and Prins Alexander (the most populous submunicipality with around 85,000 inhabitants). Two other areas, Centrum ('Center') and Pernis, do not have official submunicipality status.

As partly mentioned above already, Rotterdam is situated in the Zuidvleugel ('South Wing') of the Randstad ('Rim City') conurbation, with 6.7 million inhabitants, the sixth largest metropolitan area in Europe (after Moscow, London, the Ruhr Area, Istanbul, and Paris). The Zuidvleugel includes Leiden, The Hague, Zoetermeer, Delft, Vlaardingen, Schiedam, Capelle aan den IJssel, Spijkenisse and Dordrecht, and has a population of around 3 million.

Settlement at the lower end of the fen stream Rotte (or Rotta, as it was then known, from rot, 'muddy' and a, 'water', thus 'muddy water') dates from at least 900. Around 1150, large floods in the area ended development, leading to the construction of protective dikes and dams, including Schielands Hoge Zeedijk ('Schieland’s High Sea Dike') along the northern banks of the present-day Nieuwe Maas. A dam on the Rotte or 'Rotterdam' was built in the 1260s and was located at the present-day Hoogstraat ('High Street').

On 7 June 1340, Count Willem IV of Holland granted city rights to Rotterdam, which then had approximately 2000 inhabitants. Around 1350 a shipping canal, the Rotterdamse Schie was completed, which provided Rotterdam access to the larger towns in the north, allowing it to become a local transshipment center between Holland, England and Germany, and to slowly urbanize.

The port of Rotterdam slowly but steadily grew into a port of importance, becoming the seat of one of the six 'chambers' of the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC), or the Dutch East India Company.

The greatest spurt of growth, both in port activity and population, followed the completion of the Nieuwe Waterweg in 1872. The city and harbor started to expand on the south bank of the river. The Witte Huis or White House skyscraper, inspired by American office buildings and built in 1898 in the French Chateau-style, is evidence of Rotterdam's rapid growth and success. When completed, it was the tallest office building in Europe, with a height of 45 m.

The German army invaded the Netherlands on 10 May 1940. Germany had planned to conquer the country in one day, but after meeting unexpectedly fierce resistance, it finally forced the Dutch army to capitulate on 14 May 1940 by bombing Rotterdam and threatening to bomb other cities. The heart of the city was almost completely destroyed by the German Luftwaffe, and 800 people were killed, while about 80,000 others were made homeless. Ossip Zadkine later captured the event strikingly with his statue Stad zonder hart ('City without a heart'). The City Hall survived the bombing. The Germans carefully avoided it during the bombing, as it was assigned to be their headquarters of the region during the war. The statue is now located near the Leuvehaven, not far from the Erasmusbrug in the centre of the city, on the north shore of the river Nieuwe Maas.

From the 1950s through the 1970s, the city was rebuilt. It remained quite windy and open until the city councils from the 1980s on began developing an active architectural policy. Daring and new styles of apartments, office buildings and recreation facilities resulted in a more 'livable' city center with a new skyline. In the 1990s, the Kop van Zuid was built on the south bank of the river as a new business center.

With 55% of the inhabitants earning a low income, Rotterdam has its fair share of typical urban problems, such as dilapidated inner city areas.

In the Netherlands, Rotterdam has the highest percentage of foreigners from non-industrialised nations. Nearly 50% of the population are not native to the Netherlands or have at least one parent born outside the country. Recent figures show that Muslims comprise close to 25% of the city's population. This is reflected in the background of the mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb, who is of Maroccan descent and a practicing Muslim. The city is also home to one of the largest Cape Verdean communities in the world, as well as the largest Dutch Antillean community.

Rotterdam is divided into a northern and a southern part by the river Nieuwe Maas, connected by (from west to east): the Beneluxtunnel; the Maastunnel; the Erasmusbrug ('Erasmus Bridge'); a subway tunnel; the Willemsspoortunnel ('Willems railway tunnel'); the Willemsbrug ('Willems Bridge'); the Koninginnebrug ('Queen's Bridge'); and the Van Brienenoordbrug ('Van Brienenoord Bridge'). The former railway lift bridge De Hef ('the Lift') is preserved as a monument in lifted position between the Noordereiland ('North Island') and the south of Rotterdam.

The city centre is located on the northern bank of the Nieuwe Maas, although recent urban development has extended the center to parts of southern Rotterdam known as De Kop van Zuid ('the Head of South', i.e. the northern part of southern Rotterdam). From its inland core, Rotterdam reaches the North Sea by a swathe of predominantly harbor area.

Built mostly behind dikes, large parts of the Rotterdam are below sea level. For instance, the Prins Alexander Polder in the northeast of Rotterdam extends 6 meters below sea level, or rather below Normaal Amsterdams Peil (NAP) or 'Amsterdam Ordnance Datum'. The lowest point in the Netherlands (6.76 meters (22 ft) below NAP) is situated just to the east of Rotterdam, in the municipality of Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel.

The Rotte river no longer joins the Nieuwe Maas directly. Since the early 1980s, when the construction of Rotterdam’s second subway line interfered with the Rotte’s course, its waters have been pumped through a pipe into the Nieuwe Maas via the Boerengat.

Rotterdam is home to the Dutch half of consumer goods giant Unilever, and Mittal Steel Company N.V., subsidiary of Luxembourg-based Arcelor Mittal, the world's largest steel company.

The Erasmus University has a strong focus on research and education in management and economics. The University is located on the east side of the city and is surrounded by numerous multinational firms. On Brainpark I, Brainpark II, Brainpark III and Het Rivium are located offices of major multinationals. In the center of the city are the above-mentioned Unilever offices, but also Robeco, Fortis (including Mees Pierson and Stad Rotterdam Verzekeringen), ABN AMRO, ING (Nationale Nederlanden), and the Rotterdam WTC.

Rotterdam has the largest port in Europe, with the rivers Meuse and Rhine providing excellent access to the hinterland upstream reaching to Basel, Switzerland and into France. In 2003 Singapore took over, and in 2005 Shanghai, as the world's busiest port. In 2006, Rotterdam was the world's seventh largest container port in terms of Twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) handled.

The port's main activities are petrochemical industries and general cargo handling and transshipment. The harbour functions as an important transit point for bulk materials and between the European continent and overseas. From Rotterdam goods are transported by ship, river barge, train or road. In 2007, the Betuweroute, a new fast freight railway from Rotterdam to Germany, has been completed.

In 1872, the Nieuwe Waterweg ('New Waterway') opened, a ship canal constructed to keep the city and port of Rotterdam accessible to seafaring vessels as the natural Meuse-Rhine channels silted up. The canal proper measures approximately 6.5 kilometers (4 mi) from the western tips of its protruding dams to the Maeslantkering ('Maeslant Barrier'). Many maps, however, include the Scheur as part of the Nieuwe Waterweg, leading to a length of approximately 19.5 kilometers (12 mi).

In the first half of the twentieth century, the port's center of gravity shifted westward towards the North Sea. Covering 105 square kilometers (40.5 sq mi), the port of Rotterdam now stretches over a distance of 40 kilometers (25 mi). It consists of the city center's historic harbor area, including Delfshaven; the Maashaven/Rijnhaven/Feijenoord complex; the harbors around Nieuw-Mathenesse; Waalhaven; Vondelingenplaat; Eemhaven; Botlek; Europoort, situated along the Calandkanaal, Nieuwe Waterweg and Scheur (the latter two being continuations of the Nieuwe Maas); and the reclaimed Maasvlakte area, which projects into the North Sea.

The construction of a second Maasvlakte received initial political approval in 2004, but was stopped by the Raad van State (the Dutch Council of State, which advises the government and parliament on legislation and governance) in 2005, because the plans did not take enough account of environmental issues. On 10 October 2006, however, approval was acquired to start construction in 2008, aiming for the first ship to anchor in 2013.

Rotterdam has one major university, the Erasmus University Rotterdam, named after one of the city's famous former inhabitants, Desiderius Erasmus. The Woudestein campus houses (among others) the Rotterdam School of Management. In Financial Times' 2005 rankings it placed 29th globally and 7th in Europe. In the 2006 rankings of European Masters of Management, the school reached a second place with the CEMS Master in Management and a thirteenth place with its RSM Master in Management. The university is also home to Europe's largest student association, STAR Study Association RSM Erasmus University.

The Hoboken campus of EUR houses the Dijkzigt (general) hospital, the Sophia Hospital (for children) and the Medical Department of the University. These are known collectively as the Erasmus Medical Center, which is ranked third worldwide for medical research, behind the Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University. As a combined medical treatment and research center it is particularly noted for its patient cohort studies in which large numbers of patients are followed for long periods of time.

There are also three Hogescholen (lower level universities) in Rotterdam. These schools award their students a Bachelor's degree and postgraduate or Master's degree. The three Hogescholen are Hogeschool Rotterdam, Hogeschool INHOLLAND and Hogeschool voor Muziek en Dans (uni for music and dance) which is also known as CodArts.

Alongside Porto, Rotterdam was European Capital of Culture in 2001. The city has its own orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra with its world famous musical director Valery Gergiev, a large congress and concert building called De Doelen, plus many theatres (including the new Luxor theatre) and movie theatres. The Ahoy complex in the south of the city is used for pop concerts, exhibitions, tennis tournaments and other activities. A major zoo called Diergaarde Blijdorp is situated at the northwest side of Rotterdam, complete with a walkthrough sea aquarium called the Oceanium.

The city is home to the Rotterdam Academy of Fine Arts ('Willem de Kooning Akademie').

Rotterdam is currently going through somewhat of a renaissance, with some urban renewal projects featuring ambitious architecture, an increasingly sparkling nightlife, and a host of summer festivals celebrating the city's multicultural population and identity, such as the Caribbean-inspired 'Summer Carnival', the Dance Parade, Rotterdam 666, the Metropolis pop festival and the World Harbor days. There are also the International Film Festival in January, the Poetry International Festival in June, the North Sea Jazz Festival in July, the Valery Gergiev Festival in September, September in Rotterdam and the World of the Witte de With. In June 1970, The Holland Pop Festival (which featured Jefferson Airplane, The Byrds, Canned Heat, It's a Beautiful Day, and Santana) was held and filmed at the Stamping Grounds in Rotterdam.

The self-image of the city is that of a no-nonsense workers' city. In that sense, there is a healthy competition with Amsterdam, which is often viewed as the cultural capital of the Netherlands. There is a saying: "Amsterdam to party, Den Haag (The Hague) to live, Rotterdam to work". Another one, more popular by Rotterdammers, is "Money is earned in Rotterdam, divided in The Hague and spent in Amsterdam". An other saying that reflects both the rivalry between Rotterdam and Amsterdam is "Amsterdam has it, Rotterdam doesn't need it".

Rotterdam has had a rich hiphop scene since the early 1980s. It is also the home of Gabber, a type of music popular in the mid-1990s, with hard beats and samples. Bands like Neophyte and Rotterdam Terror Corps (RTC) started in Rotterdam.

The main cultural organisations in Amsterdam, such as the Concertgebouw and Holland Festival, have joint forces with similar organisations in Rotterdam, via A'R'dam. In 2007 these organisations published with plans for co-operation. One of the goals is to strengthen the international position of culture and art in the Netherlands in the international context.

Rotterdam has many museums. Well known museums are the Boijmans-van Beuningen Museum, the NAi (Netherlands Architecture Institute), the Historisch Museum (Historical museum), the Volkenkundig Museum (foreign peoples and cultures), the Kunsthal (design by Rem Koolhaas),the center for contemporary art Witte de With, the Maritiem Museum and the Brandweermuseum (Fire brigade museum). Other museums include the tax museum, the nature historical museum, historical museum the Dubbelde Palmboom and the Schielandhuis. At the historical shipyard and museum Scheepswerf 'De Delft the reconstruction of Ship of the Line 'De Delft' can be visited.

In 1898, the 45 meter high-rise office building, the White House, was completed, at that time the tallest office building in Europe.

In the first decades of the 20th century, some influential architecture in the modern style was built in Rotterdam. Notable are the Van Nelle fabriek (1929) a monument of modern factory design by Brinkman en Van der Vlugt, the Jugendstil clubhouse of the Royal Maas Yacht Club designed by Hooijkaas jr. en Brinkman (1909), and Feyenoord's football stadium de Kuip (1936) also by Brinkman en Van der Vlugt. The architect J. J. P. Oud was a famous Rotterdammer in those days. During the early stages of World War II the center of Rotterdam was bombed by the Germans, destroying many of the older buildings in the center of the city. After initial crisis re-construction the center of Rotterdam has become the site of ambitious new architecture.

Rotterdam is also famous for its Kubuswoningen or cube houses built by architect Piet Blom in 1984. In addition to that there are many international well known architects based in Rotterdam like O.M.A (Rem Koolhaas), MVRDV, Neutelings & Riedijk and Erick van Egeraat to name a few.

Rotterdam houses several of the tallest structures in the Netherlands.

Rotterdam has a reputation in being a platform for architectural development and education through the Berlage Institute, a postgraduate laboratory of architecture, and the NAi (Netherlands Architecture Institute), which is open to the public and has a variety of good exhibitions on architecture and urban planning issues.

Rotterdam is standing in the best European SkylineTop together with Frankfurt, London, Paris, Moscow, Brussels and Warsaw. Over 30 new highrise projects are being developed at the moment, including the 165 meters (541 ft) high 'Maas Tower', the 'New Orleans Tower', which will be about 158 meters (518 ft) and the Zalmhaven Urban Tower 195 meters (640 ft).

Rotterdam is the home of two Eredivisie ('Honorary Division', or Dutch Premier League) football clubs, Feyenoord and Sparta, and one Eerste Divisie club, Excelsior. Rotterdam also has two Hoofdklasse (main class) club, PVV DOTO and TOGR.

Feyenoord, founded in 1908 and the dominant of the three, has won fourteen national titles since the introduction of professional football in the Netherlands. It won the European Cup as the first Dutch club in 1970, and won the World Cup for club teams in the same year. In 1974, they were the first Dutch club to win the UEFA Cup and in 2002, Feyenoord won the UEFA Cup again. In 2008, the year of their 100-year-anniversary, Feyenoord won the KNVB-cup. Seating 51,480, its stadium, called Stadion Feijenoord but popularly known as De Kuip ('the Tub'), is the second largest in the country. De Kuip, located in the southeast of the city, has hosted many international football games, including the final of Euro 2000 and has been awarded a FIFA 5 star ranking. Feyenoord also has the second biggest supporter group in the Netherlands.

Sparta, founded in 1888 and situated in the northwest of Rotterdam, won the national title in 1959; Excelsior (founded 1902), in the northeast, has never won any.

Rotterdam has its own annual international marathon, which offers one of the fastest courses in the world. From 1985 until 1998, the world record was set in Rotterdam, first by Carlos Lopes and later in 1988 by Belayneh Dinsamo. The marathon starts and ends on the Coolsingel in the heart of Rotterdam.

Since 1972, Rotterdam hosts the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, part of the ATP Tour.

Members of the student rowing club Skadi were part of the 'Holland Acht', winning a gold medal at the Olympics in 1996.

In field hockey, Rotterdam has the largest hockey club in the Netherlands, HC Rotterdam, with its own stadium in the north of the city and nearly 2,400 members. The first men's and women's teams both play on the highest level in the Dutch Hoofdklasse.

Rotterdam is home to the most successful European baseball team, Neptunus Rotterdam, winning the most European Cups.

Since 1986, the city has selected its best sportsman, woman and team at the Rotterdam Sports Awards Election, held in December.

Motor cycle speedway was staged in the Feyenoord Stadium after the second world war. The team which raced in a Dutch league was known as the Feyenoord Tigers. The team included Dutch riders and some English and Australian riders.

In November 2008 it was announced that Rotterdam will host the Grand Depart of the 2010 Tour De France.

Rotterdam won the selection over the Dutch city of Utrecht. Germany's Dusseldorf had previously also expressed interest in hosting.

The Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), organizers of the Tour de France, said in a statement on its web site that it chose Rotterdam because in addition to it being another big city, like London, to showcase the use of bikes for urban transportation, it provided a location well positioned considering the rest of the route envisioned for the 2010 edition.

Well-known streets in Rotterdam are the shopping center the Lijnbaan (the first set of pedestrian streets of the country, opened in 1953), the Hoogstraat, the Coolsingel with the city hall, and the Weena, which runs from the Central Station to the Hofplein (square). A modern shopping venue is the Beurstraverse ('Stock Exchange Traverse), better known by the informal name 'Koopgoot' ('Buying/Shopping Gutter', after its low-lying position, crossing Rotterdam's main street Coolsingel below street level).

The main shopping venue in the south of Rotterdam is Zuidplein, which lies close to Ahoy' Rotterdam, an accommodation center for shows, exhibitions, sporting events, concerts and congresses. Another prominent shopping center, called Alexandrium (sometimes still called by its former name Oosterhof), lies in the east of Rotterdam. It includes a large kitchen and furniture center.

Rotterdam is well connected in international, national, regional and local public transport systems, as well as by the Dutch motorway system.

Although much smaller than the international hub Schiphol airport, Rotterdam Airport (formerly known as Zestienhoven) is the third largest airport in the country, just behind Eindhoven Airport. Located north of the city, it has shown a very strong growth over the past five years, mostly caused by the growth of the low-cost carrier market. For business travelers Zestienhoven Airport offers advantages due to rapid handling of passengers and baggage. Environmental regulations make further growth uncertain.

To bridge the gap between national train services and local public transportation the Dutch Randstad has developed a regional lightrail system called Randstad Rail. First trains ran in September 2006.

In 1968 Rotterdam was the first Dutch city to open a metro system. Currently the system consists of two main lines, each of which has some variants.

Rotterdam offers 10 tramlines with a total length of 93.4 kilometers.

Rotterdam offers 38 buslines with a total length of 432.7 kilometers.

Since the summer of 2003 an artificial beach is created at the Boompjeskade along the Nieuwe Maas, between the Erasmus Bridge and the Willems Bridge. Swimming was not possible, digging pits was limited to the height of the layer of sand, ca. 50 cm. Alternatively people go the beach of Hoek van Holland (which is still a Rotterdam district) or one of the beaches in Zeeland or the Zuid Hollandse Eilanden: Ouddorp, Oostvoorne, Renesse.

To the top



Rotterdam Airport

Rotterdam airport luchtfoto.jpg

Rotterdam Airport (formerly (Dutch): Vliegveld Zestienhoven), (IATA: RTM, ICAO: EHRD) located 3 NM (5.6 km; 3.5 mi) north northwest Rotterdam, is the Netherlands' third largest airport, coming after Eindhoven Airport (measured in passengers). From the airport, there are amongst others daily services to London, Hamburg and charter flights. The airport handled over 1,150,400 passengers in 2007.

After World War II it was decided by the Dutch government that a second national airport next to Schiphol was needed. The city of Rotterdam had an airport before the war, Waalhaven airport, however, this was destroyed to prevent it from being used by the Germans. Reconstruction of this airport wasn't realistic, so a new location had to be found.

A new location was found, the Zestienhoven polder. Construction of the airport started in August 1955 and the airport was officially opened in October 1956. Not long after the opening several large international airlines such as Swissair, Lufthansa and Air France started operating from Rotterdam. However, in the 1970's plans were made to either close or move to airport to make room for houses and the uncertain future caused a stagnation in the airport's growth and many operators left. For almost thirty years the airport faced closure, but the economic growth in the 1990's caused an increase in passengers again and in 2001 it was decided that the airport's current location would be maintained for at least a century.

The longest surviving route, to London Heathrow, currently operated by KLM Cityhopper, will be suspended in favour of the expansion of a SkyTeam-hub at London Heathrow. This will mark the end of KLM operating from Rotterdam. Most flights today are operated by regional turboprop aircraft such as the Fokker 50, Dash 8 and ATR aircraft and smaller mainline jets such as the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 series. There is also a fair amount of business aviation.

The airport is also used extensively by general aviation and there are several flying clubs and schools located at the airport.

To the top



Rotterdam Blitz

Lights along the fire line memorialize the bombing of Rotterdam, 14 May 2007

The Rotterdam Blitz refers to the aerial bombardment of Rotterdam by the German Airforce on 14 May 1940, during the German invasion of the Netherlands in World War II. The objective was to support the German troops fighting in the city, break Dutch resistance, and to force the Dutch to surrender.

The Germans attacked the Netherlands on 10 May 1940. Their initial advance was fast, smashing through border defenses with ease. However, on 14 May, the Dutch (despite lacking tanks, modern equipment or airplanes) halted the advance at the core region of Fortress Holland.

The situation in Rotterdam on the morning of 13 May 1940 was stalemate as it had been over the past three days. Dutch garrison forces under Colonel Scharroo held the north bank of the Nieuwe Maas River, which runs through the city, and prevented the Germans from crossing; German forces included airlanding and airborne forces of General Student and newly arrived ground forces under General Schmidt, based on the 9th Panzer Division and the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, a motorized "SS" regiment.

A Dutch counterattack led by a Dutch marine company had failed to re-capture the Willemsbrug traffic bridge, the key crossing. Several efforts by the Dutch air force to destroy the bridge also failed.

Gen. Schmidt had planned a combined assault the next day, 14 May, using tanks of the 9th Panzer supported by flame throwers, SS troops and combat engineers. The airlanding troops were to make an amphibious crossing of the river upstream and then a flank attack through the Kralingen district. The attack was to be preceded by artillery bombardment, while Gen. Schmidt had requested the support of the Luftwaffe in the form of a Gruppe (about 25 aircraft) of Ju-87 Stuka dive-bombers.

Schmidt's request for air support reached Berlin, staff of Luftflotte 2. Instead of precision bombers, Schmidt got carpet bombing by Heinkel He 111 bombers besides a Gruppe of Stuka's focussing on some strategic targets.

Schmidt used the threat of destruction of Rotterdam to attempt to force Colonel Scharroo to surrender the city without a fight. Rotterdam (also the largest industrial target in the Netherlands and of major strategic importance to the Germans) was to be bombed. Scharroo refused and stretched out negotiations. The start for the airraid had been set for 13:20 . Schmidt postponed a second ultimatum to 16:20. However, just as the Dutch negotiator was crossing the Willemsbrug to relay this information, the drone of bombers was heard.

A total of 90 bombers from Kampfgeschwader 54 (54th Bomber Wing) were sent over the city. German forces in the city fired flares allegedly to warn the bombers off, but after 3 planes of the southern formation had already unloaded the remaining 24 from the southern bomber formation turned about; the larger formation coming from the northeast - and allegedly totally out of position to spot red flares launched from the south side of the city - proceeded with its attack, dropping low to release 97 tonnes of bombs, mostly in the heart of the city. Why the formation had not received the abort mission order sooner remains controversial. On the one hand, Commander Lackner of the largest formation claimed that his formation was unable to spot red flares due to bad visibility caused by humidity, dense smoke of burning constructions and subsequently the necessity to decrease altitude to a mere 2000 feet. On the other hand, the red flare, which Lackner allegedly failed to see, might have been used by the Germans to show their location in the city to avoid friendly fire, for which flare was standardly used. An official German form designating red as the colour for that purpose for that particular period proves this possibility plausible.

Although exact numbers are not known, 800 to 900 people were killed and 80,000 made homeless. Around 2.6 square kilometres (1 square mile) of the city was almost levelled. 24,978 homes, 24 churches, 2,320 stores, 775 warehouses and 62 schools were destroyed.

The Dutch Army had no means of stopping the bombers (the Dutch Air Force was practically non-existent anymore and AAA had been moved to the Hague), and the Dutch government decided to capitulate rather than suffer a repeat of Rotterdam in Utrecht, that had been threatened around 1500 hrs by another similar ultimatum.

As World War II began in 1939, the president of the United States, then a neutral power, Franklin D. Roosevelt, asked the major belligerents to confine air raids to military targets. The French and the British agreed to abide by the request which included the provision "that these same rules of warfare will be scrupulously observed by all of their opponents".

The United Kingdom had a policy of bombing only military targets and infrastructure such as ports and railways which were of military importance. While it was acknowledged that bombing of Germany would cause civilian casualties, the British renounced the deliberate bombing of civilian property, outside combat zones, as a military tactic. This policy was abandoned on 15 May 1940, one day after the Rotterdam Blitz, when the RAF was given permission to attack the Ruhr area, including oil plants and other civilian industrial targets which aided the war effort, such as blast furnaces. The first RAF raid on the interior of Germany took place on the night of 15 May - 16 May.

To the top



Source : Wikipedia