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The Randstad Travel Guide

  • Photo: VanderWolf Images / Shutterstock

Rotterdam

Rotterdam looks to the future like almost nowhere else. The decision to leave the past behind wasn't made entirely through choice however—the old town disappeared overnight on May 14, 1940, when Nazi bombs devastated an area greater than one square mile, sweeping away more than 36,000 buildings in just a few torrid hours.

Since then, a new landscape of concrete, steel, and glass

has risen like a phoenix from the ashes, and today this world port is home to some of the 21st century's most architecturally important creations. The city skyline—especially in the areas around the station and by the Maas on the Kop van Zuid development—is constantly changing, and as each year passes it lives up more and more to its billing as "Manhattan-on-the-Maas." Many of the new buildings are commissioned from top-drawer contemporary architects like Rem Koolhaas and Sir Norman Foster, and each has a striking identity.

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