Rotterdam and Rem

Peter Buchanan 

Amsterdam is a city of still water (its harbour linked to the sea by canal), while the waters of Rotterdam go in and out with the tide.” This is how the Dutch explain the differences between their first and second largest cities. Both cities are part of the Randstad, that metropolitan web of interlinked cities that also includes The Hague, Delft and Utrecht. But Rotterdam, with the world’s busiest docks, is an outward looking city of trade and business. It was flattened in the War and, though rebuilt with a pedestrian shopping spine (the famous Lijnbaan), increasingly resembles an American city. Historic, cultured Amsterdam (or at least its centre) remains a quintessential European city of enclosed vistas and a contiguous fabric of tightpacked buildings of homogenous height...[+]

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