Kop van Zuid

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6 travelers at this place:

  • Day46

    Rotterdam Overview

    May 31, 2015 in the Netherlands

    After Guernica, Rotterdam was the first city to suffer an aerial bombing. Infamously, Warsaw, Coventry and Dresden would all follow. The bombing of Guernica -- carried out by Hitler’s Luftwaffe at Franco’s request during the Spanish Civil War -- has been forever immortalised in the consciousness of humanity, thanks to Picasso’s painting. Indeed, the painting is now better known than the town itself. Joe and I have been fortunate to see it in the the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid. In my opinion, is it worthy of its reputation as the greatest painting ever produced. For one thing, its size alone is breathtaking.

    There is no such painting to commemorate the bombing of Rotterdam, but there is a sculpture in the centre of the city. Its a sculpture of a perished looked figure, staring upwards in disbelief. The metal work is black and deliberately wrinkled to try and capture further to the gloom and desperation.

    Today, the center of Rotterdam (the outskirts and suburbs survived) is a city built entirely from the ruins of WWII. It is, in other words, a modern metropolis. In that regard, it is unlike anywhere else I’ve visited in the Netherlands. Like the figure in the statue, you can’t help but look up. But for a different reason: you look up in awe at the skyscrapers of Rotterdam. Its reinvention, its ability to come back from nothing and be the city it is today, is perhaps the best tribute there can be to the Rotterdam of history.
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