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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Rotterdam, the Netherlands


Rotterdam is Netherland’s second largest city and one of the largest ports in the world. Dating back since 1270 as a dam construction site, the city grew into an important international commercial center situated on the business maps of major companies.  

As one of the oldest cities in The Netherlands, Rotterdam has a rich and vast cultural history. Starting with the Erasmus University which is known worldwide for its study programs and scholarships, its amazing architecture and maritime heritage, Rotterdam is a vibrant multicultural city. It has a well-respected orchestra, concert halls, theaters and a large exhibition complex which can hold different type of events from tennis tournaments to pop concerts.  In Rotterdam you can also find a great number of museums; one of the most famous is Netherlands Architecture Institute, The Maritime museum and the Kunsthal. In 2001, alongside Porto, Rotterdam was declared European Capital of Culture.  At the moment Rotterdam is experiencing a cultural boom with many urban architectural projects, summer festivals and a vivid nightlife. The motto of the city emphases the inhabitant’s education and competition spirit: "Money is earned in Rotterdam, divided in The Hague and spent in Amsterdam". The competition between the two major cities helps bring out the best in cultural life by organizing events and joining forces to develop and maintain a level of international notoriety that the citizens have gotten used to. The numerous international festivals held in Rotterdam puts the city on the cultural map of the world.

Beside the rich cultural life the city has a lot more to offer in terms of local attractions. Rotterdam has an interesting architectural style that blends the old with the contemporary. After being bombed in the World War Two, the city had to be rebuilt. When visiting Rotterdam you must not miss The Erasmus Bridge. It spans the River Maas and joins the north and south areas of the city. The bridge is a beautiful piece of architecture, particularly when lit up at night. If you are a shopping fan then Rotterdam offers one of the best experiences. Visiting the Bijenkorf you will always find new products and international brands in fashion, cosmetics, accessories, home decoration, media and travel. Another interesting local attraction is Kunsthal Rotterdam. This is an exceptional exhibition building that holds around 25 exhibitions annually. The Kunsthal displays culture on a wide range of themes: classical and contemporary art, photography, and design from elitist to popular. Designed by architect Rem Koolhaas, this striking building is a work of art in itself. Once night falls Rotterdam reveals new possibilities and uncovers its beauty in the form countless late-night clubs.

Playing a key role as the largest port in Europe and the busiest in the world, Rotterdam has always been the center of the merchant shipping and fishing industry. The city also has a cruise line named after it owned by Holland America Line.  Taking a closer look at the fishing industry we discover that the Dutch fish market share is relatively small, even though several specifically Dutch products are sought out and have a growing demand. Netherland’s fisheries are limited by natural borders as well as by Total Allowable Catches for the fishing grounds in The North Sea and other EU fishing areas. In Rotterdam, the fish industry is more developed and well – organized. The market is composed of specialized wholesale and retail businesses networks that ensure national enterprises a strong position. The industry is not limited to fish processing and has started to develop interest in other food products that can help companies grow. The opportunity for development for the Dutch fishery sector is strictly related to the industries’ capability to develop a chain thinking mentality. In relation to this mentality the fish industry took action in the form of integration into Europe’s distribution chains for food products.  The Dutch fishing industry is an innovative one, always looking for ways to expand and grow beyond the national borders.

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