Friday, February 4, 2011

A Visit to Beautiful Downtown Rotterdam

This is the government building in the center of town where we were required to attend to our 'legalities' ( in other words,  apply to make our temporary visas more permanent.)  The Germans bombed Rotterdam during the 1940's and very few of the old, historical buildings were left standing.  This is one of those who survived the German attacks.

Another beautiful old building that had a lovely square across the street.  The men in the statue were important in the city's history - the principle one being a humanist named Erasmus.

The apartment buildings have many stories with people literally living on top of each other.  A guide book I have been reading says 40% of Holland's population live in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht.  Those four cities account for only 10% of the land mass.  The Dutch have been very successful in controlling urban sprawl. 

An interesting statue (?) in downtown Rotterdam.  That is Elder Beckstrand putting the parking ticket in the window to be sure we didn't get a ticket.  We are driving a little Renault Clio with a stick shift.  It's been a few years since Elder Beckstrand has driven a car with a standard transmission.  Sister Beckstrand isn't even trying.....

This sign took Elder Beckstrand back 45 years.  This is the street that the Mormoonse Vier came to when they sang for street contacting.  They would get off the train from Amsterdam and stand on the Lijnbaan and sing while other elders  passed out pamphlets and tried to find people to teach.  The quartet would capture their attention long enough to allow the other missionaries to make that first crucial contact.  Elder B. was so delighted to see that it is still a thriving shopping area.

Yes, they have 'Foot Lockers' in The Netherlands.  Cool, huh?

No cars were allowed on these streets but bicycles can go anywhere.  People of all ages use bicycles to get around.  They are on every street and in every city.  You have to really watch for them when driving a car - the bicycles ALWAYS have the right-of-way.  Always.

There are lots of stores for young people.  Candice, Megan - want to come and shop on the Lijnbaan?

There were so many buildings destroyed during WWII that those few left standing have been carefully preserved.  The bombing occurred in May but hundreds of  fires burned until August.   After the massive rebuilding took place, Rotterdam became one of Europes most modern cities.

Can you believe it?  A Burger King in downtown Rotterdam.  The world is small.

As we drive out of the city the lovely Maas River is on the right side of the highway.  It connects Rotterdam to the North Sea, and is deep enough and wide enough to provide a natural harbor for ships coming from all over the world.  Thus, Rotterdam has become the largest port in the world.  The guide book says people come to Rotterdam to work, they go to Amsterdam to play, and they prefer to live in The Hague.  There are certainly a lot of them who live here!

It is necessary for us to cross over the Maas River every time we come from Dordrecht to Rotterdam.  This river is about the width of the Mississippi in America, but much deeper.  It is located at the mouth of two of Europe's greatest rivers, the Rhine from Germany and the Meuse or "Maas" from France. 

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