Gemeente Rotterdam

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In the 12th century, the river Rotte flooded the settlement of Rotta. Around 1260, the Rotte river was dammed. Fishermen settled around the dam. The settlement obtained city rights in 1299. The city supported count William III in his war with Flanders. It received a coat of arms in recognition of its support. City walls followed in 1360. During a civil war in 1488-1490, Rotterdam became a strategic military asset, making it a foremost city in the county of Holland. Between 1449 and 1525, the city built its first stone building: St Laurens church.

Rotterdam wapen.jpg

In 1816, after the French occupation, Rotterdam reverted (with minor adaptions) to its old arms, as seen on the token. However, its position was by that time threatened by silting of the river connecting it to the sea. This would have had serious military repercussions also: the city housed a major naval yard. Nearby Hellevoetsluis was a staging place for the Dutch fleet. Here, William III had embarked for England to spark the Glorious Revolution. Nearby Delfshaven was an important trading port; the place where the Pilgrim fathers had embarked for England.

Eventually, a broad canal was dug between Rotterdam and the sea between 1866 and 1872: Nieuwe Waterweg (New Waterway). This enable a rapid construction of port activities. They expanded along Nieuwe Waterweg, making Rotterdam a vital port for the country and its German hinterland. This may have played a role in the German decision not to invade the Netherlands in the first world war. Instead, the city became a spying hub for all parties.

All changed in May 1940. The city was flattened by a nazi bombing attack. The centre was completely demolished, except for St Laurens church. Further war damage occurred and in 1944, a significant part of the male population was deported for slave labour. Post-war construction made Rotterdam into a city of new buildings and broad avenues, without an old centre. However, this new beginning was also a chance to increase efficiency. The city became a magnet for port activities and oil and petrochemical industry, especially when huge areas were equipped as ocean-connected industrial estates. It became necessary to create new land, jutting into the North sea. From 1961 to 2004, Rotterdam was the world's largest cargo port.

Municipality of Rotterdam
RGR1.jpg
Filename RGR1
Side 1 arms and GEMEENTE *ROTTERDAM*
Side 2 arms and GEMEENTE *ROTTERDAM*
Manufacture Copper-nickel
Size (mm) 22.5
Weight (grams)
Notes For use by municipal staff
Source Kooij
RGR2.jpg
Filename RGR2
Side 1 arms and GEMEENTE *ROTTERDAM*
Side 2 arms and GEMEENTE *ROTTERDAM*
Manufacture Brass
Size (mm) 20
Weight (grams)
Notes For use by municipal staff
Source Kooij