Rotterdam, in the Dutch province of Zuid Holland, is the largest port in Europe and the second largest city of the Netherlands. It lies on the Nieuwe Maas river in the delta formed by the convergence of the River Rhine and River Maas. Founded on a dam, or embankment, by the River Rotte, Rotterdam gained city status in 1340 and grew steadily through the succeeding centuries.
On 14 May 1940 the city was bombed by the Luftwaffe during the German invasion of the Low Countries, killing between 800 and 900 civilians and destroying much of the city centre. After the war, Rotterdam was rebuilt in a modernist idiom, its Lijnbaan incorporating retail, housing and separation of traffic from pedestrians in a major development.
Rotterdam has a population of 584,000.