Rotterdam is a municipality and city in the Dutch province of South-Holland, situated in the west of The Netherlands and part of the Randstad. The municipality is the second largest in the country (behind Amsterdam), with a population of approximately 601,300 people and over 2.9 million inhabitants in its metropolitan area (combined with The Hague).
Settlement at the lower end of the fen stream Rotte dates from at least 900. Around 1150, large floods in the area ended development, leading to the construction of protective dikes and dams. A dam on the Rotte or 'Rotterdam' was built in the 1260s and was located at the present-day Hoogstraat ('High Street'). Although Rotterdam did well after the middle ages and in the 'Golden Century' - roughly between 1650 and 1750) it was not before the second part of the nineteenth century that the city started to develop itself rapidly. Helped by the digging of a new seaway (The Nieuwe Waterweg) Rotterdam was rid of acces problems caused by the silting of the river and started receiving ever bigger ships with cargo for/from the booming Ruhrgebiet in Germany. Port related trade and industry skyrocketed, and the city started to draw lots of migrants from the then poor Brabant province, for whom the southern part of the city was constructed. At the turn of the twentieth century Rotterdam was well under way to become the largest economic centre in The Netherlands. It was between then and the second world war that large prestigious construction works were undertaken, in part to show off the new found economic pride.