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Rotterdam, the Most Beautiful Rotten City

Teri Dashfield invited me to join a five day photo challenge with song. I decided to post images related to places that I had visited and matched the images to the songs that represents or about the place. Please bear with me for the next coming five days, and to excite you more, some songs that I am going to include are not in English.

Day 1: Rotterdam (the Netherlands)

Rotterdammers are proud of their city and it is no wonder that there is even a song about the city. The song entitled Rotterdam, De Allermoiste Rotstad (Rotterdam, the most beautiful rotten city) is one of them. The song shows the pride of Rotterdammers after ugly stereotypes given to the city. I lived in the Hague before moving to Rotterdam, and I have heard lousy things about Rotterdam from being a city with high crimes to a city full of immigrants. The majority of Rotterdam’s residents who were immigrants often being stereotyped as laborers not thinkers; and as a city with the largest port in Europe and massive industrial area, Rotterdam was considered a polluted city.

However, after moving to Rotterdam from the Hague, I get seriously confused by those ugly stereotypes about Rotterdam. I do not see drunk men or high on marijuana people on the streets of Rotterdam unlike when I was in Amsterdam. For this case, I feel much safer in Rotterdam than in Amsterdam. I had bad experience being attacked by a drunk person in Amsterdam (two attacks at different occasion).

Photography by Indah SusantiThe people in Rotterdam are indeed majority immigrants and that makes the city has numerous exotic shops and restaurants. The restaurants in Rotterdam are not targeting tourists but loyal customers, so the food and service quality are in general relatively good and friendly. Additionally, where else in the Netherlands can you feel the Caribbean-Latin American atmosphere during summer time except in Rotterdam? Rotterdam has the Caribbean Summer Street Party every year. The party is not an exhibitionist one so it is a joyful event for kids to participate and to enjoy. The city also offers prestigious annual events like North Sea Jazz, International Film Festival and an International Marathon.

The time has changed in Rotterdam on the environmental issue as well. Rotterdam is one of European leading cities that promotes sustainable living. The city promotes many programs to reduce co2 emissions  to  clean its polluted air. Rotterdam’s Erasmus University Hospital is the first hospital in the Netherlands that use pharma-filter with which waste and waste-water treated in environmentally friendly. And in year 2014, Rotterdam has been crowned as the best city in Europe at the Urbanism Awards in United Kingdom.

I just think some Dutch do injustice when calling Rotterdam as a “Rotstad” or in English: a Rotten City.

Schei toch uit over die moffen, hou toch op over die bommen
Rotterdam, stad zonder hart, mijn hart ligt er wel, verdomme
Wat een ander ook mag zeggen, die slaat de plank maar mis
Rotterdam, de mooiste rotstad die er is

Shut up about those Germans, give me a break on those bombs
Rotterdam, a city without a heart,  my heart is there, damned
Whatever others say, they are wrong
Rotterdam, the most beautiful rotten city that exists

(Partial lyric of song “Rotterdam, De Allermoiste Rot Stad”)


  1. One of my three favorite cities! when I first considered going I saw lots of negative reviews and a very few that said it was wonderful. Well, it is wonderful. I fell in love and on my last day, walking from the channel to the train station I found a street/neighborhood party. I spent a lovely few hours, then had to leave. I’ll be back!

  2. Lovely images and great writing. I was in Rotterdam years ago for a few days and was quite impressed. Like other places the world over, some people think it’s also probably not the same it once was 😦

  3. So inlove with your blog ❤ Actually, The Netherlands is my dream destination! Would be nice if you could check my blog too. 🙂 Thanks and have a great day xx

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