Rotterdam Centraal: Window into Modernity

Front of Rotterdam Centraal Station.

The recency of central Rotterdam’s architecture hit me in the first few minutes I spent in its central train station. In making the trip to that city from we had travelled not just from city to city but from Centraal Station to Centraal Station; the core of one city to another. My first glimpse of Rotterdam was of its literal heart, and it could not have been more different than that of Amsterdam. 

This is not to say Amsterdam Centraal is stuck in the past; much of the interior is quite modern, and it’s still being remodeled. What stands out, especially in contrast to Rotterdam, is that the modern parts are additions onto a very old core. The view out of the window of the station is of buildings in a centuries-old city center:

View out the window of Amsterdam Centraal.
Some modernity in Amsterdam Centraal.

When we look out the front of Rotterdam Centraal, we see an ultramodern skyline; while the bulk of Amsterdam’s Really Old Buildings survived World War II, central Rotterdam was levelled and was rebuilt in the latter half of the 20th century. It only really takes a few minutes in each train station to feel the different energies. 


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