The History of Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Hague – Eric

From the readings what surprised and taught me the most was the history of the development of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and Hague. Their geopolitical positioning and unique techniques developed in the early 1600s demonstrate the Netherland’s rich story of how their main cities were designed with their similarities and differences. 

Whereas Amsterdam had not joined the rebellion of other cities against Spain, Rotterdam became the main city of supplying the young Dutch Republic with its main port. In doing so, the city expanded by the river, transforming the island into a city with canals and watershed systems that would regulate the outflow points in the city, improving water quality as well as natural resources but most important of all raising the city above-average sea level. 

The people of Amsterdam on the other hand, designed their city in a ring shape to promote their civic pride and demonstrate their wealth. Whereas Rotterdam was built primarily to sustain a frequent overflow of the sea, Amsterdam focused on rather developing a dry land with dikes constructed by large amounts of sands. Every inch of the city was designed and crafted carefully to define the intermixed street and water system promoting a truly Dutch Renaissance city that used mathematics and science to create proper hydraulic systems, fortifications, and plans. Hence, instead of working around the nature like Rotterdam, Amsterdam’s use of innovation and man made technology coined its nickname, “the ideal city.”

Hague, however, was an exceptional city among the three. Developed among the highest parts of the coastlines, the city was the administrative center of the Dutch Republic. Whereas Rotterdam primarily focused on flood concerns, the residential environments and new dam squares of Hague were crafted with little worry about flooding, similar to Amsterdam. Yet, compared to the ring-shaped city of Amsterdam, Hague was developed with straight lines across the area and the city was protected with high dunes and sand ridges that stretched all across the coastlines to define the borders of the city.

Klokan Technologies. “Platte Grond van Rotterdam : Schaal 1:10000.”, Accessed 23 May 2021.

Rijiks Museum. “1600-1665 Amsterdam’s Prosperity – Timeline Dutch History – Rijksstudio – Rijksmuseum.” Rijksmuseum, 2020,


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