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Rotterdam Blitz Commemoration

Rotterdam Blitz Commemoration

May 14, 2021
Rotterdam
Free

Rotterdam Blitz Commemoration

Every year on May 14, Rotterdam commemorates the 1940 aerial bombardment that destroyed most of the city. Typically, there are many events and gatherings taking place in the city centre to commemorate the momentous event in Dutch history, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year will be different.

During the treacherous Rotterdam Blitz, 850 people were killed in the onslaught and 80.000 people lost their homes. The Netherlands surrendered the next day.

Monuments, plaques and statues in Rotterdam

Walking around Rotterdam, you will find a lot of statues and monuments made to commemorate the bombing. Rotterdam burned for days after the bombing, and soon after, the periphery of the bombardment was coined brandgrens, or fire boundary, which is nowadays marked with plaques dotted around the perimeter.

On Plein 1940 (named after the year of the bombardment), you can find the sculpture City In Ruins by Ossip Zadkine (pictured above). It shows a warped image of a human being with its hands thrust up into the air and its heart missing.

A steel skeleton-like reconstruction of the outlines of the once-famous Delftsche Poort was placed on the Hofplein to remind people of one of the many buildings that were ruined.

Metal church frame at Delftsche Poort Rotterdam

Rotterdam in the 21st century

Rotterdam has arisen like a phoenix from the ashes and that's why the city is now renowned for its many interesting buildings, where the city motto is "Make it happen". Nowadays you can learn a lot about the tragic events of the Rotterdam Bombardment online, such as the Brandgrens website.