Until May, 1940, Rotterdam was an elegant city of canals and stately historic houses in the Amsterdam style. It was a fine example of the Dutch genius for constructing beautiful cities where once, there were only water and swamps.
Then the Nazi bombers appeared in the skies, like a plague of buzzing wasps and demolished Rotterdam within a few hours.
Only one building survived: the St Laurens church near the city center. Built in the time of Erasmus, the St. Laurens church is portrayed in many fine old sketches and paintings done in the time of Rembrandt (copies of these can be seen today on a touch screen in the restored church). The St. Laurens church with its single, tall tower was badly damaged but it was still standing after the aerial blitz was over.
The ruins of that church serve as a powerful symbol of the horror of the new era of aerial bombing which began on that day in 1940; the era of The Devastated City…….