‘Het Steiger, Rotterdam’
A badly faded stereograph but important. It’s a rare view of pre-war Rotterdam, taken c.1860. The canal, one of many in Rotterdam, was called the Steiger, translated as the Scaffold. The church in the background is the medieval Cathedral of Great St. Lawrence. The church was gutted by fire during the Nazi air-raid on the city in 1940. The centre of Rotterdam was almost completely destroyed and afterwards rebuilt in a modern style. The cathedral was one of the few buildings to be reconstructed to its pre-war appearance. Click on ‘Rotterdam’ in the tag cloud to the right to see a few more pre-war images of Rotterdam.
‘Rotterdam – Statue of Erasmus’
The statue of Erasmus was cast from bronze in 1622 by the greatest Dutch sculptor of the Renaissance: Hendrick de Keyser. It replaced an earlier wooden statue of the Humanist scholar who was born in Rotterdam c.1466. Keyser was paid the colossal sum of 10,000 guilders to produce the effigy, far more than Rembrandt received when he painted The Night Watch in 1642. The statue survived the almost total destruction of Rotterdam’s beautiful city centre by the Germans in 1940 and was later buried in a garden until the war was over. It was then replaced in its former position close to the only surviving part of medieval Rotterdam, the Great Church of Lawrence .
This great stereoview shows the Steiger, one of Rotterdams many canals. It’s an important record of how the city appeared before its almost complete destruction by the Germans in 1940. Almost nothing survived and in the post-war reconstruction the city was rebuilt in a completely modern style.
‘East across the Oudehaven with its shipping, its handsome bridges and roomy quays, Rotterdam, Holland’
Underwood & Underwood
The bridge shown in the stereoview was the Willembrug, or William Rail Bridge. It was opened in 1877 to carry rail freight in and out of Rotterdam, one of the largest ports in the world. It was demolished in 1994 and replaced with a tunnel. Rotterdam’s Oude Haven, the Old Port, developed out of wetlands in the mid 14th century.
‘Holland – Rotterdam – Canal’
The stereoview shows one of the tree-lined canals in the centre of Rotterdam. Architecturally similar to Amsterdam and Antwerp, with numerous Flemish Baroque townhouses, the centre of Rotterdam was almost totally destroyed on 14 May 1940 in a German air-raid. Used as a strong-arm tactic to try and force the Dutch troops to capitulate, the Rotterdam Blitz killed over 900 civilians and made anywhere between 30,000 and 80,000 people homeless. Such was the ‘success’ of the raid that the Germans then threatened to destroy the ancient city of Utrecht in a similar manner. Following the threat the Dutch government had little choice but to capitulate. After the war the city was rebuilt in a Modernist style. Unfortunately pre-war stereoviews of Rotterdam are as rare as hen’s teeth.