Moving to Holland is not easy, but it's worth the effort. This blog tells the story of shifting from American life in Pittsburgh to Expat life in the Netherlands,
and all of our European adventures that follow.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Bombs over Rotterdam

There are interesting reminders every now and then about the history of our fair city. Some are subtle, and some, not so much... like the bomb sirens that just went off all over the city. Huh? You heard me right, folks. It starts with just one soft siren in the distance, and grows increasingly intense and loud as others join in across the city. Don't worry, the War on Terror has not extended into The Netherlands, yet. Some group of cloggies somewhere decided that it was important to keep the old bomb warnings in tact, and in order to do so it requires that they test the system every month or so. It was a bit strange, and eerie, but at least "this is only a test."

On the more subtle side of the reminders of the past are the quaint, more typically Dutch, towns that line the city center of Rotterdam. Chad and I took a nice bike ride after work today to nearby Delfshaven. It's a small town consisting of only two to three old streets that are split by canals and topped off with a windmill at end of the inlet. The wall-to-wall buildings are marked with old metal signs swinging from hangers over the doors naming the tavern, taylor, or art gallary inside. It's a stark contrast to the modern, industrial city that can literally be seen over the tops of these old buildings. These modern city buildings owe their existence to the bombings in the 40's that leveled the city center, sparing only a few bordering villages to preserve the legacy of the area. This statue on the right represents Rotterdam after the WWII bombings leveled the entire city center. It's called "The City Without a Heart." While change can sometimes bring progress, as it has to the industry in Rotterdam, it's nice to have areas like Delfshaven that preserve a piece of the past.


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