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WORTH GIVING A DAM

ROTTERDAM, CHARACTERISED BY ITS DOWN-TO-EARTH ATTITUDE, PROGRESSIVE ARCHITECTURE AND CULTURE OF BOLD DESIGN, IS A CITY COMING INTO ITS OWN. AS IT EMBRACES ITS INDIVIDUALITY, WINQ DECIDES TO DO THE SAME
THE SWAN-LIKE ERASMUS BRIDGE, WITH DE ROTTERDAM TOWERS IN THE BACKGROUND.

Chances are, if you’re planning a Dutch city break, you won’t look much further than Amsterdam, with its criss-crossing canals, gabled townhouses, world-class museums and infamous red-light district.

Add in a healthy smattering of a gay scene, and the progressive, liberal attitudes of most locals, and you may think there’s little cause to venture to any other city in the Netherlands.

Enter Rotterdam, Amsterdam’s bolder, brasher, big-city brother, complete with its own ‘gay triangle’.

Rotterdam’s wartime fate — German bombs almost completely destroyed the urban centre during WWII — provided an opportunity for the city to embrace innovative new styles of architecture which serve as an antidote to its more famous rival’s village-like charm. So much so that spotting an old building is a rarity — the City Hall and the 45m-tall Witte Huis are notable exceptions.

But visiting in February for a long weekend with a friend, I’m not sure what to expect. In truth, what Rotterdam’s like isn’t something I’ve given much thought to, beyond just looking forward to a change of scene for a few days…

Day 1

The trip starts well enough: shortly after checking into our hotel by the jutting Central Station, I spot hunky French tennis player Jo Wilfried-Tsonga (in town for the annual ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament) getting out of a lift on the same floor as me — though I don’t clock which room he’s heading to…

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