Rotterdam is the 2nd largest city and municipality in the Netherlands. It is in the province of South Holland, at the mouth of the Nieuwe Maas channel leading into the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta at the North Sea. Its history goes back to 1270, when a dam was constructed in the Rotte. In 1340, Rotterdam was granted city rights by the Count of Holland. The Rotterdam–The Hague metropolitan area, with a population of approximately 2.7 million, is the 13th-largest in the European Union and the most populous in the country.
A major logistic and economic centre, Rotterdam is Europe's largest seaport. In 2020, it had a population of 651,446 and is home to over 180 nationalities. Rotterdam is known for its university, riverside setting, lively cultural life, maritime heritage and modern architecture. The near-complete destruction of the city centre in the World War II Rotterdam Blitz has resulted in a varied architectural landscape, including skyscrapers designed by architects such as Rem Koolhaas, Piet Blom and Ben van Berkel.
The Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt give waterway access into the heart of Western Europe, including the highly industrialized Ruhr. The extensive distribution system including rail, roads, and waterways have earned Rotterdam the nicknames "Gateway to Europe" and "Gateway to the World".
Rotterdam has one major university, the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), named after one of the city's famous former inhabitants, Desiderius Erasmus. The Woudestein campus houses (among others) Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. In Financial Times' 2005 rankings it placed 29th globally and 7th in Europe. In the 2009 rankings of Masters of Management, the school reached first place with the CEMS Master in Management and a tenth place with its RSM Master in Management. The university is also home to Europe's largest student association, STAR Study Association Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the world's largest student association, AIESEC, has its international office in the city.
The Willem de Kooning Academy Rotterdam's main art school, which is part of the Hogeschool Rotterdam. It is regarded as one of the most prestigious art schools in the Netherlands and the number 1 in Advertising and Copywriting. Part of the Willem de Kooning Academy is the Piet Zwart Institute for postgraduate studies and research in Fine Art, Media Design and Retail Design. The Piet Zwart Institute boasts a selective roster of emerging international artists.
The Hoboken campus of EUR houses the Dijkzigt (general) hospital, the Sophia Hospital (for children), Daniel den Hoed clinic (cancer institute) and the medical department of the University. They are known collectively as the Erasmus Medical Center. This center is ranked third in Europe by CSIC as a hospital, and is also ranked within top 50 universities of the world in the field of medicine (clinical, pre-clinical & health, 2017).
Three Hogescholen (Universities of applied sciences) exist in Rotterdam. These schools award their students a professional Bachelor's degree and postgraduate or Master's degree. The three Hogescholen are Hogeschool Rotterdam, Hogeschool Inholland and Hogeschool voor Muziek en Dans (uni for music and dance) which is also known as CodArts.
As there are many international and American schools scattered across Europe such as ASH (American International School of the Hague) Rotterdam also has its own international/American school by the name AISR (American International School of Rotterdam). At AISR children receive a multicultural education in a culturally diverse community and it offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program.
Unique to the city is the Shipping & Transport College which offers masters, bachelors and vocational diplomas on all levels.