De Brandgrens (The Blaze Boundary) – Rotterdam, Netherlands - Atlas Obscura

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De Brandgrens (The Blaze Boundary)

These lights mark the area of Rotterdam that was bombed and burned in 1940. 


Rotterdam is known for its modern and daring architecture that draws many people to the city’s center. The center is also home to reminders of when the city was bombed by Nazi Germany in 1940. 

The local government has fought hard to make certain the city’s history and links to the past are not forgotten.

To bring this history to the forefront, the Rotterdam municipality decided in 2006 to mark the border of the bombarded area with specially designed lamps in the ground. This border is known as “de brandgrens” or “the blaze boundary” and encircles the area that was bombed in a 12 kilometer (seven-mile) circle. Inside, visitors can see modern buildings, on the other side visitors will see the remaining 18th-century buildings. 

The markings were created by Adriaan Geuze, who submitted the winning design through a competition. The first lamps were installed in May 2009 and the project was completed on May 14, 2019, 70 years after the bombing. The exact border was traced by Ir. Koos Hage. 

Before these lamps were installed, the city would place temporary spots on the anniversary to mark the area.  

Know Before You Go

The markers are all over the city, the easiest ones to spot are close to the central station, right next to the Doelen.

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April 7, 2021

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