Rotterdam's Old City Wall – Rotterdam, Netherlands - Atlas Obscura

Rotterdam, Netherlands

Rotterdam's Old City Wall

Inside this metro station is a section of the city's former medieval fortification.  

Rotterdam is a very modern city with many contemporary trappings. However, this doesn’t mean the city isn’t an old one, as it has been around for nearly 700 years. 

The city of Rotterdam was founded around the 13th century when a dam was constructed on the Rotte river and people began populating the nearby landscape. Rotterdam began as a small town and was granted cityhood around 1340. This new designation allowed the city to construct various fortifications, one being a defensive wall that was completed around a century later. 

Sadly, the march of progress didn’t wait for Rotterdam, and the defensive walls quickly became obsolete not long after their completion. In fact, the city started dismantling the structures halfway through the 16th century, leaving only the gates and towers to use for other purposes. 

Over the centuries, nearly all traces of the wall have disappeared. However, in 1989 archeologists found what is believed to be the last remaining piece of the wall. It was uncovered in a pit that was being excavated for a new metro line.

At first, the bricks were removed and studied in order to make space for the metro. Once complete, the bricks were brought back to their original location in 1993. Today, the structure that was discovered is just a few meters above the metro track, constructed on top of a pair of beams. 

The wall is a wonderful reminder of Rotterdam’s history and provides a brief glance at architecture from the city’s medieval past. 

Know Before You Go

You will need a train ticket or a public transit pass to see this wall, as it's in the station. A small sign describes the history of the building, but it is however written in Dutch.

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