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The international cities network of Rotterdam

Romania, Constanta, sister city since 1976

Constanta is a Romanian port on the Black Sea. The city has a population in excess of 300,000 and processes more than half of the total Romanian international trade. It is also an important industrial centre and a popular stylish seaside resort. The ancient Greeks call the city Tomis, which was later chanced to Constanta by the Romans.

Poland, Gdansk/Gdynia, sister city since 1977

Gdansk is the most important port in Poland. The city lies on the Baltic Sea, to the west of the mouth of the river Wista. Gdansk, Gdynia and Sopot make up the urban area. Gdansk has a population of half a million and is about twice as large as Gdynia. The industry, such as shipping and fishing, is closely linked to the port. The city was almost completely burnt during allied bombing in 1945, but many old buildings have since been restored. Gdynia was one of the largest harbours on the Baltic Sea until 1939, but it was also heavily hit during the second world war. Although the city was spared, the harbour was completely destroyed.

Hungary, Budapest, partner city since 1991

Budapest is the capital city of the republic Hungary. The city lies on the river Danube and with a population of two million it is the largest city in the country and is the governmental, economic, tourist and cultural heart of Hungary. The city also boasts six universities, giving it an important educational role. Budapest is the start and end point of the Hungarian rail and road infrastructure. The city was established when the sister cities of Boeda, on the high western banks of the Danube, and Pest, on the lower eastern banks grew together. The two parts Boeda and Pest are joined by six bridges, one of these is the famous Széchenyi bridge or suspension bridge, and two railway bridges. The history of the city goes back to the Celtic settlement called Ofen (Boeda). Boedapest, had already been heavily damaged by allied bombing during the second world war was further decimated during the Russian invasion in 1956. Many historical buildings have since been restored or completely rebuilt.

Slovakia, Bratislava, partner city since 1991

Bratislava, also situated along the Danube, is the capital city of Slovakia. The city has a population of about 450,000 and is the industrial, cultural, religious and political centre of the country. The 13th century Maartens Cathedral, where in the past many Hungarian kings were crowned, is one of the monuments in the city. Bratislava was originally a stronghold, Brezalauspurc, where the Germans formed a settlement in the 13th century. Boedapest was captured by the Turks, and between 1536 and 1784 it was the capital city of Hungary. After the first world war, the city belonged to the new country Czechoslovakia. When Slovakia and Czechia split up, on 31st December 1992, the city became the capital of the independent Slovakia.

Czechia, Prague, partner city since 1991

Prague became the capital city of the republic of Czechia after the break up of Czechoslovakia, and with its population of 1.3 million it is the largest and most important city in the country. The city lies on the river the Moldau, and it is the economical, cultural, governmental, religious and tourist centre of the country. In the 10th century two settlements combined to become one merchants settlement and Prague came into existence. Jewish and German merchants established themselves in Prague very early on. In 1255 the city was granted city privileges. Emperor Karel the fourth made the city his capital city in 1346 and established the oldest university in Middle-Europe, the Karel University (1348). The architectonic wonders of the city give it it's nickname, Zlata Praha, which means golden Prague. On the Hradany-hill, on the west banks of the Moldau can be found, next to a 14th century citadel, the architectonic master piece the Saint Vitus Cathedral. On 28th October 1981 the republic of Czechoslovakia was proclaimed in Prague.

United States of America

Maryland, Baltimore, sister city since 1985

Baltimore was founded in 1729 by the English family Calvert when the state of Maryland was colonised. Since then it has expanded to become a modern industrial city with a population of 750,000. The port of Baltimore is important for the transit of goods to its extensive hinterland. The city is also the centre for Roman Catholic life in the United States.

Texas, Dallas, sister city since 1985

Dallas, a city with a population of 1 million, lies in the state of Texas and is part of an urban area supporting more than 3.3 million people. The city is one of the most important industry and trade centres in the south and lies at the intersection of air and road ways. The city developed originally from the cotton industry. After the second world war, the oil, aeroplane and rocket industries became important. The city is also a leading area for fashion, publishing and the film industry.

Washington, Seattle, sister port since 1969

Seattle lies in the state Washington in the North West of the United States, in the arm of the Puget Sound and on Lake Washington. In 1990 the population of the city was 500,000. The harbour concentrates on trade with Eastern Asia, and is also the home harbour for an extensive fishing fleet. The industry is dominated by the aeroplane manufacturer Boeing and the rocket industry.

Far East

Japan, Kobe, sister port since 1967

Kobe is a large port on the Bay of Osaka and has a population of nearly one and a half million. The city is part of the conurbation of Osaka and lies on the narrow coastal region at the foot of the Rokko mountains. The industrial activities in the city cover shipping, chemical, steel and rubber. There are four universities in Kobe. The cities position as a trade centre was made possible in 1868 when the city was opened to foreigners. The temples dating from the 8th and 9th centuries have been restored after the mass destruction during the second world war. The recent earthquakes (1995), killing more than 5000 people, seriously damaged the city. But the temples seemed to have been spared.

Japan, Osaka Perfecture, partner city since 1984

Osaka is the capital city of the urban perfecture (fu) of the same name on the island Honshu, at the mouth of the Yode in the Bay of Osaka. The city has a population of 2.7 million and is one of the three largest cities in Japan. Osaka has an important harbour which handles much of the Japanese exports. The city is a great traffic intersection and has a sizeable industrial sector. The centre of the city is built in the Yoda delta and is crossed by countless canals and small rivers. The different districts are linked by more than 800 bridges. The destruction caused during the second world war has led to the city now having a modern character. In the fourth century, the city was called Naniwa and was the capital city of Japan. Up until the 8th century the city was frequently the residence of the Japanese Emperor. The harbour was established as late as the 19th century, but quickly grew to an important trading port.

Japan, Tokyo, sister port since 1989

Tokyo is the capital city of the Japanese Empire. The city is part of an urban conurbation where more than 18 million people live. The city itself has a population of nearly 12 million. Tokyo lies at the Bay of Tokyo on the Pacific Ocean and its four harbours make it one of the most important ports in Japan. In addition the city is the political, cultural and economic heart of the country. The industrial sector is dominated by light industry. Tokyo is the residence of the Emperor and the seat of most governmental bodies and embassies. The history of the city goes back to the citadel Edo (or Jedo), built by daimyo Dokan Ota in 1456. Tokyo means eastern capital city. The former imperial residence was called Kyoto. On the 1st of September 1923, the city was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake. The city was also heavily damaged during the second world war. Tokyo is now a very modern city, divided into districts.

China, Shanghai, sister city since 1979

Shanghai has a population of 13.5 million and is the largest city in China. The city lies at the Yangzi Jiang estuary at the mouth of the Hangpu. It's favourable geographical location means that the port plays an important transit function to its hinterland. Shanghai originated from a settlement dating from the Soeng period (the 10th century) and developed to become a city in the 13th century. The forced opening to foreigners, after the first and second opium wars during the middle of the 19th century, allowed the city to transform into an international trade centre. The western appearance of the city is due to the events at this time. In 1921 the Chinese Communist party was founded. The proclamation of the Folks republic of China in 1949 put an end to foreign enterprise. In 1984 the city was designated a Chinese open city and was once again open to foreign investors.

Indonesia, Jakarta, partner city since 1983

Jakarta or Djakarta is the capital city of the Republic of Indonesia and lies on the north coast of West-Java, at the mouth of the Ciliwung in the Java Sea. With its population of 8 million, Jakarta is by far the largest city in the country. This city is the centre of the country regarding governmental, service, economic, cultural and educational sectors. The port handles an important part of Indonesia's imports. Almost all regions of Java can be reached by rail from this harbour. Jakata consists of five districts, with Jakarta Kota and New Jakarta being the most important. Jakarta Kota is the oldest part of the city. It still partly retains the old Dutch style, with drawbridges and canals. New Jakarta is higher with a spacious residential and business area. This was the governmental centre in the colonial times. After J.P. Coen had destroyed the settlement Jacatra, a fort was built to counter attacks from the sea. This fort was given the name Batavia in 1619. The city was re-christened Jakarta after the handing over of sovereignty in 1949.

Korea, Pusan, sister harbour since 1987

Until 1910, Pusan was a small fishing village, called Pusanp’o. It was here that the Japanese, with permission from the Korean government, established a trade settlement, the Waerwan. In 1876 the Japanese forced the Koreans to open the city to the outside world and the city quickly developed into an international trade centre. The city has now become the most important port in South Korea and has a population of almost 4 million. During the Korean war, the city temporarily became the capital city of South Korea and a centre for millions of refugees.

South America

Cuba, Havana, sister city since 1983

Havana, situated along the Bay of Havana, is the capital city of the republic of Cuba. The city has a sheltered harbour which is crucially important for the transport of goods to and from the hinterland. More than 2 million people live in the city, which is also the centre of political, economic and cultural life in the country. The local industry is responsible for almost one third of the National Product. The architectonic character of the city is characterised by a mixture of modern and old buildings. The Dome of the Kapitool, dating from 1929, contains a 24 carat diamond which gives the origin for all distance determinations in Cuba. In 1515 Diego Velazquez founded Havana on the south coast and it was moved 4 years later in 1519 to its current position.


South Africa, Durban, partner city since 1991

The area of the Metropolitan Council of Durban has a population of more than 2.5 million. The second city and largest port in South Africa lies on the east coast in the province KwaZulu-Natal. After the abolition of apartheid, the many local Councils became governmentally fused with the previously white city or the 'Central Business District. Durban is the fastest growing city in the African continent. In addition to being a centre for industrial activity, the subtropical climate, extensive beaches and quality tourist facilities make the city a popular seaside resort. Durban was founded in 1824 by the English, the influences of which are still visible.

Suriname, Cape Verdi and the Netherlands Antilles, partner regions since resp.1993, 1984, 1989

Rotterdam is home to many nationalities. Important immigrant groups stem from these regions, which is one of the reasons that the governments of these regions have asked Rotterdam for support in various areas. This is especially interesting because it offers the possibility to strengthen the relations between immigrants and their mother countries, as well as to improve relationships with the government.