Rotterdam is famous around the world for its modern architecture, but this quirky feature came about by obligation rather than by imagination. The vast majority of the city was turned to ashes during the destructive Rotterdam Blitz by the German Air Force of 14 May 1940, but one building miraculously survived: the City Hall. Built between 1914 and 1940 as per Queen Wilhelmina’s request, it has a symmetrical design and a sober Renaissance style that is not without resemblance to other Dutch city halls. It features and four wings and a small interior courtyard, as well as two statues on either side of the main entrance: the ‘Portier’ (doorman) and the ‘Fiscus’ (tax collector); there are ten other statues scattered around the city hall’s gardens, each representing Rotterdam’s values and virtues. The most striking part of the building, however, is the 70-meter high tower featuring a clock, a bell, and an angel of peace. During the holiday season, Rotterdam's biggest Christmas tree is set up in front of the City Hall.
Rotterdam City Hall is is located at Coolsingel 40, opposite Stadhuisplein. It can be reached by metro via lines D and E (stop Stadhuis), or by tram via lines 21, 23, and 24 (stop Stadhuis). Although it is open Monday to Saturday between 8:30 AM to 5 PM, self-guided visits are not allowed. Guided tours must be booked at the local tourist office.