Erasmusbrug© City of Rotterdam
• Once a stage town
• Population: 600,000
• Second most important city in the Netherlands
The Tour Start from Rotterdam marks the comeback of the prologue time-trial, not included in the race programme for the last two years. It first appeared on the itinerary of the 1967 Tour, won by Spanish rider José Maria Errandonea. The fastest short-distance specialists of prologue time-trials were Bernard Hinault (5 wins), Eddy Merckx, Thierry Marie and Chris Boardman (3 wins each). In the 1994 Tour the British rider broke the fastest record with an average speed of 55,152 km/h.
With the Grand Start of the Tour de France, Rotterdam confirms its reputation of sportiest city in The Netherlands. The city’s record is impressive: the yearly international Fortis Marathon, the Bavaria City Racing with Formula 1 cars, the Red Bull Air Race, the final game of the Euro 2000 football championship won by France, the Davis Cup and the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, the Champions Trophy Hockey, to name just a few… With three professional football clubs, including the famous Feyenoord, Rotterdam boasts a great football tradition. And since top-level sports could not exist without mass sports, the people of Rotterdam can choose between more than 400 associations to do sports. Rotterdam has also proved several times that it is the Dutch city of events. Large sports and cultural events such as the Ortel Summer Carnival, the World Port Day, the International Film Festival, the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Dunya Ortel Festival and the national celebration of New Year’s Eve on the Boompjes Avenue attract large crowds.
Maasvlakte© Aeroview Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the largest seaport in Europe and one of the main ports worldwide. Located in the Province of South Holland, on the banks of the River Meuse, one of the rivers of the Rhine and Meuse delta, the city boasts about 600,000 inhabitants while the greater urban area boasts about 1.2 million people. The name of Rotterdam dates back to the 13th century with the construction of a “dam” on the Rotte River. The construction of the Nieuwe Waterweg (new waterway) in 1875 marked the rapid development of the city. 420 million tons of goods are transported every year through the port, generating 80,000 direct jobs for the inhabitants of Rotterdam and 200,000 jobs for people living outside the city limits. Rotterdam can also pride itself in the cultural diversity of its population with 174 nationalities and is the first large European city that elected a mayor with Moroccan origins, Mr. Ahmed Aboutaleb. The inhabitants have the reputation of working hard, but also of being generous people.