The history of the Erasmus Bridge
Built from light-blue steel, its one-armed pylon jutting out high into the sky and throwing a row of 40 steel cables across the water, the 800-meter-long Erasmus Bridge is a remarkable sight. At its highest point, the bridge is 139-meters tall. Known as the 'Erasmusbrug' in Dutch, the bridge has also been lovingly nicknamed The Swan (‘De Zwaan’) by locals due to the distinctive shape of that one, asymmetrical pylon. It was designed by Ben van Berkel and opened in 1996 by Queen Beatrix.
A spectacular river crossing in Rotterdam
One of Holland’s most famous bridges, the Erasmus Bridge spans the River Nieuwe Maas and forms an important connection between the northern and southern parts of Rotterdam. This can be explored particularly well as part of a bike tour through Rotterdam’s city center. On the tour, you cross the bridge to get from the futuristic Kop van Zuid neighborhood to the historic Delfshaven.
Kop van Zuid is a Rotterdam neighborhood in the grip of furious regeneration, yet proudly flaunting its industrial heritage, too. It boasts Rem Koolhaas' towering De Rotterdam, an award-winning residential skyscraper called the Montevideo building, as well as the Maastoren tower, Holland’s highest building. Hotel New York, on the other hand, is what really embodies the history of the area. This glorious Jugendstil building used to be home to the headquarters of the Holland America Line. Tens of thousands started their journey to a new life here, embarking from Rotterdam’s famous pier, the Wilhelminakade. Another great place to visit at Kop van Zuid is the Nederlands Fotomuseum, Holland’s national museum of photography.
Cross the Erasmus Bridge, and you end up in a quite different world: the Veerhaven with its elegant buildings and historic ships, and, a little bit further, the old Delfshaven, a pleasant historical neighborhood that lets the visitor take in the atmosphere of pre-war Rotterdam.
Events at the Erasmus Bridge
As one of Rotterdam’s key landmarks, the Erasmus Bridge is the setting for many spectacular events. A regular fixture on the city’s cultural calendar are the annual World Port Days, a large-scale maritime event that celebrates Rotterdam’s famous harbor – Europe’s biggest seaport. Another important event is the Marathon of Rotterdam, Holland’s largest running event. But that’s not all: the bridge has also seen Hollywood movie shoots, Red Bull Air Races, dance events and featured in the Tour de France cycling race.