Sightseeing in Rotterdam, in the city of barren expanses of rubble! It takes a little getting used to, but it’s still interesting and definitely not just for visitors from outside the city. After all, which Rotterdammers, with the exception of the conductor on Tram 8, regularly find themselves in Blijdorp, Centre and South? Het Vrĳe Volk 31-7-1946
Rotterdam rediscovers its appearance
Apart from Construction Day, there were other initiatives to promote the city’s rebuilding. From the spring of 1946 on, so-called Reconstruction Rides (‘Wederopbouwritten’) took groups on bus tours to building projects. These rides departed from the Old Tram House, located on Weena at the time. The route travelled the whole city and covered a distance of 31 kilometres.
From the spring of 1946 on, so-called Reconstruction Rides (‘Wederopbouwritten’) took groups on bus tours to building projects.
Alderman Van den Brule held a passionate plea for Rotterdam and for the Reconstruction Ride: “This ride means something. We Rotterdammers have a need to see what is happening in our city! Rotterdam is rediscovering its appearance. Walk though the city today and you can say without reservations that the heart is beating again. Everywhere you find a sense of vibrancy; everywhere you find signs of courage and initiative. Whether you talk to Rotterdammers or non-Rotterdammers, it’s a revelation for all of them. That’s another reason why we cannot miss this ride.” Het Vrĳe Volk 6-11-1953
Stub your cigarettes out
More and more interested sightseers were driven around each year. In November 1955, after ten years, the balance was drawn up. Ten years of Reconstruction Rides means 472,211 passengers and 437,155 kilometres completed (ten times the circumference of the earth). From 1956 on, on account of the great interest among foreign tourists, the VVV city tourist office organised a separate tour for ‘foreigners’. By 1957 interest started to wane. Attendance on the Rotterdam Reconstruction Ride was mediocre this year. On busy days, some twenty busses still depart from Weena, but in general, figures are far below those achieved in previous years. Perhaps the Rotterdammers, who always displayed so much interest in the rebuilding of their city, are convinced about it now, that comparatively little has changed in and around the city over the past year.
From 1956 on, on account of the great interest among foreign tourists, the VVV city tourist office organised a separate tour for ‘foreigners’.
In 1960 the route was revised and the ride (1.25 guilders a ticket) no longer travelled through the centre. Attention shifted to the expansions of the left bank of the Maas. Who knows the new districts of Hoogvliet, the Meeuwenplaat, the area of refineries? The majestic works being carried out here and there? There are plenty of Rotterdammers who rarely, if ever, see such places. Het Vrĳe Volk 6-8-1957
The reconstruction ride in 1960 would take them there. And — pleasant surprise — it even takes passengers to the heart of a refinery: Shell. The bus makes a 5-km-long trip across the grounds of this company. Stub your cigarettes out, no photography…. Het Vrĳe Volk 17-5-1960
Criss-cross through Rotterdam
By 1961 interested had dropped to 20,000 visitors. The tour for foreign visitors attracted 17,000 people. Those involved thought “that many Rotterdammers had by now seen the reconstruction of their city. In those days, Overschie, Zuidwijk, Pendrecht were big new districts that attracted attention. But what exactly is there to visit in Lombardijen?” Het Vrĳe Volk 12-10-1961
In 1962 a definitive decision was taken. The name Reconstruction Ride was replaced, and the negative trend was reversed with the slogan ‘Criss-cross through Rotterdam’. The last busses ran in 1966.