Rotterdam Holland about 1892

ROTTERDAM, HOLLAND — This famous centre of Dutch commerce lies fourteen miles from the North Sea, at the union of two rivers, one of which gives to the town its name. For this stream is called the Rotter, and a great dike or dam erected here bestows upon the place the title of Rotter-dam! This is indeed a clew by which to comprehend all similar Dutch names. Thus Amsterdam signifies the dam upon the Amstel; and so it is with Schiedam, Zaandam, Edam, Durgerdam, Volendam and all the other dams. But since every public square in Holland is also called a Dam; and since the horse-car signs are always telling us of this Dam or that Dam; and since in the construction of their dikes the Dutch have constantly to use the coffer-dam; if any country in the world may be said without profanity to be effectually “dammed,” Holland is the one. In Rotterdam one always sees a multitude of bridges. From almost any point you can count eight or ten; and since most of them are draw-bridges, they keep rising and falling like parts of an immense machine. Some of the boats which we see on the canals of Rotterdam are actually employed in bringing water to the city! This seems like taking coals to Newcastle, but, notwithstanding its aqueous surroundings, Rotterdam, like most Holland cities, has no abundance of good drinking water. Perhaps it is not strange therefore that not far away is a thriving town whose 300 distilleries produce the world-renowned Holland gin, which is familiarly known as “Schnapps.” (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)

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