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(From The Illustrated London News, April 10, 1847.)
Rotterdam is the second commercial city of Holland: it lies on the north bank of the Maas, about twenty-four miles distant from the sea. It is more advantageously situated than Amsterdam; being nearer the sea; and the canals which intersect it are so deep as to admit of the largest vessels coming up to the quays and warehouses of the merchants. The city is built in the form of a triangle, the base of which extends along the bank of the Maas.
The commerce of Rotterdam, during the last twenty years, has increased more rapidly than that of any town in Holland. The exports and imports are similar to those of Amsterdam. The white Zealand wheat shipped here is of a peculiarly fine quality; and, it is the best market for madder and geneva.
Its ready access to the sea gives Rotterdam a great advantage as a port; and, since the separation from Belgium, it has been rapidly increasing in wealth and population, at the expense of its rival, Antwerp.
"The commerce of Rotterdam now chiefly depends on the connection with Batavia, and that trade at present employs about eighty of the finest merchant-ships in the world, of the burden of from 500 to 1000 tons. They are admirably equipped, and they make the voyage to and from India in nine months, upon the average. An increasing trade is carried on in sugar, coffee, and spices. The West India trade, formerly carried on with Surinam, is almost extinct. The trade in provisions is very great: much corn is brought down the Rhine from the interior of Germany; and, from the upper parts, contiguous to that river, a vast supply of timber for ship-building is conveyed."
The town is not fortified, but is surrounded by a moat; and along the Maas are many fine quays, with stately houses, and long rows of trees. Besides the great Church of St. Lawrence, there are many churches and chapels. The Stadihus, or Town Hall, is a large new building, with a composite portico. The Statue of Erasmus, and the house in which he was born, in the Breede Kerk Straat, are among the curiosities of the city.
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