Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam constructed in 1270 on the Rotte River, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre. Its strategic location at the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta on the North Sea and at the heart of a massive rail, road, air and inland waterway distribution system extending throughout Europe is the reason that Rotterdam is often called the 'Gateway to Europe'. In the province of South Holland, Rotterdam is in the west of Netherlands and the south of the Randstad. The population of the city was 616,250 on February 1, 2012. The population of the greater Rotterdam area, called 'Rotterdam-Rijnmond' or just 'Rijnmond', is approximately 1.3 million. The combined urban area of Rotterdam and The Hague is the 206th largest urban area in the world.
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