The Erasmus Bridge celebrates its 25th anniversary! In this collection we take you to 25 memorable moments when ‘the Swan’ was the shining centerpiece. From the arrival in her home port, the opening by Queen Beatrix to the light show during the Eurovision Song Contest.

At the touch of a button by Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, the Erasmus Bridge was illuminated in honour of the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest. This happened during a live broadcast of the TV programme 'Beau'. Host Beau van Erven Dorens drove the mayor to the Erasmus Bridge in a tuktuk from the Walhalla Theatre, where the studio was temporarily housed at the time. All the usual lighting on the bridge had been completely extinguished for the occasion in order to enhance the spectacular effect, and after the button had been pressed, the bridge didn’t just light up; thanks to the spotlights on the side, 'The Swan' looked as if she was flying.
Four Greenpeace climate activists attempt to reach the top of the Erasmus Bridge. The climbers are asking Prime Minister Mark Rutte to commit himself to climate action by means of this peaceful protest. This week, European government leaders are meeting together to discuss climate legislation. EU countries have already agreed that CO2 emissions must have been reduced by 40% by 2030.
On the 5th of May 2020, 300 lighted drones representing a flock of starlings flew over Rotterdam. An aerial ballet. Studio DRIFT and Mothership aimed to raise the spirits of Rotterdam residents by means of this symbol of freedom and hope. Residents could watch the scene using a live stream on TV and online, and in this way, could still enjoy and experience Liberation Day together.
The horrendous death of George Floyd was followed by worldwide protests against racism and police violence. In Rotterdam, it was at the Erasmus Bridge that hundreds of demonstrators gathered in spite of the lockdown to express their support and to make themselves heard. Rotterdam, home to more than 170 cultures, is a truly multicultural city where equality and equal opportunities are more essential now than ever before.
Rotterdam Pride is the annual event for LHBTIQ+, which has been organised in the city since 2014. Rotterdam Pride is for all those who want to celebrate the freedom of sexual diversity. Among other things, the event features an arts and cultural programme and the pride walk, as well as a multitude of parties right in the centre of Rotterdam. In 2019 the Erasmus Bridge featured the rainbow colours on the occasion of the sixth edition of Rotterdam Pride.
Did you know that the first of the World Port Days took place as early as 1935? In those days it was still a one-day event, intended to promote the port. The target group was not the public at large, but rather a select group of prominent business relations from home and abroad. The current event, which is aimed more at the general public, came into being in September 1978, and these days everybody can enjoy the spectacular demonstrations on the quays and in the water. Visitors can view vessels and participate in interesting trips exploring the port area.
The British cruise ship Queen Elizabeth arrives in Rotterdam. Boasting a staff of 997 and room for no fewer than 2,092 passengers, this is the second largest vessel ever built for British-American shipping owner Cunard. Departing from Rotterdam, the ship will be embarking on four cruises this summer. Shortly after this photograph was taken, the vessel set out for its first cruise to the British Isles.
 These days, cruise ships moor at the Wilhelminakade every week, and their arrival is always announced by a loud and cheerful ship’s horn. Many ships sail to our port city on their maiden voyage and more than 100 vessels moored in Rotterdam during the 2019 cruise season.
For nearly fifteen years now, Rotterdam has been organising the annual national firework show. On New Year's Eve, at precisely midnight, a marvellous spectacle unfolds against the skies above Rotterdam. People from all around travel to Rotterdam and find themselves a place on the Boompjes, Willemskade or Wilhelminapier. A total of no fewer than 70,000 visitors is the highest number registered.
On the 7th of January 2015, the editorial office of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in the Rue Nicolas-Appert in the 11th district of Paris fell victim to a terrorist attack. In solidarity with the victims of the Paris attacks, buildings and objects all over the world, including the Erasmus Bridge, were coloured red, white and blue, the colours of the French flag.
The Rotterdam Marathon, which took place for the first time in 1981, is known as one of the most outstanding running events in the world. According to insiders, both the view and the atmosphere are unrivalled.  The marathon usually takes place in the month of April. Both the start and finish lines are situated on the Coolsingel, in front of the Town Hall. In 2018, however, the start was on the Schiedamsedijk, at the foot of the Erasmus Bridge, which yielded some fine pictures! Facts:
In 2018, due to the reconstruction of the Coolsingel, the start of the Rotterdam Marathon was relocated from the Town Hall on the Coolsingel to the Vasteland at the foot of the Erasmus Bridge, making the Erasmus Bridge the symbol of the Rotterdam Marathon more than ever before. So far, 225,015 marathon runners have passed over the 800 metre-long bridge, that’s 450,030 feet. Based on an average step length of 80 centimetres, this amounts to 1,000 steps per runner. Then they come back, of course, which means that more than 450 million steps have been made on the bridge. This equals a distance of 360,024 kilometres, which is nine times around the world.
Formula 1 racing cars careered through Rotterdam during the VKV City Racing, with drivers such as David Coulthard and Fernando Alonso driving along the Hofplein, Willemsbrug and Coolsingel.
For many years, this race event had attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors, but there were also many people who greatly disliked all that noise and smell, and Formula 1 racing cars never returned to Rotterdam after the 2014 edition.
It was during that last edition that a boyhood dream came true for Max Verstappen, careering across the Erasmus Bridge at 230 kilometres an hour at the age of 16 – and without a driver's license even. A truly unforgettable ride!
In 2012, the Erasmus Bridge was the scene of the national television spectacle, The Passion, a narration of the story of Jesus Christ. A large stage had been erected under the Erasmus Bridge on the Willemsplein for thousands of spectators. Danny de Munk and Berget Lewis played the main characters, while others, including Frans Bauer, Charly Luske, Pierre Wind and Rotterdam’s own Sander de Kramer, Hugo Borst and John de Wolf, also featured in the cast. At the end of the performance, Danny de Munk appeared at the top of the Erasmus Bridge, singing the Marco Borsato song “Saying goodbye doesn't exist”.'
On the 3rd of July 2010, our splendid port city was once more on show to the world at large, because on that day the 97th edition of the Tour de France started on the Erasmus Bridge. Champagne corks were popping in Rotterdam! And as the cyclists jostled for position in the peloton, viewers at home could enjoy a spectacular view of our impressive skyline – though obviously the best view was reserved for the tens of thousands of visitors who travelled to the city for the event.
The annual Santa Run was already a well-known phenomenon in cities such as Sydney, Milan, London, Antwerp and Las Vegas, but on the 19th of December 2008, Qmusic brought the event to our port city when a total of 3,000 participants ran across the Erasmus Bridge. The men’s competition was won by Gijs Peters, and top athlete Daphne Panhuijsen came first among the ladies.
In 2003, the Beach on the Maas was launched. Every summer, the Leuvenhoofd was converted into a beach complete with pavilion, and each year, 200,000 visitors came to the Beach on the Maas to enjoy the ultimate feeling of summer right in the heart of Rotterdam. As well as enjoying the sunshine, food and drink, the beachgoers could also take salsa lessons, attend musical evenings and play beach volleyball. The sixth edition of Beach on the Maas took place in 2008, but due to the poor summer weather of 2007 and 2008, the organisers decided to discontinue the event.
The Red Bull Air Race World Championship has taken place twice in Rotterdam; in 2005 and 2008. During this international air race, pilots must steer their aircraft around a defined course as fast as possible. The Rotterdam course had been laid out to include inflatable pylons with a height of about 12 metres. Witnessed by thousands of spectators and reaching dizzying speeds, the stunt pilots negotiated the trickiest of tracks over the Meuse near the Erasmus Bridge. www.frankversteegh.nl
In the summer of 1997, 40 trucks, followed by 75,000 ecstatically dancing festival visitors, saw the birth of a tradition that would earn Rotterdam the title 'Dance capital of Europe'. Within just a few editions, the Dance Parade grew into the most prestigious dance event in the Benelux. At its height, 400,000 visitors found their way to Blaak, Coolsingel and the Erasmus Bridge.
In October 2005 and 2007, in collaboration with the Dutch Ski Association, Rotterdam, brought winter sports to the Netherlands when the World Cup Snowboarding took place on the Willemsplein. A 100 metre-long, ski-jump with a height of 40 metres was constructed for these competitions. Did you know: Using 24 trucks, as much as 1 million litres of snow was transported from SnowWorld Landgraaf to the site in Rotterdam.
Skate-surfing on the Erasmus Bridge! Like a number of other municipalities, Rotterdam has experimented with the concept of a car-free Saturday. The Coolsingel, Erasmus Bridge and Boompjes were closed to all traffic to allow the public to experience a car-free city centre and to tempt them to use other forms of transport. And it wasn’t just the skaters who eagerly made use of the tarmac; other wheel enthusiasts benefited as well!
Distinguished visitors! In 1997, the Netherlands commemorated the Marshall Plan. It was partly thanks to this relief plan that the post-war Netherlands were revitalised fifty years ago. The Marshall Plan was a comprehensive material relief plan which came into effect three years after the Second World War at the initiative of the then American Foreign Secretary, George C. Marshall.

President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary visited Rotterdam to commemorate the anniversary. Bram Peper, former mayor of Rotterdam, and his then wife Neelie Kroes attended the ceremony.
'Will the cables hold?' That was the big question in October 1996 when it became clear that the Erasmus Bridge had started to oscillate in a force 6 wind. The deck of the bridge is suspended on span cables, a bit like the strings of a piano in that they each produce a certain tone. Employees from shock absorber manufacturer Koni of Oud-Beijerland mounted shock absorbers to the span cables of the Erasmus Bridge to absorb these unwanted vibrations. This was a clever technical feat, and one which has since been applied in many other countries!
The tram is there for everyone, and ever since the bridge opened, the tram has taken travellers to and from both banks. Tram lines 20, 23 and 25 in particular have contributed a great deal to the opening up and perhaps even the emancipation of South. Commuters, students, parents with buggies and people just there for a day out; they all travel across the Erasmus Bridge as if it has always been there. Or just think of a packed tram headed for De Kuip for the 2000 Finals of the European Championship or the 2002 UEFA Cup Finals.
The Erasmus Bridge was to connect those who lived on the opposite banks in both a literal and figurative sense. To symbolise this thought, a brunch was served from trams to five thousand residents of Rotterdam from both North and South. The tickets for this brunch, which actually took place on the Erasmus Bridge, were sold out within a quarter of an hour. The opening festivities were combined with those of World Port Days, the annual event which allows the public to get to know the Port of Rotterdam.
The official opening of the Erasmus Bridge took place on the 4th of September 1996. The cable-stayed bridge, designed by architect Ben van Berkel, soon became popularly known as 'The Swan'. Queen Beatrix travelled to Rotterdam for the official opening of this second bridge (the Willemsbrug being the first) across the Nieuwe Maas river in Rotterdam. It was a festive occasion, crammed with performances and activities. The RET entrusted tram conductor Kees van der Stel with the auspicious task of making the first tram ride across the bridge, with Queen Beatrix as passenger of honour.
A spectacular sight on the Nieuwe Maas river! On the 13th of April 1996, witnessed by ten thousand spectators and accompanied by a host of vessels, the pylon of the Erasmus Bridge reached its home in Rotterdam. The pylon was assembled in Vlissingen and transported by ship to Rozenburg, where one of the world's largest crane vessels lifted the pylon onto a platform and transported it to the site for assembly.
At the touch of a button by Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, the Erasmus Bridge was illuminated in honour of the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest. This happened during a live broadcast of the TV programme 'Beau'. Host Beau van Erven Dorens drove the mayor to the Erasmus Bridge in a tuktuk from the Walhalla Theatre, where the studio was temporarily housed at the time. All the usual lighting on the bridge had been completely extinguished for the occasion in order to enhance the spectacular effect, and after the button had been pressed, the bridge didn’t just light up; thanks to the spotlights on the side, 'The Swan' looked as if she was flying.
Four Greenpeace climate activists attempt to reach the top of the Erasmus Bridge. The climbers are asking Prime Minister Mark Rutte to commit himself to climate action by means of this peaceful protest. This week, European government leaders are meeting together to discuss climate legislation. EU countries have already agreed that CO2 emissions must have been reduced by 40% by 2030.
On the 5th of May 2020, 300 lighted drones representing a flock of starlings flew over Rotterdam. An aerial ballet. Studio DRIFT and Mothership aimed to raise the spirits of Rotterdam residents by means of this symbol of freedom and hope. Residents could watch the scene using a live stream on TV and online, and in this way, could still enjoy and experience Liberation Day together.
The horrendous death of George Floyd was followed by worldwide protests against racism and police violence. In Rotterdam, it was at the Erasmus Bridge that hundreds of demonstrators gathered in spite of the lockdown to express their support and to make themselves heard. Rotterdam, home to more than 170 cultures, is a truly multicultural city where equality and equal opportunities are more essential now than ever before.
Rotterdam Pride is the annual event for LHBTIQ+, which has been organised in the city since 2014. Rotterdam Pride is for all those who want to celebrate the freedom of sexual diversity. Among other things, the event features an arts and cultural programme and the pride walk, as well as a multitude of parties right in the centre of Rotterdam. In 2019 the Erasmus Bridge featured the rainbow colours on the occasion of the sixth edition of Rotterdam Pride.
Did you know that the first of the World Port Days took place as early as 1935? In those days it was still a one-day event, intended to promote the port. The target group was not the public at large, but rather a select group of prominent business relations from home and abroad. The current event, which is aimed more at the general public, came into being in September 1978, and these days everybody can enjoy the spectacular demonstrations on the quays and in the water. Visitors can view vessels and participate in interesting trips exploring the port area.
The British cruise ship Queen Elizabeth arrives in Rotterdam. Boasting a staff of 997 and room for no fewer than 2,092 passengers, this is the second largest vessel ever built for British-American shipping owner Cunard. Departing from Rotterdam, the ship will be embarking on four cruises this summer. Shortly after this photograph was taken, the vessel set out for its first cruise to the British Isles.
 These days, cruise ships moor at the Wilhelminakade every week, and their arrival is always announced by a loud and cheerful ship’s horn. Many ships sail to our port city on their maiden voyage and more than 100 vessels moored in Rotterdam during the 2019 cruise season.
For nearly fifteen years now, Rotterdam has been organising the annual national firework show. On New Year's Eve, at precisely midnight, a marvellous spectacle unfolds against the skies above Rotterdam. People from all around travel to Rotterdam and find themselves a place on the Boompjes, Willemskade or Wilhelminapier. A total of no fewer than 70,000 visitors is the highest number registered.
On the 7th of January 2015, the editorial office of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in the Rue Nicolas-Appert in the 11th district of Paris fell victim to a terrorist attack. In solidarity with the victims of the Paris attacks, buildings and objects all over the world, including the Erasmus Bridge, were coloured red, white and blue, the colours of the French flag.
The Rotterdam Marathon, which took place for the first time in 1981, is known as one of the most outstanding running events in the world. According to insiders, both the view and the atmosphere are unrivalled.  The marathon usually takes place in the month of April. Both the start and finish lines are situated on the Coolsingel, in front of the Town Hall. In 2018, however, the start was on the Schiedamsedijk, at the foot of the Erasmus Bridge, which yielded some fine pictures! Facts:
In 2018, due to the reconstruction of the Coolsingel, the start of the Rotterdam Marathon was relocated from the Town Hall on the Coolsingel to the Vasteland at the foot of the Erasmus Bridge, making the Erasmus Bridge the symbol of the Rotterdam Marathon more than ever before. So far, 225,015 marathon runners have passed over the 800 metre-long bridge, that’s 450,030 feet. Based on an average step length of 80 centimetres, this amounts to 1,000 steps per runner. Then they come back, of course, which means that more than 450 million steps have been made on the bridge. This equals a distance of 360,024 kilometres, which is nine times around the world.
Formula 1 racing cars careered through Rotterdam during the VKV City Racing, with drivers such as David Coulthard and Fernando Alonso driving along the Hofplein, Willemsbrug and Coolsingel.
For many years, this race event had attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors, but there were also many people who greatly disliked all that noise and smell, and Formula 1 racing cars never returned to Rotterdam after the 2014 edition.
It was during that last edition that a boyhood dream came true for Max Verstappen, careering across the Erasmus Bridge at 230 kilometres an hour at the age of 16 – and without a driver's license even. A truly unforgettable ride!
In 2012, the Erasmus Bridge was the scene of the national television spectacle, The Passion, a narration of the story of Jesus Christ. A large stage had been erected under the Erasmus Bridge on the Willemsplein for thousands of spectators. Danny de Munk and Berget Lewis played the main characters, while others, including Frans Bauer, Charly Luske, Pierre Wind and Rotterdam’s own Sander de Kramer, Hugo Borst and John de Wolf, also featured in the cast. At the end of the performance, Danny de Munk appeared at the top of the Erasmus Bridge, singing the Marco Borsato song “Saying goodbye doesn't exist”.'
On the 3rd of July 2010, our splendid port city was once more on show to the world at large, because on that day the 97th edition of the Tour de France started on the Erasmus Bridge. Champagne corks were popping in Rotterdam! And as the cyclists jostled for position in the peloton, viewers at home could enjoy a spectacular view of our impressive skyline – though obviously the best view was reserved for the tens of thousands of visitors who travelled to the city for the event.
The annual Santa Run was already a well-known phenomenon in cities such as Sydney, Milan, London, Antwerp and Las Vegas, but on the 19th of December 2008, Qmusic brought the event to our port city when a total of 3,000 participants ran across the Erasmus Bridge. The men’s competition was won by Gijs Peters, and top athlete Daphne Panhuijsen came first among the ladies.
In 2003, the Beach on the Maas was launched. Every summer, the Leuvenhoofd was converted into a beach complete with pavilion, and each year, 200,000 visitors came to the Beach on the Maas to enjoy the ultimate feeling of summer right in the heart of Rotterdam. As well as enjoying the sunshine, food and drink, the beachgoers could also take salsa lessons, attend musical evenings and play beach volleyball. The sixth edition of Beach on the Maas took place in 2008, but due to the poor summer weather of 2007 and 2008, the organisers decided to discontinue the event.
The Red Bull Air Race World Championship has taken place twice in Rotterdam; in 2005 and 2008. During this international air race, pilots must steer their aircraft around a defined course as fast as possible. The Rotterdam course had been laid out to include inflatable pylons with a height of about 12 metres. Witnessed by thousands of spectators and reaching dizzying speeds, the stunt pilots negotiated the trickiest of tracks over the Meuse near the Erasmus Bridge. www.frankversteegh.nl
In the summer of 1997, 40 trucks, followed by 75,000 ecstatically dancing festival visitors, saw the birth of a tradition that would earn Rotterdam the title 'Dance capital of Europe'. Within just a few editions, the Dance Parade grew into the most prestigious dance event in the Benelux. At its height, 400,000 visitors found their way to Blaak, Coolsingel and the Erasmus Bridge.
In October 2005 and 2007, in collaboration with the Dutch Ski Association, Rotterdam, brought winter sports to the Netherlands when the World Cup Snowboarding took place on the Willemsplein. A 100 metre-long, ski-jump with a height of 40 metres was constructed for these competitions. Did you know: Using 24 trucks, as much as 1 million litres of snow was transported from SnowWorld Landgraaf to the site in Rotterdam.
Skate-surfing on the Erasmus Bridge! Like a number of other municipalities, Rotterdam has experimented with the concept of a car-free Saturday. The Coolsingel, Erasmus Bridge and Boompjes were closed to all traffic to allow the public to experience a car-free city centre and to tempt them to use other forms of transport. And it wasn’t just the skaters who eagerly made use of the tarmac; other wheel enthusiasts benefited as well!
Distinguished visitors! In 1997, the Netherlands commemorated the Marshall Plan. It was partly thanks to this relief plan that the post-war Netherlands were revitalised fifty years ago. The Marshall Plan was a comprehensive material relief plan which came into effect three years after the Second World War at the initiative of the then American Foreign Secretary, George C. Marshall.

President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary visited Rotterdam to commemorate the anniversary. Bram Peper, former mayor of Rotterdam, and his then wife Neelie Kroes attended the ceremony.
'Will the cables hold?' That was the big question in October 1996 when it became clear that the Erasmus Bridge had started to oscillate in a force 6 wind. The deck of the bridge is suspended on span cables, a bit like the strings of a piano in that they each produce a certain tone. Employees from shock absorber manufacturer Koni of Oud-Beijerland mounted shock absorbers to the span cables of the Erasmus Bridge to absorb these unwanted vibrations. This was a clever technical feat, and one which has since been applied in many other countries!
The tram is there for everyone, and ever since the bridge opened, the tram has taken travellers to and from both banks. Tram lines 20, 23 and 25 in particular have contributed a great deal to the opening up and perhaps even the emancipation of South. Commuters, students, parents with buggies and people just there for a day out; they all travel across the Erasmus Bridge as if it has always been there. Or just think of a packed tram headed for De Kuip for the 2000 Finals of the European Championship or the 2002 UEFA Cup Finals.
The Erasmus Bridge was to connect those who lived on the opposite banks in both a literal and figurative sense. To symbolise this thought, a brunch was served from trams to five thousand residents of Rotterdam from both North and South. The tickets for this brunch, which actually took place on the Erasmus Bridge, were sold out within a quarter of an hour. The opening festivities were combined with those of World Port Days, the annual event which allows the public to get to know the Port of Rotterdam.
The official opening of the Erasmus Bridge took place on the 4th of September 1996. The cable-stayed bridge, designed by architect Ben van Berkel, soon became popularly known as 'The Swan'. Queen Beatrix travelled to Rotterdam for the official opening of this second bridge (the Willemsbrug being the first) across the Nieuwe Maas river in Rotterdam. It was a festive occasion, crammed with performances and activities. The RET entrusted tram conductor Kees van der Stel with the auspicious task of making the first tram ride across the bridge, with Queen Beatrix as passenger of honour.
A spectacular sight on the Nieuwe Maas river! On the 13th of April 1996, witnessed by ten thousand spectators and accompanied by a host of vessels, the pylon of the Erasmus Bridge reached its home in Rotterdam. The pylon was assembled in Vlissingen and transported by ship to Rozenburg, where one of the world's largest crane vessels lifted the pylon onto a platform and transported it to the site for assembly.
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