Futuristic architecture, inspired local initiatives such as inner-city canal surfing, a proliferation of art, and a surge of drinking, dining and nightlife venues make Rotterdam one of Europe's most exhilarating cities right now. The Netherlands' second-largest metropolis has a diverse, multiethnic community, an absorbing maritime tradition centred on Europe's busiest port, and a wealth of top-class museums.Rotterdam is a veritable open-air gallery of modern, postmodern and contemporary construction. It's a remarkable feat for a city largely razed to the ground by WWII bombers. Rebuilding has continued unabated ever since with ingenuity and vision.Split by the vast Nieuwe Maas shipping channel, Rotterdam is crossed by a series of tunnels and bridges, notably the dramatic Erasmusbrug – the swooping white cable-stayed bridge dubbed de Zwaan (the Swan). On the north side of the water, the city centre is easily strolled.