Most Dutch cities I know are very much alike. They feature murky canals, brickstone houses, and lots of people biking, biking, biking to the degree that it is close to impossible to cross a street. The centers are always crowded. Even in the stiffest wind, the Dutch sit outside in cafes, since they believe this means joie de vivre, and eat apple pie and drink coffie that cools very fast.
Rotterdam is different in every possible aspect. It has huge open spaces. Courageous, modern architecture. So much water and sky. Wide walking spaces along the river which are beautiful but almost totally deserted. Bikes are surprisingly rare. The cafes are surprisingly empty.
The inner part of Rotterdam is square and ugly and full of fast food from all continents. One sees people of all origins, as if a perpetual UN meeting was going on.
If cities were people, the typical Dutch city would be a slightly rude, cold, very sociable, loud, chatty and self-confident middle-age man. He has accomplished much and does not need anyone, and cheerfully tells you so.
Rotterdam, on the other hand, has gone through a massive trauma, has lost everything and has emerged calm, creative, sensitive, sad. It has its eyes wide open to the world. It loves the sea and dreams of faraway places.
It is still trying to find its new identity, and it is not afraid to try out whatever it takes to get there. Even if it needs to toss around some houses along the way.