Rotterdam , located in the province of Zuid Holland, is the second largest city in the Netherlands (after Amsterdam). The city has the largest port in Europe and was until recently the largest port on earth; it is found on the banks of the river the Nieuwe Maas, one of the streams in the delta formed by the Rhine and Meuse rivers. Rotterdam was founded in the mid 13th century after a dam had been constructed in the River Rotte on the site of the present Hoogstraat. Over the centuries Rotterdam grew from a fishing village into an international centre of trade, transport, industry and distribution. At the beginning of the Second World War, on 14 May 1940, virtually the entire city centre was devastated by a German bombardment. This explains why scarcely any pre-war buildings have remained in this part of Rotterdam. After the war, reconstruction of what had been destroyed was given the highest priority.