The Netherlands: Gateway to Europe

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Filling In the Sea. To get the land it needs for its growing industries and shipping facilities, Rotterdam has relentlessly expanded into the North Sea, will fill in and raise 12,000 acres of lowland to create the Europoort. It needs all the room it can get. Gulf is building a new refinery in the Europoort, Tidewater Oil is moving in, and Britain's big Imperial Chemical Industries has already started a petrochemical complex. The port is building a new grain harbor whose 420-meter jetty will be the world's biggest. Last week, contracts were signed for a $25 million Benelux Tunnel under the Maas River to make access to the outer port easier; Rotterdammers are also building a subway in the soggy soil by dredging a canal down their main street, lowering concrete tubes into it, then pumping the tubes out; eventually they will be covered with earth.

Overlooking all this activity stands an impressionistic statue called Devastated City, commemorating the city's wartime agony and postwar sacrifice. The work of Russian-born Sculptor Ossip Zadkine, it depicts a man with upraised arms, and, where his heart should be, a hole to symbolize suffering. The statue will be really finished, says Zadkine, only "when a bird nests where the heart should be." Considering the way Rotterdam abhors any unused space, that day may not be far off.

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