Category: Rotterdam

Rotterdam, also known affectionately as Rotjeknor or Roffa, plays a big role in my work. And not just because the 3Develop-offices are located there. The city simply asks for it. With such a fascinating past, dynamic present and an undoubtably interesting future.

The city does well on international lists. Recommended by Lonely Planet, The Rough Guide and the New York Times. Rotterdam, Holland’s only real metropolis, the largest port in Europe, is hip, cool, dynamic and photogenic. And yet still allows room for plans that make the city even more beautiful.

Artist impression of a project for the roof of Maassilo in Rotterdam, with cornfields, a glass and steel windmill, a crop circle and a pancake restaurant

The Cornfields of the Wheat District, an idea for the Maassilo Roof

The Maassilo on the Brielselaan is one of the coolest buildings in Rotterdam. As a child I was already fascinated by the huge concrete block that you could almost touch when traveling to the city center with the metro. When this summer a competition was organized to design a skybox on the tenth floor and comu up with an idea for the roof of the Maassilo, I didn’t need to hesitate to join. The same was true for about sixty other designers and design teams from Rotterdam and wide surroundings. History A nice side effect of the competition was that...

View from the roof of Erasmus House during the blue hour after sunset, in the direction of Binnenwegplein, Old and New Binnenweg

Summer Evening on a Roof in Rotterdam

It’s widely known that a lot of things in Rotterdam are named after Erasmus: the university, the medical center, a major bridge, to name but a few. No everyone knows that there is also an Erasmus House. Which is in fact not really a house in the traditional meaning of the word: it’s a 12 storey high office tower at Coolsingel, with the 17th century Schielandshuis and a number of post-war highrise buildings as neighbors. Bombing The building was designed by architect W.M Dudok and was completed shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War. It survived the bombardment...

Image made with a telephoto lens showing one of the pylons of willems Bridge in Rotterdam with in the background a residential tower and a large crane in the harbour

The Rooftop Days of 2018: aerial views of Rotterdam

June 2 and 3, those were this year’s Rotterdam Rooftop Days, the annual opportunity to see, and photograph, the city from different perspectives. Unlike last year, a Rooftop Pass did not give access to all Open Roofs on both days. One had to choose for either Saturday or Sunday. Or for both days, but in that case two passes had to be purchased. Hazy So what do you choose? Without any clear reason I had picked Sunday, weeks in advance. And that choice worked out remarkably well. On Saturday the weather was extremely un-photographic: overcast, gloomy and hazy. That’s evident...

A prunus tree, more specifically a Japanese cherry, in bloom in springtime near Unesco world heritage Van Nelle factory in Rotterdam

Springtime in Rotterdam: Magnolia, Prunus, Robinia

For some photos the window of opportunity is very small. You have to be quick, otherwise your chance is over. Think, for example, of the increasingly rare photos of the city under a nice layer of snow. Or photos taken in the blue hour after sunset, when the circumstances change by the minute. Spring is another of those narrow windows. One moment the trees are still bare, a few days later they are full of blossoms and/or young leaves. And if you don’t act promptly, the spectacle is already over by the time you get your camera. Late Spring was a...

Stretched panorama of downtown Rotterdam, resulting in a Hong Kong-like image

A 360 Degree View of Rotterdam from Delftse Poort Building

Last week, once again I was given the opportunity, together with a number of fellow photographers, to take photos from Delftse Poort, the highest building in downtown Rotterdam. And unlike the last time, we could now get on the roof. So no annoying glass surfaces between the camera and the skyline. And a 360 degree view; no obstructions to the east and west by the closed end façades. My ineffable thanks to Ramazan of Rotta Historica for organizing the event and to Corine of Delftse Poort for the hospitality. Parapet What does a roof at such a height look like?...

The giant steel sculpture The New Delft Gate by artist Cor Kraat on the corner of Pompenburg aan Haagseveer in Rotterdam

The Rotterdam Public Sculpture Top 10

Every city has a collection of statues and other works of art in public spaces. But I do feel that the average artwork in Rotterdam is somewhat larger than elsewhere. The city has a remarkable number of sculptures that are so large that you can walk through them. The reason may be that, in the spaciously designed post-war inner city, there is simply more room to go big. I wondered what were my favourite public sculptures in Rotterdam and I came to this list of ten. Let me start with a disclaimer: I don’t know much about art at all....

Combination of an old photo of people waiting in line in front of the Bijenkorf department store in Rotterdam with a recent image of the same location on Coolsingel

The Return of the Bijenkorf Sculpture: an Update

“The ‘Bijenkorf stone’ is coming back – perhaps”, NRC, a national newspaper with Rotterdam roots, headlined on Saturday 3 February. And indeed: there is news about the sculpture by Hendrik van den Eijnde, which from 1930 to 1960 decorated the façade of the old Bijenkorf department store, designed by architect W.M. Dudok. The sculpture is currently hidden in a place that doesn’t really do it justice: the Bijenkorf’s logistic center in Woerden. But as the only remnant of the architectural masterpiece that was so ruthlessly demolished in 1960, it deserves a location in the center of Rotterdam, preferably as close...

"Old" vintage postcard, or rather a digitally aged recent photo of the White House and the Old Harbour in Rotterdam

Vintage Rotterdam

Take a good look at the picture below of the White House and the Old Harbour in Rotterdam. An old postcard, found in a cardboard box that has been in a cold and humid attic for decades. Let’s try to date it. Fin de siècle Er, did I hear you say fin de siècle? I assume you mean the end of the nineteenth century. That sounds like a valid assumption; the White House, the “American” skyscraper that for years was the highest in Europe, dates back to 1898. And the classic barges in the foreground, located in the Oude Haven,...

Detail of the Color Map of Rotterdam cropped at the city center with all city blocks drawn in a random color

Christmas Blog: a Festival of Light and Color

Christmas is the most important Christian holiday, but the origins of the festival date back to before the birth of Jesus. Both the Romans and the Germans did not let the winter solstice on 21 December pass by unnoticed. Understandably: even in modern times with its central heating and abundance of artificial light, many people get a little depressed by the short and chilly days. In earlier times, in poorly heated houses by candlelight, this part of the year must have felt even more depressing. So the moment on which the days start getting longer and we begin our long...

The Rotterdam town hall seen from the Delftse Poort building with behind it Timmerhuis, Saint Lawrence Church and the Markthal

Making photos through glass – fighting reflections

Last week, together with a number of fellow photographers, I had the opportunity to take photographs from the 37th floor of the Delftse Poort building (formerly known as Nationale Nederlanden). Many thanks to Ramazan Aydogan of Rotta Historica for organizing this event and to the facility management of Delftse Poort for their hospitality. The blue hour Delftse Poort is one of the highest buildings in Rotterdam, and right in the center. You do not get a chance to take photos from such a place very often, and certainly not during the part of the day that is so popular among...