Part of the Impressionist World Map, showing Europe, the Middle East, Northern Africa, the Atlantic Ocean and parts of the Americas

An Impressionistic Worldmap

Create a fresh and innovative artwork for the “impressionism” collection! That call/suggestion/recommendation I received at the beginning of March in an email from Art Heroes, the platform my webshop is connected to. I like that kind of challenge. And with my collection of world maps in mind, an impressionistic world map was a natural choice. But it wasn’t that easy, creating a map in the style of nineteenth-century French painters. New techniques First of all: what exactly is impressionism? The movement emerged around 1860, when young artists like Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, and Camille Pissarro began to experiment… Read More

Camp of barracks for the housing of forced laborers during the second world war in Berlin

Two Years in Berlin

In early March, accompanied by my travel companion I., I spent a few days on a city trip to Berlin. Exactly eighty years earlier, my father, Willem Blok, was there too, but for a much longer period. He wasn’t there for fun and certainly not voluntarily. He was one of the millions of forced laborers brought by the Nazis from occupied territories to keep the wartime economy running in Germany. Our visit was a good opportunity to visit some places where Willem lived and worked between 1943 and 1945. I made grateful use of his memoirs titled “From Abacus to… Read More

De zon gaat vlammend onder in de Rotterdamse haven achter de Euromast

Halfway Zalmhaven Tower

It’s becoming a good year for high altitude urban photography. Only two weeks after the already quite sensational photo session from the Montevideo penthouse, I was once again invited to take pictures with a number of fellow photographers from a special location in Rotterdam. This time the action took place at the Zalmhaven tower. The organizer of the event was once again Ramazan Aydogan from Rotta Historica, in collaboration with Margot de Ruiter from R365 Christie’s International Real Estate. Zalmhaven The Zalmhaven tower is the tallest building in the Benelux. The tower itself is 203 meters, and the mast reaches… Read More

Detail of a masonry relief with a world map, on which a part of Africa and adjacent oceans is visible

A World Map Made of Bricks

I have used many different materials to create world maps: from rusty steel to toilet paper and from stained glass to coffee beans. But a typical Dutch material was missing until now: brick. Time to fill that gap with a masonry relief. History The use of brick is not a recent phenomenon. The Mesopotamians used it five thousand years ago, as did the Romans a few millennia later. In the Netherlands, brick has been used as a building material since the thirteenth century. It’s not surprising that we have such a tradition of brick in this country. Apart from the… Read More

De iconische M op de glazenwassersinstallatie van woontoren Montevideo in Rotterdam

The Montevideo Penthouse

It’s been a while since Rotta Historica‘s Ramazan Aydogan organized one of his renowned photoshoots. We once stood on the roof of the Delftse Poort building and Erasmus House, and on a minaret of the Mevlana Mosque. However, due to the pandemic, it hadn’t happened for a few years. On January 29th, it was time again: together with nine other photographers, I was invited to capture the view from the penthouse of Montevideo. Montevideo Montevideo is not only the capital of Uruguay but also a residential tower on Wilhelminapier in Rotterdam. Most buildings on the pier are named after former… Read More

Historic farm in the Noordwaard region in the Netherlands, protected by a little dike against the rising water

Countdown: The Best Photos of 2023

Just like every year, I am once again making a selection from my photos of the past twelve months. The choice was somewhat more limited than in other years. As I am now also working as a city guide, I have less time for photography, so less beauties to choose from. But I think I have managed to put together an interesting and varied overview of the year 2023. 10 – The bridge across the Watering I have hiked a lot in 2023, estimating around a thousand kilometers, based on the number of walks and the average distance covered. Most… Read More

Ship and ugly fence on Park Quay in Rotterdam

Misery on Park Quay: the Horrible Fence

Park Quay, or in Dutch: de Parkkade, is one of my favorite places in Rotterdam. It is a so-called waiting location, a place where seagoing vessels wait for a berth, undergo inspections, or change crew. But recently, this beautiful quay has been marred by a fence. How did it come to this? Nautical Park Quay is one of the few places in Rotterdam where the city and the port come close together. Of course, the historic ships in Leuvehaven near the Maritime Museum also create a nice nautical atmosphere. And with the boat tours by Spido or Futureland, you can… Read More

Artist impression of the idea to bring back the historic canal to Goudsesingel in Rotterdam

Bring the water back on Goudsesingel

The water of Goudsesingel formed the edge of the city of Rotterdam for centuries: it was the northern side of the City Triangle. Around 1900, the water was filled in. After that, a market was held there for many years. But after the war, the Goudsesingel transformed into a kind of downtown highway or, to use a Rotterdam euphemism, a city boulevard. Would it be possible to bring back the water to the Goudsesingel and turn it into a pleasant street again, as liberal party VVD recently proposed? I fact-checked it, and that sparked quite a few reactions. Green and… Read More

View from Sint Philipsland, Zeeland towards Philips Dam with wind turbines and grassy nature

A Tour of Saint Philips’ Land

Sint Philipsland is a relatively unknown part of the Netherlands, much less frequently visited than other regions in the province of Zeeland. Twelve years ago, during a stage of the Oosterscheldepad, I could already observe that this is not entirely fair. Unfortunately, the area is difficult to reach by public transport. But fortunately, I was able to convince travel companion C., who has a camper van, to take a trip to the south. It led to a wonderful hike under dramatic cloudscapes, as the English say. Island or peninsula? Apart from Zeeuws-Vlaanderen, Sint Philipsland is the only part of Zeeland… Read More

Fictional living room with a Japandi interior, a view of Reykjavik and on the wall a large world map with matching colors

A World Map in Japandi Colors

Japandi is an interior design style that combines elements from the far north and the distant east. It’s a very popular style in interior magazines and websites. I tapped into that popularity with a world map that seamlessly integrates into the concept. Japandi “Why is everyone opting for a ‘Japandi’ bathroom?” read the headline of a column by Floor Rusman in newspaper NRC that I came across a while ago. The column mostly talked about the uniformity of modern interiors, especially in magazines and TV programs. But my attention was particularly drawn to the term Japandi. Was it a contraction… Read More