Reflection, with considerable distortions, in the facade of the Depot building in Rotterdma, taken from the Podium on the roof of the New Institute

Countdown: the best photos of 2022

It’s time again for my annual review with the most beautiful photos of 2022. Since 2016 I’ve been compiling these top 10s with the best photos of the year. The best photos I’ve taken myself, that is. Or at least the photos with the most interesting stories to tell. Also this year I cannot escape the long and painful selection process. The longlist contains about 200 photos, of which 190 must be abandoned within sight of the harbour. Anyway, with the deadline, New Year’s Eve, approaching rapidly, I present here my photographic annual overview for 2022. 10 – Rear View… Read More

World map in rainbow colors based on the elevations on our planet

A World Map in Rainbow Colors

The rainbow world map I present in this blog post is a direct result of the World Cup in Qatar. A tournament that quickly degenerated into a statement contest. That was of course mainly the fault of Fifa, which banned “political” expressions such as the OneLove band under penalty of a yellow card. And of the organizing committee that banned every piece of textile with rainbow colors from the stadiums. Rainbow flags It’s quite logical that rainbows have always appealed to people’s imagination. It is a beautiful yet harmless natural phenomenon that is also somewhat rare and fleeting. Over the… Read More

The tramtracks at Coolsingel in Rotterdam: unnecessarily paved with street tiles

Nominees for the Tile-Flipping Championships

Over the past two years, the Dutch Tile-Flipping Championships have been organized. A competition between cities to replace as many pavement tiles as possible with grass, shrubs or other greenery. Also in my neighbourhood I can think of places where some tiles could be taken out. Greening Apart from facilitating a bit of healthy rivalry, the Dutch Tile-Flipping Championships also have a more serious goal. If you replace pavement tiles with nature, you make your city more climate-resistant, more biodiverse and, above all, more beautiful. I don’t have any tiles I could flip: I live on the tenth floor of… Read More

Westersingel canal in Rotterdam at nightfall on a day in november

The Canals of Rotterdam

The canals of Rotterdam, also known as singels, draw beautiful green lines through the city. How did we actually get those canals? In this blog article, illustrated with pretty autumn pictures, I dive into the history of these green structures. Surrounded Traditionally, singels were the waters on the edge of the old town. The city was literally surrounded by by them, hence the Dutch word omsingelen. Mostly they were defenses, meant to keep invaders out of the city. Singels and vests Rotterdam has never had such impressive fortifications as some other cities. But there were indeed a number of singels,… Read More

Wild hops growing in the polder near Boskoop, The Netherlands

A Beer Hike to Bodegraven

This is the fourth blog post in a series: the Best Beer Hikes in the Benelux. During previous beer walks, travel companion A. and I visited La Trappe, De Leckere and Gulpener. Today our target is brewery De Molen (The Windmill) in Bodegraven. 22 kilometers It’s a 21,8 kilometer hike to De Molen’s brewpub, through a variety of landscapes. The route can be followed on the map, which, as usually, is clickable, zoomable and pannable. Click here for a larger version. Gouda The walk starts at Gouda’s intercity railway station. The city is famous for its cheese and stroopwafels, but… Read More

Graphic image of South-Holland as a piece of copper with on in the most beautiful mountains and hills of the province

Mountaineering in Holland: the Highest Peaks

What? Mountains in Holland? Are there any? Yes, because although our country is, understandably, not very popular with mountaineers, there are places that really stand out above the surrounding landscape. Which seems to me the most accurate definition of a mountain. In the far southeast of the Netherlands, in the province of Limburg, there are peaks like the Vaalserberg, which reaches a staggering 321 metres. But as you may know, the name Holland, often mistakenly used for the whole country, only refers to two provinces in the west. In this blogpost I limit the scope further down to the province… Read More

Park bench along the footpath on the Promenade in Münster, Germany

Münster: the Promenade and the River Aa

At the end of July I spent a few days in Münster with traveling companion I.. It was the result of a glance at the map: Münster appeared to be closer to Rotterdam than Groningen. And yet we had never been there. A good reason to take a look. We found a nice, relaxed town, with lots of Kneipen and Biergarten. With old and new architecture and also with lots of greenery. Most noticable were the Promenade and the river Münstersche Aa. Cycling City Münster has a little bit over 300,000 inhabitants and is therefore about the same size as… Read More

View from a cableway gondola at the Floriade expo in Almere, The Nethelrands, including the Floating Forest

Floriade Horticulture Exhibition in Almere

The Floriade of 2022 in Almere will not go down in history as the most successful edition. The visitor numbers are disappointing and the budget gap is approaching 100 million. When all Almere’s aldermen resigned for that reason at the end of June, it was even feared that the world horticulture exhibition would have to end prematurely. Criticism At the opening, there was also quite a bit of criticism about the character of the exhibition itself. It would all be a bit meager. Due to covid19, a number of participating countries had dropped out. Work was still in full swing… Read More

The church in the village of Slenaken, province of Limburg, The Netherlands, seen through the trees in a hilly landscape

The Gulpener Beerhike

This third walk from the yet to be published booklet The Best Beer Walks in the Benelux is set in Southern Limburg, that beautiful and very unDutch-looking part of the Netherlands. It is as if our country has tried to dig deep into Central Europe in order to get its fair share of hills and half-timbered houses. As a side result, also a few interesting beers were dragged within the national borders. The map can, as always be zoomed and panned; click here for a larger version. History The history of Limburg is fascinating. In fact, the province could just… Read More

View across the partly snow-covered fields towards the village on the Icelandic island of Flatey

A quick visit to Flatey island

Flatey is an island in Breiðafjörður in northwestern Iceland. The name means Flat Island, and that’s what it is, by Icelandic standards. It’s not very large: two kilometers long and a few hundred meters wide. And yet Flatey has been inhabited for well over a thousand years, due to its favorable position close to fishing grounds and trade routes. Around 1900, 400 people lived here; today there are only five permanent residents. But many houses are used as holiday homes, so in the short Icelandic summer the population multiplies. Rain Traveling companion A. had been to Flatey before and had… Read More