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Branches and red leaves of a sweet gum tree (liquidambar styraciflua) in the Park in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Autumn in Rotterdam: a Tree Tour

I hardly have to tell the reader why it’s good to have trees in the city. They purify the air, they absord CO2, they make it slightly less hot in the summertime and they retain water after heavy rain showers. And of course they also make things more beautiful. This decorative function is most obvious in two periods: spring and autumn. Trees that in previous months were fairly inconspicuously bare or green, suddenly burst out into a feast of color. Now that the meteorological (and photographic) fall is over, this blogpost aims to give a small, totally incomplete, tour of...

Rusty old installations in a pond, in the Waterloopbos (Hydraulic Forest) in the Dutch North East Polder on a rainy day in autumn

The Hydraulic Forest in Autumn

The Waterloopbos (let’s translate that with Hydraulic Forest) in the Dutch North East Polder has a post-apocalyptic quality. It is as if a nuclear disaster occurred here fifty years ago. Everywhere you see crumbling wall, sluices, canals and strange installations, partly overgrown by the forest. Hydraulic engineering The reality is, fortunately, somewhat less dramatic. From 1952 to 1995 this area was in use by the national Hydraulic Laboratory. The numerous watercourses and ponds with their wondrous artifacts are the remains of hydraulic scale models. The area is nowadays a national monument and open to the public. November This summer I...

Grassy dike between Brouwershaven and Bruinisse, part of a long distance trail around Lake Grevelingen

Hiking Around Lake Grevelingen

After the completion of the Oosterschelde trail, friends Arie, Maarten, Bart and I had to make a decision. Which long-distance hiking trail are we going to walk next? How about hiking around Lake Grevelingen? Remarkably, there is no official hiking route around this largest saltwater lake in Europe. But no worries, friend Bart lives a stone’s throw away from Lake Grevelingen and knows the area well. Time and time again he provides us with the most beautiful routes. In the last two years we have covered eight stages of the trail. Completion is expected in 2020, but here is already...

The Dry Earth: Reversed Terraforming

After terraforming Mars quite a few times, I’ve now done the reverse thing: martifying Earth. What would our planet look like if all the water suddenly disappeared? Like a Pale Yellow Dot, a kind of cross-over between the Moon and Mars. Warming-up No, this is not a warning about the effects of global warming. Those are worrying enough, but in the short term they mainly mean that we have to deal with more instead of less water. Speculation On the other hand: sometimes planets lose a lot of water in the course of their existence. Mars, for example, once had...

The Lijnbaan Plane Tree Needs Your Vote!

I live in the center of a big city and yet only fifty meters from the Tree of the Year. Or, well, one of the nominees for the Dutch Tree of the Year election 2019 . Giant This tree, the famous Lijnbaan Plane Tree, the tree that has seen it all, has been nominated as a candidate for the province of South Holland. The 168-year-old giant is so large that I had to paste six photos together to get this full picture of it. Eye witness It is a tree that has a story to tell. A tree that has...

close-up of a digitally created stained glass world map, featuring Europe, North Africa, the Mediterranan and the North Atlantic

A Stained Glass World Map

I have already made quite a few special world maps, but never a version in stained glass. Our planet played a part in the virtual stained glass window that I made of the famous Earthrise photo, but that is not the same. So it was about time to fill this gap in my collection. And here’s the result! Virtual glass The map is made of 1440 pieces of colored glass. Virtual glass, of course, because this artwork was made entirely with the help of Photoshop and a tiny bit of Autocad. Despite the abstraction, the elements that make our world...

Close-up of a colorful pile of crown caps from beer bottles

Beer Photography, a Guilty Pleasure

I’ve been in doubt about this blog post for a long time. Is it such a good idea to write about beer? Does it make me look like an alcoholic or dipsomaniac? There were times when you had to empty a crate every night for that, but nowadays you already get critical looks when you occasionally sip a Belgian specialty beer or two. But as a summer intermezzo, not to be taken too seriously, shouldn’t it be acceptible? Mid August, in the closing days of the funny season or, as we say in the Netherlands, the cucumber time? As a...

A new concrete bridge in a landscape with creeks and fields of wild flowers in the Noordwaard region in Biesbosch national park on a summer day

Two Room for the River Projects in the Netherlands

The Room for the River program came into being after the Betuwe region and a number of other places in the Netherlands were almost flooded in the mid-1990s. The central idea was to prevent future flooding, not by the usual dyke reinforcements, but by digging new river channels and redesigning the floodplains. Also nature and recreation were supposed to be given new opportunities in these developments. Have those good intentions been implemented? To check that out, I visited two Room for the River projects this summer: Noordwaard near Werkendam and IJsseldelta near Kampen. Noordwaard One could consider Noordwaard as an...

Close-up of a bee hovering near a purple phacelia flower on a balcony in Rotterdam, Holland

Bee Bistro in Downtown Rotterdam

These are hard times for the bees. Whatever the reasons are, it’s a fact that their numbers are decreasing; some species are threatened with extinction or are already extinct. And that’s not only sad for the bees, it has the potential to turn out pretty sad for ourselves too, since many crops need bees for pollination. Hotels Fortunately, in recent times bees can count on a lot of support. Bee hotels are popping up everywhere: structures with a lot of wood, reeds and other natural materials in which the little creatures can make their homes. Wildflowers This year, Dutch nature...

Digital Reflections of Rotterdam

I often see them in photo groups on Facebook: photos of Erasmus Bridge, or other iconic buildings located near the river, reflecting in the mirror-like water surface of the river Nieuwe Maas. Waves But the Maas is never smooth like a mirror. Rotterdam is the location where the water of the river meets the flow of the tides from the Northsea. As a result, even in completely windless weather there are always big and little waves. In reality, the Maas therefore is hardly more reflective than, say, the turf in stadium De Kuip or the new pavement on Coolsingel boulevard....