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Long straight road with a line of trees and a farm in the North East Polder in the Netherlands

Hiking in a Dutch Polder

The Noordoostpolder (North East Polder) is a relatively recent addition to the Netherlands; it used to be part of the former Zuiderzee estuary and has been dry land since 1942. With its long straight roads it doesn’t seem like a perfect place for a day trip and certainly not like a great place to go hiking. But of course you’ll never know for sure if you don’t try it at least once. So on October 24, partner-in-crime A. and I travelled to the polder for a trip around three places of interest: Schokland, Nagele and Urk. Planning To go by...

Planetary road sign in a museum-like setting showing the directions and distances to the sun, the moon and the seven planets

Building a Planetary Road Sign

There must be many of them: those funny signposts that indicate the direction and the distance to places that are usually quite far away. Tokio 9597 kilometers, Kinshasa 6379 kilometers, Mahabalipuram 8106 kilometers. Wouldn’t it be nice, I thought a few weeks ago, if there was a signpost like that showing the directions and distances for the sun, the moon and the planets? Why doesn’t such a planetary road sign actually exist? Of course I immediately knew the answer. The planets all have their orbits around the sun and the moon revolves around one of those planets: the Earth. And...

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...

Graphic comparison between light and darkness on one side and the waking hours of the average Dutch person on the other side, when daylight saving time is applied

Daylight Saving Time: a Graphic Argument

For decades it seemed to be one of the untouchable certainties of existence: at the end of March we move the clock one hour ahead and at the end of October we put it back again. Lovely long and light summer evenings, everybody happy. Survey European Commission chairman Jean-Claude Juncker put an end to that certainty on 31 August 2018. He mentioned a survey that supposedly showed that a majority of Europeans want to get rid of the clock shift. “People want it, so we’re going to do it,” Juncker said firmly. Those people, however, turned out to be mostly...

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...

A world map like a dolphin would make it: a network of oceans en seas with some terra incognita in between

A Dolphin’s World Map

Once again I have tried to imagine the point of view of one of the other species we humans share this planet with. After the penguins and the moles this time it’s the turn of the dolphins. How does a dolphin mapmaker see the world? Sympathetic and intelligent Dolphins are known as friendly animals. Are they really as sympathetic as they look or are we somewhat misled because their mouths are permanently in the smiley position? I would not dare to make any firm statements about that. Dolphins are also known as intelligent beings. But how intelligent are they exactly?...

Collage of the numbers 1 through 12, photographed on house numbers, traffic signs and other found footage

Found Footage: the Numbers Challenge

It was on a bicycle path near the fortified town of Hellevoetsluis that I got a brilliant idea. Or let me rephrase that: just a good idea. At regular distances, I estimate about a hundred meters, nummers were written on the asphalt with yellow paint. As I got closer to the ramparts, the numbers counted down, until I arrived at 1. I took the following picture of the peeling paint on the rough tarmac, with some clover and withered grass by the side of the path. Photo project That was the beginning of a new photo project, which I refer...

A World Block Map, in colors that are realistic, albeit somewhat exagerated

The Block World Map Is Here At Last

Yes, my name, Blok, means Block. In fact, the family name was Block until one of my ancestors moved to Rotterdam in the late 18th century and a lazy municipality official dropped the c. In that light it’s amazing that it took so long for me to do something with the block theme. But here it finally is: a Block World Map. Grid The map consists of three grids, which are placed on top of each other. The largest blocks form a grid of 72 by 36; the attentive reader realizes immediately that each block corresponds to five degrees latitude...

Wall with 35 ceramic tiles with kaleidoscopic patterns in spring colors

Springtime in Kaleidoscopia: Mandalas and Milky Ways

Half a year ago I wrote about my first visit to Kaleidoscopia, that magic kingdom where ordinary photographs are transformed into colorful abstract patterns. A few weeks ago I returned to Kaleidoscopia. But while I first used photos of fallen leaves and other autumn scenes, I now submitted pictures of blossom, young leaves and similar springtime scenes to my kaleidoscopic Photoshop actions. The result: 35 new kaleidoscopies, collected below on a tiled wall (and if you think it’s a quilt: be my guest). The question is of course: do these springtime patterns have an essentially different atmosphere than the autumn...

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...