The Overhead Railway on the Double Street Map of Rotterdam

About a year ago I created the Double Street Map of Rotterdam 1939-2014, which shows how the street pattern of my hometown has changed as a result of the 1940 bombardment and the subsequent reconstruction. That map did not go unnoticed: local newspaper AD/Rotterdams Dagblad wrote about it and I received a lot of reactions. The comments were actually all positive, except for on a small point of criticism: the Overhead Railway is missing!

Map of Rotterdam before and after the 1940 bombing - comparing streets, harbours and city blocks

Parisian allure

Indeed, the Overhead Railway … I’m old enough to remember: the railway viaduct on Binnenrotte, which gave an almost Parisian allure to the market underneath. It was demolished after completion of the railway tunnel in 1993.

Too bad a small piece of it hasn’t been preserved. But that’s how it goes in Rotterdam: things are gone before someone realizes that future generations might be interested in them.

Above ground level

I had not included the Overhead Railway because I wanted to show the situation at ground level. But I was not very consistent with that because I have put the Luchtsingel on the map, which is a kind of modern Overhead Railway for pedestrians.

And the railway viaduct had quite a strong presence, particularly in the pre-war situation, when Binnenrotte was only about half as wide as it is today.

In short, it was time for an update of the Double Street Map, now including the railway. Below is a fragment in which the viaduct runs from top left to bottom right:

Fragment of the the Double Streep Map Rotterdam 1939-2016

The Overhead Railway and the Markthal

We zoom in a bit further, to the vicinity of the Markthal. With three existing buildings for orientation: Saint Lawrence Church (13), Willem de Kooning Academy (14) and the White House with the Wijnhaven houses (15). Other than that, little remained the same. Blaak, now a busy road, was in 1939 partially water, partially the square in front of the Stock Exchange (Koopmansbeurs). At the site of Blaak station was another body of water: the Kolk. Straight through what is now the library ran a street called the Middensteiger (Middle Jetty). And Nieuwstraat, then a narrow alley, ran straight through the Market Hall.

Fragment of the double street map Rotterdam 1939-2016 showing the area between Saint Lawrence Church and the White House, including Markthal, Library and Cube Houses


Now that I was working on it again, I’ve checked the whole map once more. This led to some minor changes.

I also turned a 4 into a 6. A name like Double Street Map 1939-2014 is aging rather rapidly, faster than the information on the map itself. And though it’s not 2016 yet, I don’t expect the Rotterdam street pattern to change dramatically in the coming months.

Also this improved version is, of course, available in my webshop.

UPDATE: the 2017 version

Also for 2017 I made an updated version, but this update was less profound. I checked the map very thoroughly and concluded that over the last year nothing really changed in Rotterdam, so I only changed the 6 to a 7.

UPDATE: the 2018 version

Of course I could have changed a single digit once again: 2018 instead of 2017. But also in the past year the street plan has hardly changed (as in: not at all). And if no strange things happen, I do not foresee any changes in the coming years. That is why I have opted for a more sustainable solution: the map is now called Double Street Map 1939 / Now.

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