Tagged: history

Stained glass windows in the front facade of Steiger Church in Rotterdam during Open Monuments Day

Open Monuments Day 2017 in Rotterdam: Churches, Shelters and Other Heritage

On 9 and 10 September, doors opened that usually stay closed. Although the name is still singular, Open Monuments Day now covers the entire second weekend of September. Over the years, I’ve seen many Rotterdam monuments during those days. But fortunately, the program offers new surprises every year. And sometimes it’s fun to revisit a monument as well. Schielandshuis I had been in the Schielandshuis, the only 17th century building in the city center , when it was still Museum Rotterdam. These days, it’s used by Rotterdam Partners, an organization dedicated to the promotion of the city (and no one...

Spherical panoarama, or little planet, made of twelve photographs taken at the lawn in the little park in front of Saint Lwarence's Church in Rotterdam

A New Park, a New Panorama: Saint-Lawrence’s Planet

There was a time when I made a lot of spherical and tubular panoramas but the last one, at Kruisplein, dates back to over a year ago. There are two reasons for this. First of all, those little planets are actually quite time-consuming. Well, Photoshop takes a lot of work out of your hands, but you still have to work hard to eliminate minor irregularities, fill in missing information, and tweak details. Secondly, I became a lot more critical in choosing locations. I am looking for special places, geometric shapes, beautiful compositions or other reasons. And I just do not...

Artist impression of planet Earth, seen from a location at 50.000 kilometres above the Netherlands, showing the Northpole, Europa and Africa

Rotterdam, Netherlands, Europe, Earth, Universe

April 22, the birthday of this blog entry, is Earth Day. There is no better day imaginable to talk about satellite and astronaut photographs of our planet. History The first satellite in orbit around the Earth was, in 1957, the Russian Sputnik-1 (which in fact simply means Satellite-1). However there was no camera on board. The first pictures of the Earth were made a few years later , on April 1, 1960, by the American weather satellite TIROS-1. Since then, our home world has been photographed many times. Some of these images have become iconic, like the Earthrise photograph from...

Black and white photo of a two year old boy and a young goat, made in the summer of 1964

Six Decades of Photography

There are people – though they must be very old by now – who have witnessed both the first plane and the moon landing. A similar feeling comes over me when I think of how photography has evolved during my life. I have turned my archive upside down and made the following reconstruction. It will probably sound very familiar to anyone in their fifties or older and is hopefully informative for anyone who is younger. For convenience, I’ve summarized it into Six Decades of Photography, though I missed part of the first decade, and we still have to bring the...

Interior picture of the basement of the Orange Bridge after adaptation to a hotel suite, with double bed and ship stairs.

Sleeping in a Bridge Keeper’s Cabin in Schiedam

In Schiedam, at a stone’s throw from my place of birth, is the Orange Bridge, a structure from the thirties which spans the New Harbour. Since early this year, the bridge keeper’s cabin is managed by fellow photographer, local resident, architecture lover and Schiedam promoter Jan Sluijter, who uses it to organize exhibitions and other events. Here’s a pre-announcement: on 2 and 3 June there’s an exhibition about the architecture of Dudok, including my Bijenkorf triptych. A suite in the basement Under the bridge keeper’s room is a basement, which is accessible via a ladder in one of the towers...

Huf Building, a national monument from the reconstruction era, photographed from the square near Saint Lawrence Church, late in the afternoon, with the building and its lighting reflecting in Delftsevaart

The Reconstruction Top 10 – Rotterdam Highlights from 1945-1970

It is a common misconception that Rotterdam is not very interesting in terms of architectural history because all history has been bombed out of it in 1940. And although much beauty was lost in May of that year,  in the new city as it has grown in the past 75 years, quite a few historical layers can be discovered. The reconstruction period is particularly interesting because in those years (let’s limit it to the period from 1945 to 1970) pretty good architecture was built (and unfortunately some of it even has been demolished already). The buildings from that time are generally fairly sober, but often...

Artist impression of the facade sculpture by Hendrik van den Eijnde, originally on the old Bijenkorf bij architect Dudok, integrated in one of the entrances of Beurs metro station in Rotterdam

A Visit to the Bijenkorf Sculpture

Last Friday I finally saw it in reality, the sculpture by Hendrik van den Eijnde that once adorned the regretted Bijenkorf department store by architect Dudok on Coolsingel. Since 1973 the piece has been sitting on the Bijenkorf’s expedition area in Woerden: For years people have been trying to return van den Eijnde’s work to Rotterdam. As a result of questions by Labour councilor Co Engberts and of the proposal by West8 for refurbishment of Coolsingel, the discussion about the sculpture has flared up again. A good reason to visit the object, together with some stakeholders, including representatives of the...

Impression of Dudok's Bijenkorf department store and windmill de Noord possibly reconstructed in Miniworld Rotterdam

The Windmill Will be Reconstructed! But not on Oostplein

Well over a year ago I made a visualization of the reconstruction of the windmill on Oostplein in Rotterdam. A brief summary: the mill survived the bombing of 1940 but burned down in 1954; plans for rebuilding were voted down by the City Council because the windmill was standing in the way of progress. Since then, Oostplein has been the most desolate square of the country, or at least of Rotterdam. Reconstruction of the windmill would be a way to give the place some of its former allure again. Guerrilla marketing A guerrilla marketing campaign that I did together with Gyz...

The facade sculpture from the old Bijenkorf department store by Dudok on the Coolsingel after renovation of the Rotterdam's main boulevard to a design by West 8

The New Coolsingel: More Space for Pedestrians and for Dudok

In early September the plans for Coolsingel, Rotterdam’s main urban axis, were made public. The proposal by Adriaan Geuze makes some very smart moves concerning the various flows of traffic on the busy boulevard. The tram tracks remain where they are, because it would be too expensive to move them. But car traffic, with less lanes, is concentrated east of the tram. Cyclists get a generous lane on the west side. The rest of the space is for pedestrians. Balance This plan holds a good balance between the desire of some to completely pedestrianize Coolsingel and the wishes of others...

Fragment of the the Double Streep Map Rotterdam 1939-2016, showing the position of the overhead railway on Binnenrotte in relation to pre-war and contemporary city blocks

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! 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...