Tagged: history

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...

Facade sculpture of the old Bijenkorf department store by architect Dudok, relocated to it's original position on Coolsingel, supported by a steel structure

The Only Right Place for the Bijenkorf Sculpture

Exactly 75 years after the old Bijenkorf department store in Rotterdam was hit by a German bomb, Dudok’s masterpiece is back in the spotlight. It’s a tragic story: the most beautiful Dutch building of the twentieth century was badly damaged in the bombing on May 14, 1940, partially patched up but finally demolished in 1960. I wrote earlier about this forgotten monument on the 3Develop website and in a blog article. City of Light A very important role in the renewed interest is played by the documentary City of Light, the forgotten Bijenkorf of Rotterdam, made by journalist Peter Veenendaal....

Spherical panorama Bourtange, The Netherlands

The Link between Bourtange and Rotterdam (and between a Pentagon and a Sphere)

A few weeks ago I was in Bourtange, the well-preserved fortified village in the Dutch province of Groningen. At least, I’ve always thought that Bourtange was a nicely preserved piece of history. But that’s not entirely correct. For more than a century, the fortress was completely gone and Bourtange was a boring farming village. In the nineteenth century, the fortifications were demolished and the canals were closed, which happened in many places in those days. Reconstruction Not until the sixties of the twentieth century came the idea to rebuild the fortress. In the seventies and eighties that idea was carried...