Tagged: landscape

Block's little Block, a tiny houseboat in a green environment with forest, water, shrubs, reeds, grass and geese

A Tiny Houseboat: Blok’s Blokje

About a year ago I designed Blok’s Block, a kind of tiny house XL. A compact home for adventurous urbanites, to be placed on roofs of tall buildings. One of the reactions I received on the Block: it is not really a tiny house. There seems to be an unofficial upper limit of 50 square meters for this. Although the Block is relatively compact, it still has a floor space of 65 square meters. Would a smaller variant be possible that does fit within this 50 m² standard? Tiny The dimensions of the Block are based on the two floor...

Artist impression of the planet Venus in a remote future after terraforming, with oceans and continents, cloud patterns and an impressive ring system

The Rings of Venus

The closest planet in our solar system, Venus, looks suspiciously like Earth, at first glance. With a diameter of 12,104 kilometers, Venus is only a few percent smaller than Earth (12,757 kilometers). Gravity is also only a fraction less: 0.9 g. That similarity is very striking when you consider that the planets orbiting our sun vary enormously in size, from the dwarf Mercury to the giant Jupiter. As a child I was fascinated by this twin sister of the Earth. I even drew a map, not based on any scientific knowledge, with seas, continents, mountain ranges and wave currents. The...

Australia reforested, a detail of the Forest World Map, made of 15.000 digital trees, surrounded by virtual grassy meadows, with also New Zealand and a part of Indonesia

A Virtual Forest and One Trillion Real Trees

The World Map of Trees, shown below, is made of more than 15,000 trees that together form the continents of our planet, while the surrounding grassy meadows represent the oceans. A piece of land art on an area of approximately 200 hectares, accessed by roads and paths (the equator and some meridians) and with ditches representing tropics and polar circles. All this of course entirely digital and virtual, because unfortunately I have no backyard of this size. Apart from the fact that this forest map is a nice addition to my collection of world maps (see, for example, the stained...

Details of a ship hull with peeling paint, rust stains and stripes and embossed numbers of the draught mark

Countdown: the ten best photos of 2019

Here we are again: the top 10 of the best photos of the year 2019. Or well, let me put that in perspective: these are the ten best photos I took this year, in my own humble opinion. Also, it’s a kind of snapshot; tomorrow I may think very differently. But anyway, at least they are ten special pictures. The long list Like in previous years, I had a huge collection to choose from. I took around five thousand photos in 2019, from which I compiled a long list with almost two hundred nominees. 10 – Cloudburst in Roermond On...

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...

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...

The Drowned Earth: a world map as it looks after the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica have melted, around 4000 AD

The Drowned Earth: 4000 AD, After The Thaw

What would the world map look like if all the polar ice would melt? And how long does it take to get there? These are interesting questions now that climate change is – finally – on the political agenda. And as a cartographer, I could not resist the temptation to visualize the worst case scenario. Gravity When the Greenland ice sheet melts, the sea level rises 7 meters, when the ice melts in Antarctica it causes a rise of 58 meters. So together that makes 65 meters. But that is an average. Because something else plays a role: gravity. Such...

A rainbow behind Hallgrimskirkja, the iconic church in downtown Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik in Winter

While Western Europe enjoyed a very early spring, travel companion A. and I spent a week in the capital of Iceland capital, Reykjavik. It was definitely not spring there yet, but unfortunately just not wintry enough either. There was ice on lakes, snow on the mountains, and here and there there were large heaps of snow in the street, but no fresh snow fell. Well, that means we’ll have to go back there once more. Metropolis There is something strange about Reykjavik. The city, including suburbs, has only 240,000 inhabitants, just as much as a town like Swansea. Which, by...

Wooden walkbridge through the tidal forest along the river Oude Maas near Ruigeplaatbos in the Rotterdam district of Hoogvliet

Return to Hoogvliet

The Rotterdam district of Hoogvliet, located more than ten kilometers from the city center, is a boring suburb if ever there was one. I’ve spent the first 22 years of my life there. And I was not very enthusiastic about it, to put it mildly. A town with forty thousand inhabitants, but without a theater, a cinema or other forms of culture and nightlife. And with architecture from the disastrous decades of the sixties, seventies and eighties, which did not make me happy either. Roots I don’t visit Hoogvliet very often these days; there aren’t very many people I know...