Category: Various

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… Read More

Future vision for the Rotterdam metro network, with two new lines, visualized as an old school London Underground map

The Rotterdam Metro in Past, Present and Future

On February 9, 1968, the first section of the Rotterdam metro was opened: six kilometers, six stations, from Central Station to Zuidplein. I was there together with my father, but all I remember is that I saw a lot of people’s legs that day. I was only five and much shorter than I am today. A few years later, that first line was extended to my hometown Hoogvliet. This resulted in a spectacular reduction of the travel time to Rotterdam. Instead of a one hour bus ride, the metro took us to “the city” in half an hour. Now, more… Read More

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. It took us four years to complete the Grevelingen Path, with a little delay caused by the pandemic. The map is interactive:… Read More

The Lijnbaan Plane Tree Needs Your Vote!

I live in the center of a big city and yet only fifty meters from the Tree of the Year. Or, well, one of the nominees for the Dutch Tree of the Year election 2019 . Giant This tree, the famous Lijnbaan Plane Tree, the tree that has seen it all, has been nominated as a candidate for the province of South Holland. The 168-year-old giant is so large that I had to paste six photos together to get this full picture of it. Eye witness It is a tree that has a story to tell. A tree that has… Read More

Close-up of a colorful pile of crown caps from beer bottles

Beer Photography, a Guilty Pleasure

I’ve been in doubt about this blog post for a long time. Is it such a good idea to write about beer? Does it make me look like an alcoholic or dipsomaniac? There were times when you had to empty a crate every night for that, but nowadays you already get critical looks when you occasionally sip a Belgian specialty beer or two. But as a summer intermezzo, not to be taken too seriously, shouldn’t it be acceptible? Mid August, in the closing days of the funny season or, as we say in the Netherlands, the cucumber time? As a… Read More

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… Read More

Close-up of a bee hovering near a purple phacelia flower on a balcony in Rotterdam, Holland

Bee Bistro in Downtown Rotterdam

These are hard times for the bees. Whatever the reasons are, it’s a fact that their numbers are decreasing; some species are threatened with extinction or are already extinct. And that’s not only sad for the bees, it has the potential to turn out pretty sad for ourselves too, since many crops need bees for pollination. Hotels Fortunately, in recent times bees can count on a lot of support. Bee hotels are popping up everywhere: structures with a lot of wood, reeds and other natural materials in which the little creatures can make their homes. Wildflowers This year, Dutch nature… Read More

Top view of the model of new construction projects in downtown Rotterdam, in the hall of the Coolsingel Post Office

Cardboard and Styrofoam in the Old Post Office

The old main post office on Coolsingel avenue: it’s a place I visited quite often when I had just moved to Rotterdam. In those days you sometimes needed a stamp to send a letter or postcard. The waiting time in front of the counter was made pleasant by the beautiful space you were in: a large hall with the parabolic concrete arches, skylights and relief tiles. Redevelopment The post office closed its doors in 2007 and since then the hall hasn’t been accessible except in rare occasions. The building, a national monument, was in decay for over a decade but… Read More

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… Read More

Close-up of a bollard between the cobble stones on the quay of Wilhelmina Pier in Rotterdam, The Netherlands with in the background a fiery sunset over Charlois neighbourhood

The Earliest Sunset and the Shortest Day

The shortest day: every autumn, it’s something to look forward to. From 21 December, the days will lengthen again. But in fact, it’s a little more complicated. And that’s good news. Harbinger of spring This will be an encouraging post for everyone with a winter depression. And in fact for everyone who passionately longs for the spring, and who doesn’t? I can appreciate a bit of snow and ice, but I’m certainly not fond of the dark, the humidity and the chillyness of winter in the region where I live. Keep courage! Even before mid-December, the first harbinger of spring… Read More