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Detail of the Color Map of Rotterdam cropped at the city center with all city blocks drawn in a random color

Christmas: a Festival of Light and Color

Christmas is in the grayest and darkest part of the year. As far as nature is concerned, because with Christmas lights and decorations, that lack of light and color is generously compensated nowadays. In this blog post I present two maps that therefore fit very well with the Christmas season: the Light map and the Color map of Rotterdam. Solstice Christmas is the most important Christian holiday. But the origins of the festival date back to before the birth of Jesus. Both the Romans and the Germans did not let the winter solstice on 21 December pass by unnoticed. Understandably:… Read More

Work in progress by the author on a digital graffiti world map on a wall of ten by five metres

Graffiti and Coffee Beans: Two New World Maps

What do graffiti and coffee have in common? Not much, I suspect, except that the average street artist will occasionally drink an espresso or latte. And that they both formed the inspiration for a world map. Cartograffiti More or less at the same time, I finished the work on the World Map Graffiti and the World Map Coffee Beans. They’re two maps with a totally different look and feel, and created in rather different ways. They have, however, one thing in common: when I started, I expected to finish them in one or two days, but it took weeks before… Read More

The Barge at Night, artist impression of the new Feyenoord stadium on the banks of the river Nieuwe Maas in Rotterdam

The Barge: a New Stadium for Feyenoord

There has been talk for years about a new stadium for Feyenoord, to replace the legendary football temple, also municipal monument, De Kuip (The Tub). Allthough I am not as frequent a visitor of the stadium as some of my fellow townspeople, I also have my memories of De Kuip. For example, of a competition match of Feyenoord against Vitesse: 2-1. Pierre van Hooijdonk was still playing then, so it must have been a while ago. Much longer ago I was at the best concert of the (twentieth) century by Eric Clapton. With Elton John as a disastrous support act… Read More

Close-up of the Earthrise stained glass window showing a piece of the globe with Europe, the Atlantic and North America

Earthrise as a Mosaic and a Stained Glass Window

Earthrise is the name of one of the most iconic images of the twentieth century. The photo, of planet Earth above the gray landscape of the Moon, was taken by astronaut Bill Anders, during the Apollo 8 mission on December 24, 1968, Christmas Eve. Lonely this Christmas Astronauts Frank Borman, Bill Anders and Jim Lovell were incredibly far from home in late December 1968. To boldly go where no one has gone before, indeed. And all this over Christmas. After all, there was a space race going on: staying ahead of the Russians was more important than spending the holidays… Read More

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. This structure from the thirties 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 of… Read More

Artist impression of a fictional Icelandic cafe, warm and cosy inside, with paintified landscape photo's on the wall, beer on the bar and the Icelandic flag on the tables, and with a snowy landscape outside

Virtual Iceland – Cafe with a View

Iceland, the land of ice and fire, volcanoes and glaciers, fjords and lakes, hot baths and boiling mud puddles. The land of four seasons in a single day, where the sun, the wind and the clouds provide a continuous and spectacular light show. The land where nature is leading, where fords at some moments are suddenly not that fordable. I was in Iceland in the summers of 2005 and 2008 and in the winter of 2012. Statistically, it is about time to make another trip to the island on the edge of the world, the most beautiful place on the… Read More

Group portrait of the eight planets of our solar system, shown to scale: Earth, Venus, Mars and Mercury in their entirety and parts of Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus

Portrait of the Planets

When you want to capture the whole Solar System in one image, you come across a problem. The distances between the eight planets and their star are huge, almost unimaginable. In all the pictures of the solar system you’ve ever seen the sizes of the planets are wrong: they are strongly exaggerated, by necessity. On a scale model of about two metres – a nice size to hang on the wall in your living room – the Earth would be only four thousandths of a millimeter. You wouldn’t even be able to see our homeworld! Heaven on Earth The only… Read More

Impression of The Sulawesi Space Elevator, with a rotating space station and solar panels in the foreground, the Earth in the background and the cable with elevator cars in between.

The Space Elevator: It Ain’t Cheap, But…

An elevator into space: it sounds like science fiction. And that’s what it is: authors such as Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein and Kim Stanley Robinson wrote heavy books about it. But what’s science fiction today, is in the newspaper paper tomorrow and in the history books on the day after. And Arthur C. Clarke has been right more often; after all, he also conceived the communications satellite. An appealing concept In recent years, organizations such as NASA, but also companies like Google, started exploring the possibilities of the space elevator. And the concept certainly has some appeal. The traditional way to get… Read More

Impression of solar sail Johannes Kepler on its way to the moons of Jupiter against a background of stars with the Earth on the left and the moon in the distance

Sailing on the Solar Wind

Probably not everyone realizes that there is also wind outside the Earth’s atmosphere. And that you can also sail in space. Sailing on a different kind of wind, that is: solar wind. The particles that make up sunlight exert force on the objects that are illuminated by them. Johannes Kepler was, in the 16th century, the first to realize the possibilities of a solar sail. He came to that insight while studying a comet. The tail of a comet is caused by the solar wind blowing its particles into space. Sustainable spaceflight The power of the solar wind is small… Read More

Wind farm in the North Sea seen from a low point of view against a spectacular evening sky with a sailing boat as a scale element

One Thousand Windturbines on the North Sea

There are more and more windmills – wind turbines, I should say – in the North Sea. Good plan, because if it’s windy somewhere, it’s there. And they don’t bother anyone either, you might say. Yet the inveterate windmill haters get furious about wind turbines at sea. Others, like me, find it a pity that those wind farms are so far off the coast. Sustainable “We live on a planet close to its star, with a decent atmosphere, a liquid core and a large moon; if we don’t manage to generate our energy in a safe and sustainable way, we’re… Read More