Tagged: history

Artist impression of the sculpture by Hendrik van den Eijnde from the facade of architect W.M.Dudok's Bijenkorf department store, back on its original location on Coolsingel in Rotterdam

The return of the sculpture on Dudok’s Bijenkorf to the Coolsingel

For almost twenty years now, Rotterdam art lovers have been trying to bring the sculpture by Hendrik van den Eijnde, the only remnant of the old Bijenkorf department store by architect W.M Dudok, back to the place where it belongs: the Coolsingel. The omens are favourable: it may happen soon. Woerden As early as 2005, Aad Koster, board member of the Roterodamum Historical Society, raised the alarm: the Bijenkorf sculpture had been wasting away for decades on a business park in Woerden. There, at the Bijenkorf’s distribution center, the artwork was placed in 1973. Plaque The sculpture is often referred… Read More

Artificially aged vintage postcard of Little C, Tuschinski Park and Coolhaven harbour in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Vintage Postcards of Rotterdam in the Twenties

This blog post is made for growth. A few years ago I produced a series of artificially aged postcards of Rotterdam, seemingly from a bygone era but with contemporary landmarks such as the Markthal, Central Station and Erasmus Bridge. In the meantime, a new generation of architectural highlights is under construction or just completed. And that called for a new series of vintage postcards. There are still fences, scaffolding, site huts or other disfiguring elements around a number of those projects, so I’ll have to wait for the right time to strike. I will place the new additions to the… Read More

A "post-completion drawing" of the Basic Plan for the Reconstruction of Rotterdam bij Cornelis van Traa from 1946, with the city as it has been built in the 80 years after the 1940 bombing

The Reconstruction of Rotterdam Revised

This year we commemorate that eighty years ago the reconstruction of Rotterdam started. On May 14, 1940, much of the city was destroyed by the German bombardment and subsequent fire. Just four days later, on May 18, city architect W.G. Witteveen was commissioned to make a plan for the rebuilding. The ultimate Basic Plan for Reconstruction, drawn by Witteveen’s successor Cornelis van Traa, was not aproved by the city council until 1946. As a result of that Plan, the street map of the city center was drastically changed in many places. As I searched through my Rotterdam archive, I came… 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

The Rotterdam metro network is the oldest in the Netherlands. With more than one hundred kilometers, five lines and seventy stations, it is also the most extensive metro network in our country. How did that happen? What are the expectations for the future? And couldn’t that map of the line network be a little prettier? I’ll answer those questions in this blog post. The beginning The Rotterdam metro was officially opened on February 9, 1968. On that day trains started running on the first section: six kilometers, seven stations, from Central Station to Zuidplein. I was there, together with my… Read More

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. This quality becomes almost overwhelming when you visit this forest on a rainy day in autumn. It is as if a nuclear disaster occurred here fifty years ago. Everywhere you see crumbling walls, sluices, canals and strange rusty 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… 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

Long straight road with a line of trees and a farm in the North East Polder in the Netherlands

Hiking in a Dutch Polder

The Noordoostpolder (North East Polder) is a relatively recent addition to the Netherlands. It used to be part of the former Zuiderzee estuary and has been dry land since 1942. With its long straight roads, the polder doesn’t seem like a perfect place for a day trip and certainly not like a great place to go hiking. But of course you’ll never know for sure if you don’t try it at least once. So on October 24, partner-in-crime A. and I travelled to the polder for a trip around three places of interest: Schokland, Nagele and Urk. Planning To go… Read More

Artist impression of a project for the roof of Maassilo in Rotterdam, with cornfields, a glass and steel windmill, a crop circle and a pancake restaurant

The Cornfields of the Wheat District, an idea for the Maassilo Roof

The Maassilo on the Brielselaan is one of the coolest buildings in Rotterdam. As a child I was already fascinated by the huge concrete block that you could almost touch when traveling to the city center with the metro. So when this summer a competition was organized to design a skybox on the tenth floor and to come up with an idea for the roof of the Maassilo, I didn’t need to hesitate to join. The same was true for about sixty other designers and design teams from Rotterdam and wide surroundings. History A nice side effect of the competition… Read More

"Old" vintage postcard, or rather a digitally aged recent photo of the White House and the Old Harbour in Rotterdam

Vintage Rotterdam

Take a good look at this vintage postcard of the White House and the Old Harbour in Rotterdam. An old picture, found in a cardboard box that has been in a cold and humid attic for decades. Let’s try to date it. Fin de siècle Er, did I hear you say fin de siècle? I assume you mean the end of the nineteenth century. That sounds like a valid assumption; the White House, the “American” skyscraper that for years was the highest in Europe, dates back to 1898. And the classic barges in the foreground, located in the Oude Haven,… Read More

Light trails from cars in the tunnel under Koninginneplein in Venlo at night with slow traffic next to the tunnel.

Venlo revisited: the Koninginneplein Tunnel

The tunnel under Koninginneplein (or should I say Queen’s Square?) in Venlo was completed in 2011. It ensured a smoother and prettier transition between the railway station and the city center. Through traffic went underground; from now on pedestrians could easily and safely walk into the city. Glass panels My Royal HaskoningDHV colleague Mari Baauw was the architect of the project. I had the honor to design the glass panels in the railing between the underpass and the ground level. Six years later It was not the only reason, but the Koninginneplein tunnel was my main goal when I traveled… Read More