Tagged: history

Stained glass windows in the front facade of Steiger Church in Rotterdam during Open Monuments Day

Open Monuments Day 2017 in Rotterdam: Churches, Shelters and Other Heritage

On 9 and 10 September, doors opened that usually stay closed. Although the name is still singular, Open Monuments Day now covers the entire second weekend of September. Over the years, I’ve seen many Rotterdam monuments during those days. But fortunately, the program offers new surprises every year. And sometimes it’s fun to revisit a monument as well. Schielandshuis I had been in the Schielandshuis, the only 17th century building in the city center , when it was still Museum Rotterdam. These days, it’s used by Rotterdam Partners, an organization dedicated to the promotion of the city (and no one… Read More

Spherical panoarama, or little planet, made of twelve photographs taken at the lawn in the little park in front of Saint Lwarence's Church in Rotterdam

A New Park, a New Panorama: Saint-Lawrence’s Planet

There was a time when I made a lot of spherical and tubular panoramas but the last one, at Kruisplein, dates back to over a year ago. There are two reasons for this. First of all, those little planets are actually quite time-consuming. Well, Photoshop takes a lot of work out of your hands, but you still have to work hard to eliminate minor irregularities, fill in missing information, and tweak details. Secondly, I became a lot more critical in choosing locations. I am looking for special places, geometric shapes, beautiful compositions or other reasons. And I just do not… Read More

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… Read More

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… 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, 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… Read More

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 yes, it’s true that much beauty was lost in May of that year, and that after that even the city plan was altered beyond recognition. But 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… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More

Fragment of the double street map of Rotterdam which compares the streets, blocks and harbours of the city in 1939 and 2014

Rotterdam: a Tale of Two Cities

If you’ve been reading my blog (for example, take the article on the old Bijenkorf or windmill De Noord) you know that I’m really interested in the history and architecture of Rotterdam. And that’s not just because I live there. What fascinates me is that there are actually two different cities. These two cities share the same location, but are separated from each other by time. With one major breaking point: the day of the bombing, May 14, 1940. Of course, other cities have changed enormously as well since, say, the thirties. But nowhere the changes have been as dramatic… Read More

Artist impression of Windmill De Noord, reconstructed on the refurbished and greened Oostplein in Rotterdam

Rotterdam, Oostplein: Return of the Windmill

A while ago I saw on Vimeo the movie Rotterdam 2040, created by Gyz la Riviere. Highly recommended: the film is full of archival footage of Rotterdam in various eras. The film also makes you think about the typical Rotterdam tendency to constantly demolish historic buildings for the sake of progress, or for other reasons. Of course, the German Air Force in 1940 had a disproportionate share of the demolition. But you would expect that people would have been more careful with what was left, precisely because of that bombing. But the opposite happened. Many buildings that could have been… Read More