Over the past two years, the Dutch Tile-Flipping Championships have been organized. A competition between cities to replace as many pavement tiles as possible with grass, shrubs or other greenery. Also in my neighbourhood I can think of places where some tiles could be taken out. Greening Apart from facilitating a bit of healthy rivalry, the Dutch Tile-Flipping Championships also have a more serious goal. If you replace pavement tiles with nature, you make your city more climate-resistant, more biodiverse and, above all, more beautiful. I don’t have any tiles I could flip: I live on the tenth floor of… Read More
|Rotterdam, also known affectionately as Rotjeknor or Roffa, plays a big role in my work. And not just because the 3Develop-offices are located there. The city simply asks for it. With such a fascinating past, dynamic present and an undoubtably interesting future.
The city does well on international lists. Recommended by Lonely Planet, The Rough Guide and the New York Times. Rotterdam, Holland’s only real metropolis, the largest port in Europe, is hip, cool, dynamic and photogenic. And yet still allows room for plans that make the city even more beautiful.
The canals of Rotterdam, also known as singels, draw beautiful green lines through the city. How did we actually get those canals? In this blog article, illustrated with pretty autumn pictures, I dive into the history of these green structures. Surrounded Traditionally, singels were the waters on the edge of the old town. The city was literally surrounded by by them, hence the Dutch word omsingelen. Mostly they were defenses, meant to keep invaders out of the city. Singels and vests Rotterdam has never had such impressive fortifications as some other cities. But there were indeed a number of singels,… Read More
I once wrote a blog post about my favorite autumn tree, the liquidambar styraciflua, or sweet gum. But what is my favorite spring tree? After much deliberation, with magnolia as runner up, I picked the prunus, the Japanese cherry with its exuberant pink cherry blossom. Image It is of course disastrous for my image as a tough masculine guy, this prunus adoration. But that image was never that convincing anyway. And in these gender-fluid times: who cares about a guy with a love for pink blossoms. Prunus serrulata There are many types of prunus; Wikipedia lists dozens of them and… Read More
It look like the months have a theme this year, in terms of weather. In January it has been foggy for days on end; in February, we were hit by storms Corrie, Dudley, Eunice, and Franklin. And in March the theme apparently was dry, sunny and windless, as if nature needed to catch its breath after all those storms. It was a great time to walk along the old harbor basins of Rotterdam, hoping to capture some beautiful reflections. Reflections Sunny and windless, those are ideal weather conditions for creating reflectifications. That’s what I call photos of buildings, trees and… Read More
It has become a tradition: on some days in the beginning of the year I set the alarm very early to go on a photo expedition in the blue hour. Very early, in my case that is a quarter to seven. I know for some people that sounds like sleeping in. But for me it’s early enough to be jet lagged for the rest of the day. It’s worth the sacrifice. Sunrise The reason for those January expeditions, I’ve explained it before, is the late sunrise. Although the shortest day falls on December 21, the earliest sunset is already on… Read More
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
Once again, this autumn, a Rotterdam plane tree finished second in the Tree of the Year election. After the Lijnbaan plane tree, two years ago, this time it was the Breytenbach plane tree on Westersingel canal that was defeated by a competitor from the southern provinces. Those Rotterdam plane trees are like the Dutch men’s football team of the tree competitions: always loosing the final. Nevertheless it’s an impressive sight, this Breytenbach tree, on its own little peninsula in the canal. The tree owes its name to the South African poet Breyten Breytenbach, who declared it a “monument to free… Read More
There are few cities with a nature island within their borders. Both in the Netherlands and abroad I don’t know many examples. Rotterdam does have one. Okay, not really in the middle of the city, but well within the municipal boundaries and even (largely) within the Ringroad. We are of course talking about Brienenoord (pronounce breen-a north), separated from the rest of the city by a river channel named Zuiddiepje (which translates as Little Southern Deep) Van Brienen The island is 1400 meters long and about 200 meters at its widest point. It has been around since the early 19th… Read More
The fortieth edition of the Rotterdam marathon, on Sunday 24 October 2021, was a very special one. To start with, it was the first Rotterdam marathon in two and a half years. Quite a long interval for an annual event. But we all know what tiny brat of a virus was responsible for that. Autumn But also the season made this marathon unique. The event always takes place in the first half of April. This was the first and probably only time 17,000 runners ran these 42,195 meters in autumn. Seasonal Since many thousands of photos of the marathon are… Read More
Autumn is the season of special effects par excellence. In addition to beautifully colored trees and spectacular cloudy skies, mist and fog sometimes create a special atmosphere in these months. On October 8, the mist conditions in Rotterdam were truly sensational. The day started with thick fog but at about nine o’clock the sun slowly started to break through. From my balcony I first saw the Parkhotel, the Boymans museum and the Depot building emerge from the mists. After that, the Euromast and the twin towers of the Erasmus MC slowly appeared. Apocalyptic Beautiful images quickly appeared on the internet,… Read More