This blog post was actually planned for the spring of 2020. The idea, analogous to the famous Dutch Railways hikes: a number of hiking routes with a metro station or tram stop as the start and end point. But then it became clear that covid-19 would not pass the Netherlands completely unnoticed. Public transport was suddenly declared “for strictly necessary journeys only”. Of course I could have published in the more relaxed summer months of 2020. But even then, a second wave seemed to be around the corner all the time. Last winter’s lockdown also didn’t seem like the right… 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.
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
For a few years now, I have made it a habit, some time mid-March, to look back on the past winter, and especially on the photographic aspects of it. Unfortunately, since I started doing that, there has hardly been any real winter weather in the Netherlands. In 2014/2015, the winter lasted only two days. In 2016/2017 I had to go to the far east of the country to take beautiful pictures. In 2017/2018 there was some cold at the beginning and the end, but the rest of the winter was grey and rainy. For the winter of 2018/2019 I could… Read More
Mid-March, in the week that the corona panic began to take hold, my growing apprehension was somewhat tempered by a nice little job for the municipality of Groningen. They had seen my digital scrapwood map of the Netherlands and wondered if there was such a map of the city of Groningen. That would be a perfect gift for a departing alderman. Blocks That map did not exist yet, but could of course be made. The question was: do I make each neighborhood out of a separate piece of virtual scrapwood, as I had done with the provinces on the map… Read More
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 I searched through my Rotterdam archive, I came across a thirty-year-old brochure, published in 1990 to celebrate fifty years of reconstruction. On its front page is a… Read More
In a previous post I explained why early January is such a good time to go out taking photographs at daybreak. There’s no need to set the alarm inhumanely early because the latest (in the sense of the least early) sunrise is around New Year’s Day. And in this time of year sunrise coincides more or less with the morning rush hour, making it easy to adorn the photos with light trails and other special effects. Also this year I went out a few times early in the morning for a photo expedition through Rotterdam in the blue hour. Unfortunately… Read More
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 of 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,… Read More
Here we are again: the top 10 of the best photos of the year 2019. Or well, let me put that in perspective: these are the ten best photos I took this year, in my own humble opinion. Also, it’s a kind of snapshot; tomorrow I may think very differently. But anyway, at least they are ten special pictures. The long list Like in previous years, I had a huge collection to choose from. I took around five thousand photos in 2019, from which I compiled a long list with almost two hundred nominees. 10 – Cloudburst in Roermond On… Read More
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
I often see them in photo groups on Facebook: photos of Erasmus Bridge, or other iconic buildings located near the river, reflecting in the mirror-like water surface of the river Nieuwe Maas. Waves But the Maas is never smooth like a mirror. Rotterdam is the location where the water of the river meets the flow of the tides from the Northsea. As a result, even in completely windless weather there are always big and little waves. In reality, the Maas therefore is hardly more reflective than, say, the turf in stadium De Kuip or the new pavement on Coolsingel boulevard.… Read More