Tagged: trees

Park bench along the footpath on the Promenade in Münster, Germany

Münster: the Promenade and the River Aa

At the end of July I spent a few days in Münster with traveling companion I.. It was the result of a glance at the map: Münster appeared to be closer to Rotterdam than Groningen. And yet we had never been there. A good reason to take a look. We found a nice, relaxed town, with lots of Kneipen and Biergarten. With old and new architecture and also with lots of greenery. Most noticable were the Promenade and the river Münstersche Aa. Cycling City Münster has a little bit over 300,000 inhabitants and is therefore about the same size as… Read More

Abundantly blossoming prunus serrulata on a sunny day in spring in Blijdorp neighbourhood in Rotterdam

The Prunus (Plural) of Rotterdam

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 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 some of those… Read More

A koelreuteria paniculata (china tree) in Leuvehoofd park in Rotterdam with in the background Erasmus bridge and De Rotterdam building

Trees in Rotterdam in the Autumn of ’21

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

Pink blossoms of a prunus tree at Droogleever Fortuynplein in Rotterdam with in the background De Rotterdam building by Rem Koolhaas

Corona springtime; nature gives and takes

Right now, especially in these turbulent times. We’ve all heard the cliché a thousand times over the past few weeks of lockdown, quarantaine and social distancing. And yet I will use it once again: particularly during this difficult time, nature can offer us comfort, hope and inspiration. Home To be honest, I don’t have that much to complain about my own situation. I have always worked at home and I don’t suddenly have to deal with children who I have to teach or who drive me crazy in other ways. There are undoubtedly better, but also much worse, places to… Read More

Australia reforested, a detail of the Forest World Map, made of 15.000 digital trees, surrounded by virtual grassy meadows, with also New Zealand and a part of Indonesia

A Virtual Forest and One Trillion Real Trees

Planting trees is perhaps the most fun way to save the world. Who doesn’t love a forest, an arboretum or a beautiful avenue of trees? I am giving a symbolic impetus with my digital forest world map, but of course more needs to be done. Much more. Land art The World Map of Trees, shown below, is made of more than 15,000 trees. Together they form the continents of our planet, while the surrounding grassy meadows represent the oceans. A piece of land art on an area of approximately 200 hectares, accessed by roads and paths (the equator and some… Read More

Branches and red leaves of a sweet gum tree (liquidambar styraciflua) in the Park in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Autumn in Rotterdam: a Tree Tour

I hardly have to tell the reader why it’s good to have trees in the city. They purify the air, they absord CO2, they make it slightly less hot in the summertime and they retain water after heavy rain showers. And of course they also make things more beautiful. This decorative function is most obvious in two periods: spring and autumn. Trees that in previous months were fairly inconspicuously bare or green, suddenly burst out into a feast of color. Now that the meteorological (and photographic) fall is over, this blogpost aims to give a small, totally incomplete, tour of… 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

The Lijnbaan Plane Tree Needs Your Vote!

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

Almost abstract and multicolored image of the leaves of a sweet gum tree (liquidambar styraciflua) in autumn

Liquidambar Styraciflua, in Other Words: the Sweet Gum Tree

Oddly enough, I never really noticed them until the autumn of last year and now I suddenly see them everywhere: the sweet gum tree or liquidambar styraciflua. Time for a photographic tribute to the mother of all autumn trees. America The amber tree originates from the southeast of the United States, roughly from the New York – Houston – Orlando triangle. In addition styraciflua grows in higher altitudes in Central America. Chewing gum tree The English language has a lot of names for the liquidambar styraciflua. Quoting Wikipedia: American sweetgum or simply sweet gum tree, American storax, hazel pine, bilted, redgum,… Read More

A prunus tree, more specifically a Japanese cherry, in bloom in springtime near Unesco world heritage Van Nelle factory in Rotterdam

Springtime in Rotterdam: Magnolia, Prunus, Robinia

For some photos the window of opportunity is very small. You have to be quick, otherwise your chance is over. Think, for example, of the increasingly rare photos of the city under a nice layer of snow. Or photos taken in the blue hour after sunset, when the circumstances change by the minute. Spring is another of those narrow windows. One moment the trees are still bare, a few days later they are full of blossoms and/or young leaves. And if you don’t act promptly, the spectacle is already over by the time you get your camera. Late Spring was a… Read More