Tagged: urbanism

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

View from a cableway gondola at the Floriade expo in Almere, The Nethelrands, including the Floating Forest

Floriade Horticulture Exhibition in Almere

The Floriade of 2022 in Almere will not go down in history as the most successful edition. The visitor numbers are disappointing and the budget gap is approaching 100 million. When all Almere’s aldermen resigned for that reason at the end of June, it was even feared that the world horticulture exhibition would have to end prematurely. Criticism At the opening, there was also quite a bit of criticism about the character of the exhibition itself. It would all be a bit meager. Due to covid19, a number of participating countries had dropped out. Work was still in full swing… Read More

Pavement tile on Dutch railway platform asking to keep 1,5 metre, or vijf tiles, distance, because of covid-19

Eighteen Corona Hikes in the South Wing

Before the outbreak of the Covid19 pandemic, traveling companion A. and I were quite regularly hiking all over the Netherlands. But then, in March 2020, public transport was suddenly declared “for strictly necessary journeys only”. For a while we dutifully adhered to that rule. But at a certain point it started to feel uncomfortable. Car owners merrily drove all over the place, but consciously carless people like us, suddenly saw our environment limited to a radius of a few kilometers around our own homes. And since A. lives in Leiden and I live in Rotterdam, joint walks were prohibited according… Read More

A map of the inner city of Rotterdam, The Netherlands and surrounding neighbourhoods, made of digital scrapwood, plywood and chipboard

Scrapwood Cities: Groningen and Rotterdam

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 were more maps like that. And more specifically if there was one 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… 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

The shining pot of the Boymans museum collection building under construction in Museum Park in Rotterdam during the blue hour on a morning the the winter of 2020

January Mornings: the 2020 Edition

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

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

The floating pontoon bridge across Leuvehaven harbour near the Maritime Museum in Rotterdam during the blue hour before sunrise

January Mornings

In a previous blog, I told you that the earliest sunset, the first milestone on the way to spring, already happens on December 12. The latest sunrise is two and a half weeks later, on December 30th. The graph below makes it clear: on that day in Rotterdam – and it won’t be much different elsewhere in the Netherlands – the sun won’t appear untill 8.50. Expeditions Sunrise at (almost) 9 AM ; that means that in January you do not have to get up extremely early to experience the blue and the golden hours. So every year I set… Read More

Wooden walkbridge through the tidal forest along the river Oude Maas near Ruigeplaatbos in the Rotterdam district of Hoogvliet

Return to Hoogvliet

The Rotterdam district of Hoogvliet, located more than ten kilometers from the city center, is a boring suburb if ever there was one. I’ve spent the first 22 years of my life there. And I was not very enthusiastic about it, to put it mildly. A town with forty thousand inhabitants, but without a theater, a cinema or other forms of culture and nightlife. And with architecture from the disastrous decades of the sixties, seventies and eighties, which did not make me happy either. Roots I don’t visit Hoogvliet very often these days; there aren’t very many people I know… 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