Categories for Rotterdam

The weather

Yesterday’s weather was changing from hour to hour. When i walked to the garden to empty my compost bucket, it was windy, blue sky with clouds racing through it. When i walked to the dietician shortly after that, it was still windy, but a blue clear sky.

After the appointment with the dietician i walked back another way, it was a grey cloudy sky and a bit of rain. And still windy.

Inconstant Dutch winter weather.

It’ll be colder the next week. No snow i hope, but the cold i’m looking forward too!

2017-01-11 – created in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, 51°55’35.04″N 4°29’29.04″E

Published on January 12, 2017 at 6:00 by

De Bijenkorf

The main department store in Rotterdam is the Bijenkorf, the Beehive. My mother used to bring her three daughters with her separately to the big city close by, Rotterdam to get each one of us new clothes. We usually spend time in the C&A, the Hema, the V&D. I do remember having lunch in the Bijenkorf at those times. The chicest biggest store in the whole of Rotterdam.

I remember the Bijenkorf in all its phases over the past forty years or so. The great cloth department, gone for like twenty years or so. The separate coffee corners on each section. The big one remained, with the open window on the rest of Rotterdam. The bit on the side, for the young people. Gone, another shop is there, with apartments above it. Today i noticed the coats section is gone, or moved to downstairs maybe? The books were above, moved from downstairs, so that is possible. The MAC section, where i bought my eye shadows. The kitchen section on the top floor. The lightning section there gone for a couple of years now.

I walked past the bag section. Only a couple of Fred de la Bretonniere bags remained. His newer brand Shabbies is more visible than his older brand. I won’t get my next bag here, i will need to go to Amsterdam to get another one.

I’ve shopped here so many times. Sometimes alone, sometimes with friends. Other brands used to be available. A bit cheaper. That red dress from Karen Miller looks lovely on the skinny model. The Prima Donna bra is in the collection for a couple of years. It is my main bra.

The le Creuset pans i love. The Iittala ones too. I have three. From when i had more money.

I did go to the restaurant and treated myself to a cup of cappuccino and a dark chocolate and truffle filled pastry. Lovely. I read the Vogue magazine and looked through a cooking book from Heidi Swanson. Which i already have myself, in english.

On my way out, past the Chanel counter once again. The nail polishes. Wonderful!

I had a few talks in the Bijenkorf. One with a woman in the Iittala shop. About the pans, which i do have, use every day and truly admire. Another with two girls sitting on the kitchen section on the ground. San was the name of one. I had made two photos of her. Not the best! She did give her permission, but i won’t show the photo anyway. Too private. And another talk when i left the restaurant, with two people leaving at the same time. I remarked about the cream they left over. We had a good talk about the pure luxury in Western Europe. The totally obscene extravagance of this commercial capitalist culture we have formed all together. I talked about the garden i work at. They told me about their time in Southern Europe, where things are simpler.

So that was my time in the Bijenkorf today. It wasn’t my intention to go there, but when i lied on my couch, looked behind me and saw the blue sky, i had to go outside. I did take my phone with me. And halfway the walk i decided i would go into the Bijenkorf. And write my post about it.

Enjoy the photos!

Published on January 5, 2017 at 6:00 by

Winter in Rotterdam

A wonderful winters day in Rotterdam. I went for a walk around the Kralingse Plas. I walked past the golf track, sat for a short bit at the lake, looking out on the view on the skyline of Rotterdam and the ducks and swans enjoying themselves in the water. I went back and took the Naaldbomenpad, the Conifer Path, and walked between the trees with the low hanging sun shining through. Beautiful.

Many people walk through the forest with their dog. I stopped and said hi to almost all the dogs i met. Some were a bit shy, sniffing quickly and running away, only to return and sniff again. Some rubbed themselves at my legs and almost jumped at me. Others almost completely ignored me. Some bosses explained their dogs behaviour to me. Others said a quick hi.

No map this time. I have done this walk many times already, and made maps many times before. A good walk today. Excellent!

I made quite a few photos.


























Published on December 6, 2016 at 6:00 by

Gardening in education

Since April this year, 2016, i have been working in the Peace Garden. I got to know the people already working there, first and foremost Daniel and Rutger. But also many other people working there, other people making a film in Europe and Asia about urban agricultural projects. I try to wave as much as i can at people walking past and looking down on the garden. Sometimes there is room for a small chat. People stop and enter the garden and talk with us. I love it.

I have also made a couple of walks to other gardens.

A walk in Rotterdam: the Essenburgsingel
A walk in Rotterdam: from Marconiplein to Dijkzigt
A walk in Rotterdam: the Old North
A walk in Rotterdam: the Oude Noorden and Blijdorp
A walk in Rotterdam: Feijenoord

Making these walks was a good combination of walking, which i love, getting to know this town a bit better, in which i have lived for the past thirty years, and getting to know the gardens, especially the vegetable gardens and allotments. In some gardens i met some of the people working there. We had a casual talk usually, but it felt good. It was good.

I never lived in a house with a garden. Not when i lived with my parents, and not when i lived on my own. I didn’t miss it terribly much, no, but my experience has changed me. I see now what i have missed. The simple knowledge of gardening, maintaining the garden, the ground, the earth. Having a compost heap, eating what you are growing yourself; i love it. And now i do gain the knowledge i could have gotten so much earlier.

I started to think about education. Especially primary education. For me personally, i loved school. I loved learning, i loved mathematics, chemistry, physics. I loved to learn how to read, how to add and subtract numbers. I never had any difficulty with any of those subjects. The only difficulty i had was with languages, which to me were very illogical and mystifying subjects which i dropped as soon as possible. I did have swimming at school. I liked that too. And sports. Which i didn’t like. But never did i have any gardening lessons. No cooking lessons. Nothing so practical. One thought did pop up, schools should have a vegetable garden. Communal or single, doesn’t really matter. Kids should learn about plants growing, about the earth feeding the plants, about compost brewing into usable earth with enough nutrients for plants. The simple facts of everyday. Which of course today are not so simple anymore.

A few weeks ago i came across a post on facebook of all places about Henk Oosterling. He was one of the participants on the special evening for Sexposition, the exhibition Annemarie and me organized in 1992. Oosterling has started a project on a primary school, combining judo, philosophy, cooking lessons and gardening to be taught to children. This all is combined under the name Rotterdam Vakmanstad Skillcity. This project is trying to function in the world of rules and regulations of primary schools. Outside of this experiment i read about rules forbidding primary schools to hire cooks, only money is provided for educational staff. (Source: Rotterdam Vakmanstad als voorbeeldmachine). I don’t know the ins and outs of this project and i don’t know much about current primary education, but this does worry me.

I do find this project Rotterdam Vakmanstad/Skillcity very interesting. On the site there are many books, articles and videos linked.

A new book written by Oosterling is released recently: Waar geen wil is, is een weg (Where is no will, is a way).

Published on December 1, 2016 at 6:00 by

Rotterdam: current affairs

Today, Wednesday 30 November 2016, there is a referendum in Rotterdam about the Woonvisie 2030. The main focus in that document is that Rotterdam wants more higher earning people living in the city. Therefore it is the wish of the current Rotterdam government to demolish or sell social houses. I do have to confess, this hardly registered with me. I got the envelop a few weeks ago. I put it on a shelf unopened and didn’t really think about it. I did come across a advisory check, the Kieswijzer, through facebook and found out i was completely opposed to the document. I read an article about it Jaagt Rotterdam de armen weg? and i was even more in disagreement.

Last Saturday i was in the second hand bookstore the Slegte, i watched outside and read a sign high up. This is what it said.

Op 30 november 2016 mogen de inowners van Rotterdam stemmen over de Woonvisie 2030. De gemeente formuleert hierin ambities waar niemand tegen kan zijn, want wie wil er niet leven in een kwalitatieve en energiezuinige woning en in een stad waar iedereen zich thuis voelt?

On 30 November 2016 the inhabitants of Rotterdam may vote about the Housing Vision 2030. The municipal shapes ambitions where nobody can be against. Because who doesn’t want to live in a qualitatively and energy saving house and in a city where everybody feels at home?

Well, i was stunned into quietness for a moment when i read this. “Ambities waar niemand tegen kan zijn“, ambitions where nobody can be against. I don’t know who wrote this piece of self promotion, but to me it is completely wrong. This board is the entry board to twelve ideas and designs by architecture bureaus about Rotterdam. Some of these ideas i liked, others i didn’t. But to me the main issue was that introduction text and the assumption that anybody reading it would agree with it. And yes, i would love to live in a qualitatively high standing and energy saving house for sure. I would love to live in a city where everybody feels at home. But i wouldn’t want to live in a city where poor people are treated harshly, where people on a downturn are snubbed aside, where people who meet difficulty are not listened to and are treated like everything they come up against is their own fault.

Today, Tuesday 29 November, i was at the same place once again. I didn’t have my camera with me, so i decided to write this text in my notebook. I stood on the side, while people were walking by. I noticed two people standing still and reading the same message. I talked to them a bit. I told them how i disliked the message. I was happy they did agree with me.

So i will vote today. I will vote NO. There.

Published on November 30, 2016 at 6:00 by

A walk in Rotterdam

Over the weekend i did learn that today it would be a beautiful sunshiny day. So making a walk was the obvious thing for me to do. Even though it is really cold! I made a medium sized walk, lasting me around two hours. I went to the Park at the Euromast, walked past the river to the Veerhaven, crossed the Vasteland and walked over the Blaak back home.

I sat on a bench next to the water for a bit. Looking at the high buildings. Thinking about how steadfast they look. But also thinking about how quickly they could fall down. I listened to the leaves rolling over the ground, making little shuffling noises. Thinking about how random all these noises seemed, but they all are a part of the fabric of the world once they are made.

I made a few photos during the walk. Simply a couple of views my eye fell on. I hope you will like them.








Published on November 29, 2016 at 6:00 by

The center

I had to empty my compost bucket today. The sun is shining, so i thought i would make photos in the center of Rotterdam.
The other part of the garden. Doesn't get as much work. That will change next year though, then the courgettes will be growing there.
A skyline of Rotterdam. The Laurens church, the main police building, the Beurs.
Two trains, one driving into the tunnel, one driving towards Central Station.
Schiekade. At the top of the building to the left is the Dakakker, the Roof Acre, one of Europe's first vegetable gardens growing on the roof of an office building.
Hofplein and the Coolsingel
The old Shell building, Shell tank station and of course the sun!
The Luchtsingel, walking towards the Pompenburg
At the end stairs go down. Down there is the circular square, at the end of which is the entrance to the Peace garden.
Two trams, the Hofplein and the Weena going towards the Central Station.
A view on the market at the end. This is the top of the tunnel
Besal, where i get my Doner Kebap for luch. Great one!
The inside of the Markthal and a refelction of the buildings outside
Published on November 23, 2016 at 6:00 by


I felt quiet today. I woke up, made my breakfast. Rye spelt bread with an omelet. I watched a bit of tv. Koffietijd, Koken met van Boven. I do have a quick look at Homes under the Hammer, but it doesn’t grab me this time. I turn the television off.

I don’t feel like doing anything productive yet. So i get my iPhone and headphones, lie on the couch and turn on Spotify. I am in my Scritti listening week still, ending up at the compilation Absolute. I have listened to this a couple of times. I do know all the songs on it though, so it wasn’t a huge revelation. The two new songs past me by i’m afraid to say. Listening to A Day Late and a Dollar Short does make me appreciate this song better. But halfway this song i get a phone call.

I have a short talk. About work, and last week, and that i am going shopping this afternoon, going to the market, going to photograph waste containers, going to the Gimsel. A good talk!

So after this conversation i don’t go back listening, leaving the last two songs for tomorrow. I brush my teeth and dress up. I had been thinking about what i should do for today’s post. This idea of photographing the waste containers does stick. A follow up on yesterday’s post about Not Yet Zero Waste – with all capitals! I look outside. It’s raining a bit. So i get my umbrella, my old bag i got in Belgium while i was there for work, 2009 maybe?


I only have an empty bottle of wine and a empty glass jar which used to be filled with mango chutney. I walk past the Action shop to the glass waste container and throw in the bottle and jar.

I walk up to the middle of the road and make a photograph. I look to the side. Damn, so much litter lying around here. Empty plastic wrappers, plastic bottle’s and caps. I make a photo of that too. *sigh*



I walk to the Gimsel. First i enter the Van Binnen shop. I do like this shop. It is in my shops around my house video, in which i drool a bit on the stuff they sell here. I don’t buy anything, but ooh man, lovely things! I do see drinking containers. Put that on a list. The Gimsel next. I walk past the vegetables. No. To the end of the shops, where the bulk section is. Rice, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds. You can make your own peanut butter here. And i do see paper bags to put everything in. Last time i was here there was only plastic on the window hanging. I guess then the paper bags were finished. I make a note on my internal list to get stuff here more. I do have everything i need in my house, so i don’t need to get anything.

I walk further, past the cosmetics section. Looking for a good soap. I do like the Traay Roses soap with calendula, but decide against it. Does deserve a marker though. Past the tea, the tea herbs, the spices, the dried sea vegetables to the cleaning section. Hmm. Waste bags. Need to think about that. Compostable bags. Hmm. Ooh, lunch box things. The round metal boxes which fit together. A box the size of a soap. Aah. Tick tick tick. Drinking containers again!

I decide later this week i will go past Lush in the center of Rotterdam.

Before i go to the market i walk past the Jumbo. I make a photo of the plastic waste container standing next to a clothes and shoes container.


I walk to the market. I would like a doner kebab bread, but i don’t see my usual kebab place about. The place is being reworked now, so all the stalls are someplace else. I go for a chips war instead. Mayo, peanut butter sauce and onions and sambal. Yum.

When i sit besides the library eating my chips slowly, a girl appears next to me. She is like – hmm, i don’t know how old she is, not sure how old she looks – she is like five years old maybe? Very open, talking to me. I give her a chip with mayo. She had said she doesn’t like peanut butter sauce. I ask her where her mother or father is. She points to the end of the library. The lady in the white coat. Behind the pillar. We talk a bit. I ask her name. She did say it, but i only remember how people call her, Angie. I give her another chip. With a bit of sambal. Hot!! Her grandma calls her. I smile at her when she is standing besides her grandma.

When i have finished my chips, i walk past her. She introduces me to her grandma. Her grandma asks me if i believe in God. No i say. Sorry. She is nice. Angie gives me a little present. A woodstick box with inside it a seashell with a pearl pasted in it. Do you know you are a pearl in God’s hand? I like her presents. I look inside my bag and give her a card with a drawing i made like twenty years ago: Ellen, Architect of Change. With my website on the back of it. If you are watching this Angie: Hi!! Wave!!!


On the market i buy some vegetables. Another soup upcoming. In the shop Marqt i buy buttermilk, maple syrup, sugar bread. Tomorrow morning i will make pancakes, with buttermilk. I did look up recipes beforehand. One recipe Pannenkoeken zoals het hoort – Pancakes as they should be – said to put the flour and buttermilk together and let it sit for twelve to twentyfour hours. So i will do that! The recipe will follow in tomorrows post.

The rest of the day is spend working on this post and watching television: De wereld draait door and the Great British Menu. Ooh, and i slept a little between half past five and a quarter past six.

Bye bye!


Published on October 19, 2016 at 6:00 by