Categories for Rotterdam

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

A walk in Dordrecht

Wednesday 5 October i went to Dordrecht, a small town south of Rotterdam. My first goal was to visit a gardening and seed shop with the name Vreeken’s Zaden. When i went to the shop Stek a few weeks ago to look around and buy some bulbs, i was also looking for Catmint’s seeds. They didn’t have them, but they mentioned the shop Vreeken in Dordrecht. I had never heard of this shop before. When i spoke about this in the garden, during a coffee break, i learned that many of the seeds used are from Vreeken. So then the thought came up to go and visit them.

I was lucky today. When i woke up, i felt a chill in the air. But the sun was shining. Even though there was a breezy chill in the air, it looked absolutely wonderful. The trip i wanted to take to Dordrecht was with the waterbus. A trip over water, following the Nieuwe Maas, past Kinderdijk to the Noord, ending in Dordrecht at the Merwekade. A short further trip with another boat brought me to the Hooikade, close to Vreeken’s Zaden.



After i entered the gardening and seed shop, i was simply stunned. The entire shop was packed full of cabinets of seeds. Ooh, they also had gardenings gloves, books, food for birds, houses for birds and insects, all sorts of gardening equipment and greenhouse type shelters. There is an outside with seedling plants, an upstairs with bulbs. And many people working there, going through the shop, no doubt working on orders coming through the Vreeken website.

Once i had made my first walk through the shop, i talked with one of the people working there, Ada. I told her who i am, asking permission to make photos inside the shop. I also told her i was planning on writing a post on my website. Which was fine, luckily!

After a second, more thorough trip around the shop, making photos, i settled with buying the Catmint seeds and a bag of bee attracting flower bulbs, flowering from early February until July next year.









I decided to walk back to the Merwekade over the Voorstraat, which was going through the old centre of Dordrecht. It is not a town i know well, i admit. The centre is a very old Dutch town centre, with some lovely pieces mixed into the shops. I loved the bit called the Hof, besides an Augustine church. Adorable.







I went to the Taankade, running alongside the Voorstraat for the final bit.




I ended up at the Merwekade once again. It had only taken me around half an hour to walk from Vreeken to the Merwekade. I waited there for around 15 minutes for the boat. The trip from Dordrecht till Rotterdam was an hour. With this lovely weather, not bad at all. A travel alongside man made natural areas, boat builder factories, bridges and a lovely three mast private ship.




Back in Rotterdam, i walked up to the Peace Garden, where i had left my compost bucket in the morning. A short trip to the Marqt shop to buy eggs and butter to end up at home. To rest my tiring feet!

Published on October 6, 2016 at 6:00 by

A walk

Today, Wednesday 28 September, i walked through the Kralingse Bos. First i walked past the allotments Nooitgedacht, Neverthought. Big gardens with a small little house at the end. Some people were there, some working, some talking, some lying in the sun. The gardens looked lovely. Most had a part of vegetables and a part of ornamental gardens. Flowers and pumkpins.




After this i went into the Kralingse Bos. I took a familiar route. The Verborgenlaantje, the Hidden Track. At the lake, a small inlet close to the restaurant, i sat down close to the water. I slowly laid down, my head staring up at the sky, shielded from the sun. Many thoughts ran through my mind, almost random. Thoughts of me talking with people i never met. Or only fleetingly. Thoughts of past talks i had with friends. Dream thoughts of events never happened. Also thoughts about myself, my future. Thoughts about work.

I did get some money back from the Dutch taxes, so that is what is keeping my afloat for the next month or so. I remember thinking about my talk with Soto at the garden. I do feel stable, straight. I do not see myself going homeless and getting lost. No.

I am wondering why things do take me this long.

I eat my apple. I stand up and start walking back home.

At home i lie on my couch for a while. Watching Escape to the Country. I think about my different attitude to formerly favourite tv shows. Like Expeditie Robinson. I do like the idea of this show, but the game in it i don’t like that much. I can not see myself ever joining a show like this. Also Masterchef Australia i watch, with that same feeling. It is all thought of as a tv show, with that needed tension between participants. Each and everyone going for its own advantage.

I still like The Great British Bake Off. In that show there is no direction competition between the contestants. It is all decided by the jury, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. So yes, this is still my favourite show right now. With the Dutch version a bit behind. I’m guessing Dutch cooks are just a bit worse than the British ones.

I watch De Wereld Draait Door.

Mars. People are mad. Crazy! Who on earth would want to go to Mars? And never come back? That barren red dusty planet? Crazy!


I had picked up some hazelnuts in the forest. I haven’t tasted them yet.


Some photos i took while lying down. The sky. The clear blue sky. Only a few clouds. Lovely.



My head is still full of thoughts. I still feel different each and every day. That is a good feeling. I feel myself growing.

I do feel myself letting go of fantasies. Even though i do know i needed them. To make me feel happy. To make me strive for something.

I feel myself looking at the world. At the news. The Clinton – Trump debate two nights ago. The Dutch prime minister Rutte. The Zero Waste Home talk on youtube. I should write a bit about that. I’ve been writing bits and pieces so far.

It is lovely weather still.

Hmm, the letting go of fantasies. A bit maybe? But at times i still have ’em. My life is getting busier, but i still have lots of time for myself. So yeah.

I wonder what will happen next.

Published on September 29, 2016 at 6:00 by

A walk in Rotterdam: Feijenoord

Today i ventured out towards the south part of Rotterdam. I kept it rather close, i focused on the Kop van Zuid, the Head of South, and the neighbourhood Feijenoord.

I left home around 9:30 and went straight to the city herb garden the Rotterdamse Munt, on the corner of the Laan op Zuid and the Brede Hilledijk. I had checked before i left home and knew there were people in the garden from 10 onwards.

I had a short talk with one of the coordinators, Giselle. The garden itself exists only for around two years. It funds itself with a shop, a small cafe with a lunch on Fridays and Saturdays and the possibility to get your vegetables from around Rotterdam there. People can pick their own herbs, but they also buy them in the shop. A couple of restaurants let some of their staff pick herbs themselves.

The current location is temporary. In a year or two the garden will move to another location. Still unsure where at this point. I do hope the new place will be close to the current one. Making a community of people living close by, helping out in the garden, working and socializing with each other takes time. It’ll be a waste if the community surrounding the garden now will be lost in future.

The main focus of the garden are the herbs. Mint, thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage, verbena are among the most well known herbs, but there are many other herbs growing and many different variations of thyme, mint and other herbs which all have their place in the beds. In the greenhouse some cucumbers and tomatoes grow.

I had a mint tea and an almond cake. Lovely.

Ready to walk on. I planned to walk back through the Feijenoord neighbourhood. I actually missed it for the most part. I was back at the north part too soon, close to the bridge next to the Hef, the old train bridge. I saw sunflowers and more vegetables and herbs, so i walked into the area just south of the Hef. After i took a photo of the insect hotel i walked further around and talked with a man who was filling up a small swimming pool. He showed me the garden of the Hefpark. It turned out one of the coordinators was sitting in the shade a bit further along. I had a short talk with him. And i forgot to ask his name! So sorry.

He told me about the garden, a community of single user small areas, from one square meter to a lot bigger, all sizes people would think they can handle. Most people keeping their garden were living close by. I told him about my own work in the Peace Garden. We could both see the advantages of both approaches. For me, since i don’t have any gardening experience, it is really nice to work with other people who know more than me in a larger garden. But for a family it does make sense to have your own garden and work on it together. And of course it is an easy step to ask for help from neighbouring gardeners. He also told me about another Rotterdam initiative with multiple projects in Rotterdam, Creatief Beheer. I will read more about them and certainly will visit their projects.

There is also a BMX area for bikes to cross over and a volleyball field.

After this, back to the upper part of Rotterdam and walking back home.

The photos are placed in chronological order.





























Published on September 16, 2016 at 6:00 by

A walk in Rotterdam: the Oude Noorden and Blijdorp

A week ago i walked around the Old North part of Rotterdam, to the Wilgenplantsoen and the Blokland Garden. I also went past the Gandhi Garden, but it was closed at the time. This week i went to the Gandhi Garden again, at a time i knew it was open.

Still no map available, so i will write you through the walk.

I walked over the Noordsingel and the Bergsingel straight to the Gandhi Garden. I spoke with John for a bit, one of the coordinators there. I told him about my walks and writing about them, informally on this website. After this i walked to the center coffee and tea drinking place. A woman was sitting there with her two dogs, Binti and India. We chatted a bit, i drank a coffee. After that i went into the Gandhi Garden and made some photos and talked with some people working there. Some of them i did recognize from my time working there a few years ago. I told them about my walking project and about the Peace Garden, where i work twice a week.

I walked to the end of the garden, where a lovely hexagonal greenhouse was standing. Inside on one side tomatoes were growing. On the other side, and in the middle there were seedlings growing in small pots.

I walked on a small path further to the back, against the wall of the old train rails. In the deep shade woods and other material was sheltered. I smelled some marihuana, but couldn’t find any plants which were looking like it. A small path went all around the gardens. In the middle the beehives were busy standing there.

I walked back to the center place where someone had made more coffee. It was time for a short break. Ronald came too, i know him from the Peace Garden. He told me there was another area with gardens up the Gordelweg. A good next stop! After i finished my coffee i went with him to the big potato hills, wrapped in chicken wire. Time for the harvest!

After that i said my goodbyes to everyone and walked over the Gordelweg on a path besides the canal. Boat houses were lining up there. Really nice to live there. Passing some chickens i saw vegetable gardens on the other side of the fence. Hoping for an entrance further along, i kept on walking past it up until i could turn the corner and i saw an open gate, lucky for me! These Gordelweg gardens were all single user gardens, some neat, some a bit more messy. Areas for compost in between, and a small sheltered area with a bench and a bit of water separated one area from the next. I didn’t see anyone around, but still, it was good to walk there and let the area slowly sink in.

After that i went back home, walking through Blijdorp. I walked through the Central Station and the city centre. At the Schouwburgplein i bought a bara curry chicken which i ate up walking to the market. The vegetable girls were not there though, i asked someone standing besides them, he said their dog had died. So sorry 🙁

So i walked back home. I started to feel a bit tired. Two thirty i was home, four hours after i had left. Time to lay my feet up for a short bit!

A good walk!

The Gandhi Garden and the Hof van Noord entrance signs
Grapes around the starting point of the Gandhi garden
The Gandhi garden
Flowers and vegetables and herbs
The greenhouse
The greenhouse
A bench on the path around the garden
The path
Ronald harvesting the potatoes
The garden
The hexagonal greenhouse and the garden - the old train rails behind
An insect hotel
The Gordelpad
Gordelweg gardens
Rules and regulations of the Gordelweg gardens
A dried up thistle
Yellow bellpepper
Harddraversstraat close to the Central Station
Published on September 7, 2016 at 6:00 by

A walk in Rotterdam: the Old North

Today i made a walk through the old north part of Rotterdam. And i did want to make a map of my walk, but the plugin i’m using isn’t working. Grrr. Hopefully with another update the error will be fixed. I did check an old map, which is still working properly. But i do get a fatal error when i go to the make a new map page.

Well, i simply need to talk you through it then.

I started walking past the Rotte to the start of the Zaagmolenstreet. At the Zwaanshals, a good looking square, i made a couple of photos. I turned into the Zwaanshals and walked to the Wilgenplantsoen. This is a small communal garden. The garden where Daniel, who also works at the Peace Garden, works on Tuesdays. I was a bit early. Luckily the garden was open and i walked around and took some photos of the plants and flowers. Quite soon Marion came in, we talked a bit. It turned out she helped setting up the Peace Garden last year. She didn’t have that much free time now though, so she helped at the Wilgenplantsoen now, closest to home.

When Daniel arrived, the children ran up to him and jumped in his arms. That made me smile, lovely to see. I walked with Daniel to the Kinderparadijs, the children’s paradise close by, to get coffee for all of us.

After drinking the coffee, helping some children to get water from the pump in front of the garden and eating some yellow raspberries fresh from the garden, i walked on.

The Bloklandstreet is next. This garden is closed, but it was easy to take a few photos through the fence. I followed the Bloklandstreet to the Bergweg, took a detour through a pet supermarket i had never seen before and walked further past the Willebrordusplein into the Listreet. I crossed the Bergselaan and walked over the Delfgaauwstreet to the Gandhi Garden. I had intended to make some photos there, but it was closed i’m sad to say. Next time i’ll go there on a proper working moment.

I headed to the Bergsingel and walked along it to the Noordsingel. At one point i walked past the street going to the Gare Du Nord, a vegan restaurant. I went up there and made photos of the beds of herbs and vegetables.

After this i headed straight back home and was relieved to lay on the couch for a short while.

Another good walk!

The Noorderbrug
The Zwaanshals
The Zwaanshals
The Wilgenplantsoen
The Wilgenplantsoen
The Wilgenplantsoen
I woke up this cat lying about in the Wilgenplantsoen
Yellow raspberry
Not sure what sort of tree this is, a willow maybe? I will ask soon!
The Kinderparadijs
The garden in the Bloklandstreet
The garden in the Bloklandstreet
Gare Du Nord garden
Beetles in the Gare Du Nord garden
Gare Du Nord garden
Published on August 31, 2016 at 6:00 by