Thursday, December 27, 2012

Rotterdam - Places of pilgrimage - 3

Preliminary results
With 66 data points more patterns start to emerge. Most are very obvious:

  • Cartography and topography is hard work. Even with the modern tools.
  • The highest concentration is around the city center and the museums. That's because I come here most often. It's the area I know best.
  • The area is bounded by bicycle travel time. It's unusual to drive longer than 45 minutes to visit a place of pilgrimage.
  • Most places are in older areas of the city.
  • The southern part of Rotterdam is under represented. Most places are near to river crossings (bridges and tunnels).
  • I have exhausted the ready supply of places in memory. I will have to browse my picture archives for more. And I will have to redo some bicycle expeditions to remember forgotten places.
  • I will have to use the underground to explore more distant places.
  • It might be possible in future to make a map of boring and non-boring areas of Rotterdam.
  • I don't know if photographs of places would be better than the current text descriptions.

Third list and map
  1. View of the Erasmus bridge by night, Prins Hendrikkade, Noordereiland - A beautifully dystopian view of mechanical modern architecture, combined with 1950´s architecture behind your back.
  2. The Wilhelmina fountain, Burgemeester Hoffmanplein, Noordereiland - A beautiful old-style fountain from an undemocratic age when you still could build pompous monuments for queens. It should be done again.
  3. Half-life atmosphere at night, Burgemeester Hoffmanlaan, Noordereiland - At night the stairs at the back of this building have a surreal, half-life like atmosphere. Pleasantly dystopian.
  4. Unexpected long back alley, Sleephellingstraat, Noordereiland - A long back-alley running along city-gardens and backs of storage spaces. Look through one windows and you see blank monitors showing white noise.
  5. Semi-forgotten playground, Marinestraat, De Ruyterstraat, Noordereiland - A scruffy playground surrounded by strangely clipped poplars. Last time I was there it was full of sparrows. You don't see these often in Rotterdam. According to some maps this should be the exact location of Rotterdam at N 51.55 - E 4.30.
  6. Green man, Nieuwe Binnenweg - A Green Man sculpture has been rescued from a demolished building and has been attached to the facade of the modern apartment building. Such is the power of these mythological images.
  7. Green man, Gouvernestraat, Nieuwe Binnenweg - One of the few remaining green man sculptures in Rotterdam. You find these on late 1800 - early 1900 neo-renaissance buildings.
  8. Green man, Westersingel - Most beautiful green man sculptures in Rotterdam. Four classic green man faces. You find these on late 1800 - early 1900 neo-renaissance buildings.
  9. The Caland monument at the Veerkade - A spectacularly different place. It feels tropical, like Curacao or Suriname. A southern atmosphere with the ethnographic museum and the monument to the engineer who designed Rotterdam's harbor connection with the sea.
  10. Van 't Hoff monument, 's-Gravendijkwal. - Jacobus Henricus van 't Hoff was a Dutch chemistry researcher and the first winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The monument is one of the few "industrial age" statues in Rotterdam. It's an interestingly strange location between 19th century luxury houses (housing several Scandinavian churches) and a busy, dirty car tunnel.
  11. The LaPlace restaurant, Oude Binnenweg, Karel Doormanstraat - I was surprised to find several commercial establishments on my list. But this one has passable coffee, great cakes and sandwiches and - most important - a great view of Rotterdam. It's always inspiring to sit there and look out over the rooftops. A great starting place for walks.
  12. The Bijenkorf cafetaria, Coolsingel, Van Oldenbarneveltplaats - Another commercial establishment on my list. But this one has good coffee, passable cakes and good sandwiches and - most important - a great view of Rotterdam through its high and broad windows. It's always inspiring to sit there and look out over the busy streets.
  13. The invisible city park, Karel Doormanhof - An unexpected oasis of silence inside the busy city center. A bit unkempt with old trees, neglected backsides of building, a playground and a parking lot. It's relaxing to be inside this unexciting space.
  14. The statue of Christ, Wijkpark Oude westen, West Kruiskade - An unexpectedly Catholic statue of the Sacred Heart of Christ. Impressive and moving even though it's very traditional. One would not expect such a statue in the mixed Chinese / Muslim / old (protestant) area of Rotterdam.
  15. Old wall, Wijkpark Oude Westen, West Kruiskade - On very urban looking old wall. A bit run-down, eroded and dirty. It's a pleasure to look at. Feels more like France than Holland.
  16. Old windmill, Noordschans, Mathenesserdijk, Delfshaven - The rump of an old windmill. It's an anomalous object between the modern buildings. But there are more old remains in this area, probably one of the most authentic old parts of Rotterdam.
  17. Poplar alley, Waalhaven Oostzijde - Especially impressive on a calm Sunday afternoon in autumn. The sound of the rustling leaves along the silent railroad tracks is very romantic.
  18. The monolith, Frederikstraat, 1e Crooswijksedwarsstraat - Clive Barker, Imajica: But its truest name was also perhaps its plainest: the Pivot. Controversy had raged for centuries about whether the Unbeheld had set it down in the smoky wastes of the Kwem to mark the midpoint between the perimeters of the Imajica, or whether a forest of such columns had once stood in the area, and some later hand (moved, perhaps, by Hapexamendios' wisdom) had leveled all but this one. Whatever the arguments about its origins, however, nobody had ever contested the power that it had accrued standing at the center of the Dominions. Lines of thought had passed across the Kwem for centuries, carrying a freight of force which the Pivot had drawn to itself with a magnetism that was virtually irresistible.
  19. Santos warehouse, Brede Hilledijk - Beautiful relic from the "real" harbour times. Massive stone and brick, very closed facade. Santos was a source of coffee in colonial times.
  20. Jewish cemetery, Toepad - Beautiful old trees near the entrance. Biblical inscriptions. Sad gravestones. Atmospheric buildings. You can go inside if you cover your head. I prefer to look through the gate, I don´t want to disturb this place, I´m just a random outsider.
  21. Jewish cemetery, Oostzeedijk - You can see the gravestones if you look over the wall. You cannot go inside. A wonderful and mysterious enclosed island, that has somehow survived history.
  22. Jewish cemetery, Vondelweg - A few gravestones are left in the lawn. Two angels have been placed on the roof of the appartment building.
  23. Paradise church, Nieuwe Binnenweg - A neo-baroque church of the Old-Catholic parish (a more sympathetic version of the Catholic faith). Beautiful on the inside and a surprising island of old-school religion in this shopping area.
  24. Eendrachtskerk, Eendrachtsstraat - A beautiful but somewhat austere church. I witnessed a very impressive Good Friday service here.
  25. Straight line view, Schiedamseweg - One of the longest straight streets in Rotterdam. You can look a long way towards Schiedam without any obstacles.
  26. Long view, Laan op Zuid - Another long and straight street. You can look a long way towards the South from here.
  27. "Punched card monument", Plein Loods 24 - A wall with a strange texture reminiscent of punched cards or punched tape. It is part of a WW-II monument commemorating the Jews who were deported from here.
Google map

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