Saturday, February 20, 2016

Rotterdam - Places of pilgrimage - 6

I'm building a mental map of Rotterdam. There is one rule: I have to remember the place myself, without artificial memory aids like archives, books and photographs. It has to be personal.

The previous lists of pilgrimage destinations are here: part 1part 2part 3part 4 and part 5.  The complete map can be browsed on Google maps.
Street numbers
This edition will be dedicated to "street numbers": numbers found on (usually older, brick) cobblestones throughout Rotterdam.

Numbered bricks are rare but often they form clusters. If you search for them actively they're nowhere in sight. Then you go for a random walk and you see several of them. And afterward it takes several years to see new ones.

The numbers are handwritten and they point to a pre-industrial age without labels and barcodes, when administration was done on "the thing itself." I don't know the age of these cobblestones and I don't know where I could find more information.
Note: I'm not the only one obsessed by details like this. The "Forgotten NY" website has a whole chapter on cobblestones. They have bricks but they don't mention numbers.

This is my current list. Note: I have not kept records of the earliest street number locations. They could be incorrect:
  1. Cobblestone bricks numbered: 15 and 87 - Crossing of Pr. Beatrixlaan and Konijnenlaantje in the Kralingse Bos. Seen in 2009.
  2. Cobblestone bricks numbered: 21x34 and 46. - Between Steiger and Vlasmarkt. Seen in 2009.
  3. Cobblestone brick marked: 43 - Crossing of Pr. Beatrixlaan and Doorkijk in the Kralingse Bos. Seen in 2011.
  4. Cobblestone brick marked: 2DW - Crossing of Pr. Beatrixlaan and Hoogtaludpad in the Kralingse Bos. Seen in 2012.
  5. Cobblestone brick marked: 7DW - Near the crossing of 's-Lands Erf and Willem Ruyslaan. Seen in 2013.
  6. Cobblestone bricks marked: 66, 66.4 and 21x34. - Between Steiger and Vlasmarkt. Seen in 2013 and 2015.
  7. Cobblestone brick marked: 75 - Crossing of Parklaan and Parkstraat. Seen in 2015.
  8. Cobblestone bricks marked: 42 and 26 - Charloisse Hoofd, behind the Maatunnel bicycle entrance. Seen in 2015.




The map demonstrates the random distribution of numbered cobblestones. Some clustering is predictable because one batch of bricks will be laid in one specific area. And - assuming that during road works bricks are dug up, laid aside and then replaced again - a cluster of numbered bricks can stay in place for many years.

Modern numbered cobblestones also exist. But they're numbered industrially and not by hand. Example from Hardinxveld-Giessendam (2011) and the Hague (2014).

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