Sunday, May 5, 2013

The names of the skyscrapers

It was surprisingly hard to discover the names of all the buildings in this Rotterdam skyline. Most of them have extremely commercial names, harking back to the 16th century and suggesting wealth and prosperity. The names use false ancient Dutch spelling with "C" instead of "K" and "AE" instead of "AA". Most of them refer to water or shipbuilding. Most are artificial. None are memorable.

These buildings dominate the Rotterdam skyline but they are useless as landmarks or orientation points. There is nothing down there, just commercial businesses.

When I make an appointment I usually choose museums, churches, shops or pubs as orientation points. Smaller and lower buildings. Buildings with a pedestrian size and function.

1 - Robeco Tower - an investment bank, and it has a tower
2 - Maritime museum - a very nice museum, with some romantic exhibits
3 - Fortis bank - collapsed in the financial crisis, now nameless
4 - The White Emperor - how pompous can you get?
5 - Rabo bank - still there, no bailout needed
6 - The Old Merchant Navy - again, how pompous can you get?
7 - Blaak 8 - name is the address
8 - The Wine Harbour - building name is the name of this area
9 - The WaterCity Tower - on the edge of pretentiousness
10 - The Red Apple - WTF? what hipster came up with that name?
11,12 - Harbour Village - artificially quaint name for a skyscraper
13 - The Ship Makers Tower - just over the edge of pretentiousness
14 - The Maas - just the name of the river

I confess ... this is an example of the infamous "psychogeographic sneer" as described by Nick Papadimitriou. But why should pompous, capitalist names dominate my skyline?

Sky Scraper City - Rotterdam

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