Zuid Holland

Urban Canals.100

 

Behold one of the largest moving structures in the world: the maeslantkering. I figured this would make a suitable entry for the 100th time I’ve posted this city / urban canal series. (Turns out when I first started, just after moving here in July ’21, I was calling it City Canals, to counterbalance a series I hoped to start that I still call Country Canals….and then at some point without noticing I just morphed it into Urban Canals. Sorry…) Anyhoo: this is, I think, technically within the municipality of Rotterdam but as you see it’s heavily industrial, not residential or commercial. For more on those parts of Rotterdam, check out for example this post.) We’re within a kilometer or so of the Hook of Holland, where the largest channel of the Rhine Delta meets the North Sea, and this large white structure is a movable storm-surge barrier intended to protect the city and inner port of Rotterdam. The outer port, where the hugest container ships dock, is behind the windmills you see in the panoramic photo just above, on south side of the river, in the Europoort Rotterdam and the Maasvlakte Rotterdam. I’ve bothered to learn all this partly because I’m just a geek and it fascinates me what the Dutch do with water and rivers, and partly because I read Neal Stephenson’s latest speculative-fiction novel during my multi-week visit to Myanmar, so when I landed back in NL and the guy I’m currently stepping out with suggested we drive the beach somewhere, I said “let’s go see the Maeslantkering!” (He has a car, I don’t, and really the best way to get there from A’dam is in fact by car, although there are public transit and bike methods, this being NL, after all…) And just to give you more sense of the general surroundings (good example of Dutch urban planning, what with artificial mountain-bike courses e.g. the small part below where I saw classes of kids being taught, canals, bike paths, etc. all snugged up against one of the largest ports and busiest shipping channels in the world), a bunch of other photos from the Hook of Holland and the immediate surroundings of the maeslanterking, below. (Yes, wiki has a nice piece about this structure for you fellow geeks out there. And yes, I finally donated today, recognizing that I’d be lost without wiki by this point.)


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It’s my blog so I get to define what’s a “village” and what’s not. This is one of those uniquely Dutch views: railroad overpass covered-bridge which is mostly used by bikers, specifically small and large classes of kids taking mountain-biking classes on the natural and enhanced (since almost everything that touches upon elevation above or below sea level, flow of water and so on in NL are very much human-enhanced) hills and dunes and canals surrounding … the Maeslantkering, one of the world’s largest movable structures whose northern half sits perhaps 300 meters behind me as I took this photo on my first full day back from Myanmar. Photos of the Maeslantkering and other Hook-of-Holland area sites to come.

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It’s Rotterdam, what can I say?

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Rotterdam, one learns, is Europe’s busiest port and was until fairly recently the busiest in the world. It also has a long history of shipping, and in its urban center features both an indoor maritime museum (which I’ve not yet entered), and a living outdoor museum that you can walk through for free (as I did during the evening walk which yielded these photos), or do tours with information shared if you book and pay…I assume. Haven’t yet researched that part. And as you’ll see, some of the lovely older buildings did manage to survive WWII. I’m told that the one you see here was temporarily moved so that they could build a new tunnel under it, then brought back to its plot once the tunnel was constructed. Good engineers, these Dutch folks, eh?

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As noted in the last post, Rotterdam has a lot of funky cool modern architecture, often alongside some lovely old buildings that survived the war. This is an area called Museum Park – the tall tower is the most famous museum, called apparently Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, closed for renovation for a few years now. The mirrored round building is the “Depot” where ordinarily the main museum houses works not currently on display. At the top left is Het Nieuwe Institute, showcasing design and architecture. The reflections of large groups of school children out for some special evening of school-kid activities, all moving in real life and reflected below the mirrored skyline in the depot building, made the experience honestly rather magical for me 🙂

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Yes, there’s air-bubble writing in that there canal. If you can tell me what it says, you’ll win my thanks :-). Rotterdam, as every Dutch person seems to know, is a much more hip and modern city primarily because it had to rebuild itself after being very heavily destroyed during WWII, so it decided to go quite modern in its rebuilt architecture. Stay tuned for more :-).

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Roses abloom last week in Rotterdam 🙂

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Small Wonders.100

So apparently, if I’ve counted correctly, this is the 100th time I’ve posted photos celebrating the beauty in small things, so…what better moment to shower you in a million small things with the last photos from my Bollenstreek outing? (See earlier post if that allusion is lost on you…)

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Country Canals.6

Welcome to the first photos from my recent trip to the Bollenstreek, which seems (according to the translations I find for its two component words in my Nederlands – Engels dictionary) “bulb district.” I’ve seen these gorgeous fields of flowers out a train window once before, but never with ability to photograph them. Many more to come in the days ahead. The first photos is daffodils by the canal at the start of our walk from the train station to the real fields of flowers… I had some “Monet moments” that day 🙂

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Yes, during my brother’s recent visit I finally made it out to Scheveningen, and I can certainly see why it’s so popular 🙂