Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Boats and bobs

I often wonder what image people have in their minds when they read about our harbour here. It is a special place, but not just because of the community we have.

Rotterdam was blitzed during the war, meaning that the centre of the city lost nearly all of its traditional Dutch buildings. A few remain but mostly we are surrounded by soaring skyscrapers,radical design and the most modern of modern architecture you can find. Even so, our 'oude Haven' is colourful and quaint in its way and that IS because of the old ships.

Last week, we had another memorable visit from Invader Stu and the girlfriend, both of whom seem suitably charmed by our boaty world and regaled us with tales of their own adventures on Holland's higher seas. Then today, our neighbour from the little house in Westdorpe dropped by on his way back to the UK.

He was fascinated by it all, and really impressed by the juxtaposition of the very old as represented by the boats and the harbour, and the very new, staggeringly tall apartment blocks and offices that surround us.

We are so used to it, which is not to say we are immune to its charms, but I do think that sometimes we don't see it as others do.It has changed a lot since I've been here, and in my view not all for the better. Nevertheless, it is impressive and in many ways quite beautiful. Rotterdam has had a bad press, but Iwouldn't willingly move to either Amsterdam or Den Haag. Give me 'Rottingdam' any day of the week!


  1. I am looking forward to seeing you again in a few months and reconnecting with your little corner. So rich for the senses. Do you know that on Google streetview, I can't see either of your barges. I expect you were off on a trip when they were filming, or perhaps I can't remember Koos' barge very well.


  2. How has it changed Val? I love the Thames down by all the amazing new buildings but what makes it special is those old ones in between...rivers are great!

  3. Hear, hear! Rotterdam has great charm, I think it's the boaters who make it so. Was certainly our favourite city in the Netherlands.
    Oll's on his way back. Hope to see you in Gent,afloat or by car, next week. xx

  4. We had a great time once again :) We'll have to show you our boat sometime.

  5. I think it looks charming, and the way you describe looks very inviting aswell Val!! Maybe one day.....

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  7. I think it is really important to like where one lives.
    Too many people whither away in places where they feel "stuck" and don't enjoy being.
    I can relate to not becoming immune, but not seeing it as others do. The magnificent scenery (aka giant playground) that is at my doorstep is a fact of life for me. I might get used to it, but I will never take it forgranted.

    I hope that some day I will see the beautiful achitecture - the old and the new - of Europe and the UK. I had hoped to be able to visit last year, but there were so many other things that I needed to do.

    But, I think it is most important is that we are happy where we are - literally and figuratively!


  8. Anne Marie, we're looking forward to it too!

    String, it's changed in that much of the open space we had around us before (still a legacy of the blitz) has now been built on, and we are now totally surrounded by buildings and skyscrapers.

    Anne and Olly, we're looking forward to seeing you too!

    Grace, you're always welcome. You know we'd love to see you too!!

    Dale, you're right, it is important to be happy where you live. We've had our ups and downs in the harbour, but most of that is down to bureaucracy, not the surroundings. I love it...I just don't always like the way it's run.

  9. That is quite an interesting juxtaposition. Such a shame to have old buildings gone...I think modern architecture is so boring.


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