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The Sched:
Amsterdam I
Amsterdam II
Rotterdam I
Rotterdam II
Paris I
Paris II
Paris III
London I
London II

Here is Rotterdam II...

Entrance to the Blaak intermodal transit station. Trams run above groud, the metro runs underground and national rail services run even deeper underground.

Want to catch the 13:58 to The Hague?

Entrance to the metro portion of the station.

The station was designed in such a way that daylight can reach even the deepest platform. Take that Montreal!

More residential towers are comming soon. The "Red Apple" will rise here over the next few months.

The Willemsbrug.

The Willemswerf was completed in 1989 and measures 88m. Jackie Chan slides down this slope in the movie Who Am I.

The Erasmusbridge is considered the signature of the city. Behind it, the Montevideo residential tower can be seen to the left, and the World Port Centre to the right. Keep in mind that Rotterdam has Europe's largest port!

The 'Toren op Zuid' (a KPN Telecom building, right behind the island in the centre of this picture) was completed in 2000 and is 96m tall. That's the River Maas in the foreground. Also, I must say that while the waterfront architecture certainly kills almost anyhting we have in T.O., I'd actually argue that our central waterfront is slightly nicer and better used. Believe it or not, Toronto seems to have gotten the smaller things better!

The new Golden Tulip Hotel. They are actually still finishing construction on this building which has perfect views of the Erasmus Bridge.

A WWII monument by the waterfront.

The Erasmus bridge is also called 'the Swan' by locals, because of its graceful posture over the water. In the background, the Toren op Zuid can be seen.

More of the Golden Tulip Hotel.

A new waterfront residential development.

In typical Dutch style, all modes of transport are separated on the Erasmus Bridge. Trams, cars, bikes and pedestrians each have their own right-of-ways.

New and old trams on the Erasmus Bridge.

Waterfront skyscrapers; a mix of residential and office towers.

Looking up the Erasmus Bridge. It is 139m tall and was opened in 1996.

The Toren op Zuid ("Tower on the South" if you want to literally translate it) was completed in 2000.

This was supposed to be Europe's biggest TV screen, but that proved too expensive. Now they just have these 896 green dots that light up. Still pretty darn cool though!

Looking up the foreward-leaning Toren op Zuid.

The building to the left is the Court of Justice. To the right, above the metro entrance, the the new Luxor Theatre.

Underground walkway in the Wilhelminaplein metro station.

Wilhelminaplein metro (cont.)

This square is surrounded by buildings that are part of the Court of Justice complex.

Car entrance to the court's underground parking garage.

The court's multi-storey parking garage. Too bad all parking lots don't look this good!

The Court of Justice complex (cont.)

Myself and Ronald inside the courtyard. In the background, another entrance to metro can be seen.

Inside the courtyard's art installation.

Wilhelmina Station. Money, nor effort was spared when this station was built.

The platforms are actually on an incline. Very strange effect while waiting for the train to arrive.

More from the Wilhelminaplein station.

A train rolls into Wilhelminaplein.

The 'Witte de With' Tower near the Euromast. Urban renewal is totally changing this part of town.

New residential developments near the port.

The new Rotterdam Shipping & Transport College. This type of architecture seems to have gained ground here recently.

More of the college (which had just opened upon our visit).

Shipping & Transport College (cont.)

One of the main lecture halls overlooks part of the port.

There was no security so we decided to keep walking up the stairs to see if we could get to the roof of the school.

Escalators inside the 14-storey college.

Many flights of stairs, a few escalators and an elevator ride later, we made it to the top! The Witte de With tower can be seen in the middle of the picture. In the upper right, both the Nationale Nederlanden and the Millennium Tower can be seen.

The Euromast.

Skyscrapers on the southern bank: Toren op Zuid (left), Norman Foster's World Port Centre (middle) and Montevideo, a residential tower (right).

More of the city's skyline.

Ronald setting-up the perfect shot.

Myself, taking it all in. Note, in the bottom of this pic, cleared ground can be seen. More residences and a park will be built here soon.

More new development on the way! Note how the old facade is being preserved. Also note how there's construction...everywhere! In that sense, Rotterdam felt a lot like T.O.

Between the two skyscrapers, Hotel New York can be seen. This is where thousands of Dutch immigrants boarded huge ships, headed for North America, early last century.

Skyscrapers, cranes, new housing and the Euromast.

Skylines of Delft (pop. 95000, 12 km from Rotterdam) and The Hague (pop. 450000, 21km from Rotterdam) can be seen from the top of the college. Keep in mind that Holland is the world's second most dense country.

After all that walking it was time for some Pannekoeken and beer! Pancakes are the undisputed king of Dutch food.

Dutch pancakes are sort of like French crepes, only thicker and fatter.

Garbage cans in Rotterdam have no advertising. And yes, "Afval" means trash, not the name of some company.

The central post office.

The Post Office, along with City Hall, is one of the very few survivors of WWII.

Standing above the platform at City Hall metro station, watching trains passing underneath us. Speaking of, it's time to catch the 17:20 back to Amsterdam!

And that my friends was a whirlwind day in Rotterdam. Stay tuned for Paris and London!
Dan, your photos made me remember in vivid technicolor why I love Holland so much.

Ronald, I am going to be in Holland in a few weeks and I am looking for some insider tips on cheap places to stay and also really good places to visit, eat, etc. If you have any suggestions for Rotterdam, Eindhoven and Breda then that would be great.
Those are some great pics, they portray the central area of the city very well.
That underground walkway also is a part of the Wilhelminaplein metrostation, Pernis is a small residential settlement somewhere in the harbour, to the SW of the city centre.

As Rotterdam's port will continue to grow, more land will be claimed from the Northsea. The port will kind of develop into the sea. This frees up space in the inner city, where harbour-related industrial sites are being cleared and where new residences and commercial buildings can rise. The college, but also the World Port Center, and the Toren op Zuid are all examples of this kind of brand new development.

Antiloop33rpm, let me get back to you on that info.
I'll ask a good friend of mine from Breda about this when I see him monday.
I can tell you though, that Breda is a fine town, I even considered moving there recently. I wanted to go study Urban Design there, but they have no capacity to absorb more students (interrest in studying Urban Design is pretty high these days). Too bad, I'll just continue my Planning/ Urban Geography programme in Utrecht then.

PS: Now you've seen it people, Rotterdam beats Amsterdam by a million miles if you ask me! 8)
That underground walkway also is a part of the Wilhelminaplein metrostation, Pernis is a small residential settlement somewhere in the harbour, to the SW of the city centre.
Woops! I'm fixing that now.
Antiloop, you got an email adress? I've looked up some info on those cities for ya.
Euro Adventure: Rotterdam II

daylight can reach even the deepest platform. Take that Montreal!
You mean, take that Toronto! :) Montreal at least makes the effort.

Thanks for the good pictures!
Re: Euro Adventure: Rotterdam II

Makes an effort to do what? At least Toronto's stations aren't 10 km underground like Montreal's. C'est un royale pain dans l'ass.
Re: Euro Adventure: Rotterdam II

I have to that Rotterdam, in person, has really been a fantastic experience. The city is much more modern, and grittier, than Amsterdam, but still has a very Dutch feeling to it. The one thing that I really like about Rotterdam is that it does not turn its back on its maritime roots. Ships are everywhere and never hidden from the public with efforts made to integrate them into the urban landscape. And the modern architecture of the city is really quite wonderful. The beuty of the box is very evident when you walk around.

The city is also a much more refreshing, and interesting experience than Amsterdam in terms of culture and people. Amsterdam is very much classical and refined in its architecture and its way of life (in the areas that are not infected with the disease that is excessive tourists). Rotterdam, on the other hand, is very hip, modern. Design is everywhere from fashion forward Dutchies to food, interior and exterior spaces. And to add to its appeal, it is also much more affordable to visit than Amsterdam where I felt like everywhere I went prices where being raised just to spite the tourists.

Amsterdam is still a wonderful city, and for anyone visiting I would suggest just turning your back to the tourists and heading away from the center where there are some incredible neighborhoods and architecture to explore. But I would also say that to offer a perfect counterpoint a visit to Rotterdam (and Den Haag which is also a city that is starting to embrace modernism and a different experience unto itself) is a must.

And as Ronald pointed out in another post, it seems the further south you go in Holland, the friendlier, and more beautiful, the girls seem to get.

And also thank you to Ronald for his hospitality in giving me a tour of some of the more modern, and very interesting, parts of Den Haag. One day when I am not so lazy I will post those, and the rest of my photos from my trip to Holland.

Edit: It is also worth adding that I made it to the exhibition at the NAI and it was easily one of the most interesting exhibitions I have ever seen (on par with Montreal Thinks Big). There were actually three sections. The first was urban spaces as created by photography. The second was 5 case studies of planned neighborhoods and cities in Holland from 1847 to the present day (very fascinating). The third was on "In Between Spaces", not rural, not urban, but somewhere in a mediocre void. The concept is somewhat unique to Dutch culture due to its small land and spatial planning but a very interesting exhibit with some interesting new ways of viewing land at the edge of cities whos functions are somewhat unknown or dodgey.
Re: Euro Adventure: Rotterdam II

I'm very glad that you enjoyed your time in Rotterdam and that you appreciated the city.
Did you take in the Public Library on the Market Square? Perhaps you could have seen me, I spent 3 whole days studying there this and last week. The entire 6th floor is a study facility for students (the view can be a distraction though ;) ).
I need to go to that expo aswell. I am very anxious to see it, hopefully it can be an inspiration for me as I plan to do lots of photography in the future (I can't wait to get myself a new cam).
Re: Euro Adventure: Rotterdam II

But why does all this contemporary Rotterdam architecture look so different from our contemporary architecture?

Is it a cultural thing with Rotterdam - they always go for modes of expression that are kinda "out there"? Or is it somehow a product of their recent history and having to rebuild their city? Or does their city government mandate such buildings as a way of creating an impresion at the international level? ... Or what?
Re: Euro Adventure: Rotterdam II


In terms of architecture and urban planning in all of Holland there is really one factor which has resulted in the distinct Dutch style of architecture. Space.

In Canada, the idea that city growth could be limited be natural, geographical constraints is rarely considered. Canadian cities, for the most part, have very limitations on how far they grow in a country that is so huge, vast, and unused.

Holland is very much the polar opposite. There are 16 million people in a geographically small country that has what amounts to no space for its cities expand. But because the country is still seeing population growth and still needs to build new dwellings and buildings it must do so with efficient use of space as a high, if not the highest, priority.

Whether it is the layout of an apartment or the layout of streets and buildings, using each available square meter as efficeintly as possible is very important. Because of these requirements from architects and planners, most work is done by those trained in Dutch schools and those firms working in the Netherlands who fully understand these needs. Since all the work is so internalized within Holland, it has ment that the country developed, and has retained, its own unique architectural and urban planning styles.

In the case of Rotterdam, there seem to be two aspects at play. The first is the influence of both the central and city government. I am not familar enough the exact role of responsibilities of each government but I believe in general it is the central government agencies that dictate regions and cities it would like to target for growth while cities are responsible for what form that growth will take. In the case of Rotterdam after the war, its approach was big, bold and took many cues from the emmerging "international" cities. If you explore Dtuch cities and in particular the neighborhoods and places built after WW2 you can see that while they have many common elements each has the freedom to develop its own specific design vocabulary and decide on what form and approach they would like to take. Afterall, if you have to develop such dense cities, why hot have fun doing it?

The second aspect is tied to the cultural of Rotterdam itself. In some respects, Rotterdam is Hollands 'gritty' industrial city. The Port and maritime culture play a huge role in the city. And because the war did leave the city in such bad shape, it is a place with nothing to lose. It is the kind of city that attracts young architects, planners, designers, artists, and musicians. Because the city as a whole has developed into a very vibrant, youthful atmosphere, and because of the amount reconstruction and the importance that the governments place on design, it has become the city in Holland for progressive architecture.

So to sum up your question, I would say that Rotterdam look the way it does because it is Dutch, because design is considered important by governments and due to natural circumstances, and because of the vibrant culture that has emmerged in the city. That is has become a place known internationally for its architecture is really just the result of what happened when creative Dutch people were allowed to have fun with a city.
Re: Euro Adventure: Rotterdam II

Antiloop, your description of the Dutch situation is very accurate. I would assume that you live here!
The national government sets out planning guidelines-- general ideas about how growth should occur.
The provincial government translates these goals to regional policies.
The local city government, in turn, translates these regional goals to local goals.
Anyway, there are tons of laws and regulations, so many that in fact, planners here are saying that planning in Holland has become madness.
In a small country, then again, with so many people, rules are necessary to prevent unsustainable situations.
What is remarkable, if you ask me, is that the local government has the final say about what is going to be realized and what not. Planners can give them their advice, but in the end, they will do whatever they think is best. Hence why there still is much sprawl between The Hague and Rotterdam.
Also, there isn't a lot of population growth in Holland at the moment. We are having the lowest growth numbers in decades this year. Tens of thousands of people are emigrating from this country. We have a negative net migration rate (mostly young people emigrate). Add to this a very low birth rate, and you have a country full of old people in a decade.
The fact that people are more and more living in smaller households, makes for an increasing need of housing. Also, for every new development in Rotterdam, an older area gets demolished.
And of course, the 16m people already here have a heavy effect on the use of space like you said.