I have lived in Rotterdam since I came to the Netherlands and have grown to love it. It is a true port and its magnificent rivers - both the Old and the New Maas are the two major arteries that supply the lifeblood to Europe's hinterland. The rivers are always busy with cargo traffic, cruise ships and tankers, and Rotterdam's modern architecture soars up and around these veins of the city with almost defiant pride - rather like its people. The thing is, Rotterdam is not actually a big place. True, it has the largest port in Europe, but the city itself only has a population of between six and seven hundred thousand. Small fry for a small place in a small country. It is an exciting city, though. It is lively, pulsating with business activity and an eclectic social mix. It combines old and new in a curiously satisfactory blend, and the Oude Haven, which has been my home all these years, is an almost unique monument to the Dutch waterways - a historical floating village in a modern twenty first century metropolis.
Then, there's Amsterdam - the charming, traditional face of the Netherlands. Arty, learned, decadent, and slightly cynical in its attitude, especially towards Rotterdam. The rivalry between the two cities sometimes reaches ridiculous levels of animosity. Still, I love my visits there. I generally go every couple of months as I teach a course for the university in Amsterdam. It is mostly conducted online but I do go and give the first and last sessions face-to-face. Normally, I take the train from Rotterdam and the metro to the university quarter. Then I walk along the grachten to reach whichever building I'm teaching in. I always enjoy being there. It has a completely different atmosphere and I can almost feel the intellectual level rising as I stroll along the canals. These photos give a glimpse of some of Amsterdam's corners I find particularly appealing.
|Houseboats in Amsterdam
|Traditional Oma bicyle against a traditional Amsterdammer
|Heading towards Terneuzen and the sea
|A side harbour close to Westdorpe
|An every day sight on the canal