Frans and Marja de Boer Lichtveld, 1985

Beeldenroute Westersingel

Suddenly the unusually long and warm summer is over. The days are shortening, the nights are chilly, and the rain is back to stay. It is time to check over the heating system for the flat, to bring out the woollens and the Goretex, and to look for things to do indoors. But before I…

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Celebrate Japan: Shonen Knife

They’ve toured with Nirvana, recorded with John Peel, and in 1989, twenty-two alt rock bands on the American scene covered their songs on the tribute album Every Band Has a Shonen Knife Who Loves Them. The band’s been rocking for 32 years and judging by the show they put on to kick off the Camera…

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Pleinbioscoop

In the second half of August, the Museumplein, the large empty square between the Boijmans Art Museum and the Erasmus Medical Centre, is turned into an open air cinema. The 2013 Pleinbioscoop closed tonight and I decided to brave the relatively cool evening to check it out at last. Since I’d already seen tonight’s film…

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Sculpture: Ongebroken Verzet

Much less celebrated than Zadkine’s De Verwoeste Stad, Ongebroken Verzet (Unbroken Resistance), another war memorial, stands so very quiet and unnoticed at Kruisplein, minutes from Rotterdam Central Station. Admittedly, the area does not invite you to linger. It has been a huge construction site since 2008 when the old station building was torn down, all…

Where is everybody?

Summer in the city

Rotterdam is in the middle of its first heatwave in seven years. In case you’re wondering what that means, the definition of a Dutch heatwave is five successive days with temperatures over 25 Celsius at the De Bilt weather station near Hilversum, or when at least three days are over 30 Celsius. I stepped out…

De Verwoeste Stad

Sculpture: De Verwoeste Stad

The Luftwaffe bombardment of Rotterdam on May 14, 1940 has long defined the contemporary city. That afternoon, in the space of ten minutes, old Rotterdam was devastated in a raid that killed 850 people and destroyed 25,000 homes and 11,000 other buildings. Many of these buildings had escaped a direct hit, but were lost to…

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Hoek van Holland

It takes about 30 minutes to travel by train from the centre of Rotterdam to the beach at Hoek van Holland. It’s not a trip I make very often… as a matter of fact, today was the first visit there since moving to Rotterdam! As usual, there was a strong wind coming off the sea…

Mermaids collection (Spring/summer 2008)

Kunsthal: L’Enfant Terrible

One day in January, on a walk in the park by the river, I was puzzled to find tree trunks wrapped in blue and white striped canvas. Then the stripes appeared on the Euromast tower, on flags, on banners, on posters, even wrapping the ears of the large bronze rabbits on the lawn outside the…

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Pushwagner

On a cold Sunday in late February, I took shelter from the snow and wind at the café at the Boijmans van Beuningen Art Museum. The annex where the café is situated has large picture windows on three sides with a good view of the museum park and I fancied sitting there with a large…

Rembrandt’s Night Watch – The Flashmob Version

Another bank, another flashmob, and again, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy… Is this a pattern emerging? This time, ING sponsors a celebration of the much-delayed, long-awaited opening of the renovated Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. After ten years of work, the museum will be officially opened by Queen Beatrix on April 13, 2013. (If I were superstitious, I…

Boubacar Traoré

Two men in sharp suits have crossed my path this March. At one end of the scale, there was Hariton Pushwagner, but more of him later… At the other end, there was Boubacar Traoré from Mali who came to Lantaren Venster, our stylish independent cinema, concert and event space here in Rotterdam to play on a…

Celebrate Japan: Perfectionism

My ambitions for this blog are modest. As a matter of fact, for the past six months, they have narrowed to writing and publishing one post a month. Consequently, I have roughly forty minutes to write my entry for February 2013. Nearly two years ago, on March 11, 2011, when the coastal areas of northeastern…

North Korea on My Mind

Comrade Kim Goes Flying is the story of a young coal miner who dreams of becoming a trapeze artist with the circus. The story follows her from the coal mine in the picturesque countryside, to the city where she fails to make the grade for the circus. Resigned to giving up her dream, she goes…

Good Vibrations in Maastricht

In Maastricht, the first weekend of 2013 was damp, foggy and mild, but the city shone. Maastricht wrapped in soft gray fog and glistening with drizzle may not sound like the stuff of an appealing weekend, but these were the last few days of the Christmas period and the city was beautifully lit. The cafés…

Best of 2012: How Long Is Now

As the year draws to a close, I have decided to join the throngs of writers, bloggers, journalists and social media types in the inevitable look back at the past year. (A case of if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em?) So, I’ve reviewed in my mind the events and shows I have had the…

Flashmob of the Year

So, it was organized by Banco Sabadell to celebrate its 130th anniversary, but I still nominate this as the flashmob of the year because of the audience reaction. Obviously, they knew something would happen, but the smiles, puzzled faces, surprised looks and excited kids suggests the specifics were a surprise. Maybe Beethoven belongs in the…

A Teaser…

I like the trams here in Rotterdam, but they’re not always this much fun! How Long Is Now is the latest work by Conny Janssen Danst and this was a live promotion on tram 25 to Schiebroek earlier this autumn. More soon…

Celebrate Japan: Sakamoto Kyu

As Korean rapper PSY storms up the charts with tongue-in-cheek, crazy and infectious Gangnam Style, it’s time to remember another Asian singer who broke into the big time. So, we rewind nearly 50 years to June 1963 when a song called Sukiyaki swept the charts in the United States. Japanese food has also swept the…