From the previous tip, we are on the same square behind the mosque, where we see a blue door (photo 1) where Turkish young people have a club. Next to it is a Turkish grocery shop (photo 2) where I bought some great big juicy dates. Photo 3 and 4 show the Dutch-Turkish Cultural Center Kocatepe.
Back on Martinus Steynstraat, we suddenly spot some nice graffiti with Rotterdam highlights (photo 5).
This old bath house on the Martinus Steynstraat (photo 1) hides a Turkish mosque. You can just see the top of it on photo 2. It also houses the educative center of the bird hospice that I talked about in an earlier tip.
You really get a close feel of Turkey which you wouldn't imagine from the outside. The gate has a sign in Dutch and Turkish saying Motorlu Tasiktar Girimez or Prohibited for motorised vehicles. Behind the entrance is not only a mosque but also shops, a hairdresser and restaurant.
Halfway Riebeeckstraat there is a 'Vogelklas' (bird school). Initially set up for school children but they come less and less. It's sort of a bird hospice. If a sick bird is found, it can be left here in one of the boxes (photo 3) and then it is taken care of. The foreign children don't really care much for birds. Sometimes they catapult one out of a tree and then bring it to the hospice!
Photo 4 is a tiny botanical garden. Photo 2 is the entrance. It was closed but we could see it well through the wiring.
Photo 1 shows that Christiaan de Wetstraat still kept the old houses. I hope they stay. So much of the old neighbourhood is renovated. Which is a good thing. People deserve to live in good houses. But the atmosphere is different. On one of the modern flats (photo 4) I made photo 2. Seven out of ten of the names are foreign. That's quite exemplary of the people that live in the neighbourhood 'Afrikaanderwijk'. Photo 3 shows the entrance sign to a large childrens playground, right in the heart of the neighbourhood, the Afrikaanderplein (plein=square).
Like many streets in the neighbourhood, one side is old and the other side is modern. On the corner (no photo) is a Morrocan club. The club board consisted of four men, all family. But they belonged to different tribe than the members. So there was trouble when the subsidy money came. How was it going to be spent? They didn't trust each other.
Photo 1 and 2 show the boxing school that is run by a Dutch couple since 1982. The gold medalist Bep van Klaveren (featherweight, Olympics 1928) used to frequent it too. Just to look, I suppose. He must've been an old man by then.
The other side of the street still have old houses (photos 3-5). With those typical curtains and very clean windows. I saw lots of window cleaning during our walk here!
This was a Morrocan snackbar for years. When it was taken over from the Dutch owners, they kept the name 'Jan & Jan'. Now it is owned by a Turkish guy and he renamed it 'Kent'. The coffee is quite cheap (1,25 euro). Now what is a Kapsalon?! It means Hairdresser's Parlour. But it isn't it's edible. Shoarma and fries with salad and sauce all in one. A famous Rotterdam snack (meal, more like!) that became popular throughout The Netherlands.
This is the Paul Krugerstraat, where we saw some street cleaners in their orange coats (photo 1). They were just passing the coffeeshop (photo 2). The swimming pool is in photo 3. There are swimming children images in blue on the outside. The local Morroccans and Turks have a bit different swimming attitude. Some of the boys don't shower naked. Not all of the girls like swimming either.
Not sure why they kept the old house in photo 4. It stands in the middle of a field, sown with wild flowers and sunflowers. It looks very nice! They put picnic tables there as well (photo 5). A good place to sit down and listen to some more files on the audiotour.
Cafe Bloemfontein is the next stop. A local pub with a kind landlady. We talked about her experience with the new smoking rule. I asked her if there were any downsides. Not really, she said. The smoking smells had gone, but she renovated every 3 years anyway. The only thing she didn't like is when the bar was full and one guest would go out to smoke outside. Then the rest would follow and the bar would be empty.
We were watching the police and noted that someone was being arrested. One of the guests remarked: hey, is that so-and so? Why is he arrested? It can't be about anything!
If you look up (photo 3), you see the busts of famous Afrikaners. Dutch men that made it great in South Africa, like Botha, Paul Kruger, Cronjé, Joubert. If we should be proud of that, remains a discussion. In any case, their names are now street names in this Afrikaanderwijk.
Opposite the pub is the modern library where you can start the audiotour if you reserved a PDA with GPS. We were making do with an MP3 player which was fine (and free!).
The building in photo 1 is a school for school drop outs (yes, a contrast in terms!). It is genially called Back 2 Your Future. The Bothastraat (photos 2-5) used to be known for the street gang the Botha Brothers. There used to be street gangs for Morrocans, Turks and Surinamese. They didn't really fight but you had to look over your shoulder... These days the youngster organise football games or meet each other in nightlife places. Much better, no?
The poster in photo 4 pleads for cheaper house rents. Photo 5 is a photo of Bothastraat 157. A Dutch couple used to live there. They had barricaded their house with extra locks and cameras. Obviously they could not understand their foreign street neighbours and vice versa. In the end the couple moved to another part of the country.
The walk started for us at the Brede Hilledijk where one finds a children's playground (photo 1) and a recycling shop (photos 2 and 3), a wonderful browsing place of household cast offs which you can buy for next to nothing. An odd business on the corner of Cronjéstraat: a church organ builder (photos 4 and 5).
Farid tells us that there is a sign there on the Brede Hilledijk, which forbids gatherings. However, the sign is never there. It is constantly stolen by the Morroccan youngster that... you've guessed... gather here all the time!
An off the beaten path interactive audio tour for people that understand Dutch. The website lets you download a map and about 200 small MP3 files that explain everything about the downtown neighbourhood Afrikaanderwijk. Known for it's multicultural population, recent renovations, the interaction between people from Turkey, Morocco, Cape Verde.... discover hidden mosques for the Turks or the Pakistani, a Hindu temple. Discover city life and the complexities of such a neighbourhood, what the city government offers, and much more. The audio tour is hosted by Farid Boukakar, a Moroccan guy who grew up in the neighbourhood.
Have a look here for an interactive map.
You can also walk the route with a handheld PDA with GPS. For that you need to contact Rotterdam Roots, ticket information below, on working days between 9-17.30 hrs.
The starting point is the library at Afrikaanderwijk, address: Bibliotheek Afrikaanderwijk, Paul Krugerstraat 61, Rotterdam (see photo 4). Daily, except Sundays, Tuesdays and 25/26 December.
I walked the free version with an MP3 player, which took about 3 hours and had great fun.
Enjoy the following tips.
In most countries, you can find two cities with a very strong rivalry and in the Netherlands it is Rotterdam vs. Amsterdam. The rivalry has many faces, beginning with the local Football clubs (Feyenoord Rotterdam and Ajax Amsterdam). The most famous short description about the Netherlands (Rotterdam earns the money, Den Haag admnistrates it, and Amsterdam spends it all…) gives you a small hint what this all is about: The hard-working city on the Nieuwe Maas versus the hedonists at the Amstel. Something quite interesting in this rivalry is that the dutchies use to call their city by their dialing code. So, something with a 010 label on it is surely associated with Rotterdam while 020 stands for Amsterdam. But in the end, its nothing you should take really serious. Just don’t show up with an Ajax shirt if you want to visit a Feyenoord game…
The fast food snack called 'Kapsalon' is a new Rotterdam invention. A Rotterdam-West invention, in fact. It started in shoarma shop, and it was invented by a Capeverdian guy called Tati. He's a hairdresser. Every day he would order a shoarma and fries in one container, from the next door shoarma shop (El Aviva in Delfshaven, Rotterdam) . This order became known as 'kapsalon'.
Now, what is it?
It's takeaway fast food: fries with shoarma meat on top and cheese. Then a whole load of garlic sauce and sambal (chili sauce). Then into the oven and finally lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber are added on top.
The snack has become popular with the young people that enjoy Rotterdam nightlife. Before going home they will order this snack against the almost certain hangover that they'll have the next morning.
Popularity has spread over the whole country. All over customers are begging their local shoarma joints to start selling 'kapsalon'. There's even a kapsalon group on Hyves, the Dutch online community.
Finally I understand what the sign means, outside our local shoarma shop around the corner. We already have 'kapsalon' in my hometown Brielle!
The name of Coolsingel already has been heard in 1280 (is told), derived of the name of COOL. In those early days it used to be a poor area of the neighbourhood named COOL, when there still was a canal, a windmill and prostitution ...
For now the Coolsingel is the central traffic artery of Rotterdam's centre, going to the Hofplein and the Blaak. Ofcourse you cannot miss this boulevard for its many shops.
The Coolsingel is the place, too, where all Rotterdam people come together for their local customs, like the celebation of a winning Feyenoord during Championships ... and to see the famous stars from all over the world at the Stadhuis.
Some great events start here, too; the famous Marathon of Rotterdam, the Dance Party Show and Summer Carnival, all amazing to be part of!
And come here when the weather is nice ... and you'll see a lot of movement.
The well-known Rotterdam man Bram Ladage started in 1967 on the market in Rotterdam. His fresh french fried potatoes got famous all over, and both Rotterdam people and people out of town specially came to the market of Rotterdam for the fresh Bram's French Fried Potatoes.
So the succes-story tells Bram grew big and today Bram owns 26 branches with his French Fries in the South and West of Holland. He just celebrated his 40th birthday this year 2007. You can find him in Rotterdam at >>>
Binnenwegplein 24 - Hoogstraat 172a - Kruisplein 155 - Noordmolenstraat 50c - Zuidplein laag - Beijerlandselaan 149 - Keizerswaard 68
And we still love to get a "zakje patat",... the Dutch translation for ... ... ...
french fries potatoes