Favorite thing Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk is a Protestant church in Rotterdam. It is the only remnant of the medieval city of Rotterdam.
The church was built between 1449 and 1525. In 1621 a wooden spire was added to the tower, designed by Hendrick de Keyser. Poor quality of its wood caused the spire to be demolished in 1645. A stone cube was added to the tower, which proved too heavy for the foundation in 1650. New piles were driven under the tower and in 1655 the tower stood straight again.
Favorite thing The Groot Handelsgebouw or trade centre was opened in 1953. It was the first post-war building, buillt at the place of the former zoo. It was the biggest post-war building in those days and a landmark in post-war Rotterdam.
The building is at your right hand side when you come out of the Centraal Station. I visited a conference somewhere in the building. It's a convenient location, when coming by train to Rotterdam.
Fondest memory When I stayed in the Westin Hotel many years later, I had a nice total view at the Groot Handelsgebouw from my hotelroom and discovered it has a terrace at its rooftop.
Favorite thing The twenties and thirties of the last century were times of experimentation with new residential forms. The growth of Rotterdam's population (both blue collar and in general) and it's generally dismal housing conditions was a spur to improve the constructionof new housing. Prompted by new insights into social hygiene, the Municipal Housing Authority strove to improve daylighting, air circulation and the working man's intellectual life. Since the new homes had to be attractive-looking as well as efficient and affordable, Rotterdam architects such as J.J.P. Oud and W. van Tijen proffered radical solutions to the housing problem. The traditional pattern of houses ranged alongside a street was replaced by a new one: dwellings grouped into open urban blocks, parallel strips and high-rise blocks. Technical builing requirements, cost-cutting and the desire for a contemporary look in the homes stimulated the use of new builing materials such as concrete, steel and glass. A combination of idealism and cost-saving motivated the provision of communal facilities, such as washrooms and central heating for the dwellings.
- De Kossel
Favorite thing Like the rest of the Netherlands, Rotterdam was preoccupied in 1945 with postwar reconstruction. Following the ideas of modern twon planning, the four functions of the city - living, working, traffic and recreation - were assigned to seperate urban zones. New residential districs sprang up around the margins of the city (e.g. Kleinpolder, Pendrecht, Lombardijen, Alexanderpolder and Ommoord). Old villages in the vicinity, such as Hoogvliet and Capelle aan den IJssel, were simultaneously transformed into large-scale housing developments to accommodate Rotterdam inhabitants moving to the periphery. A point of departure for the design of the new residential areas was an idea which had just arrived from across the Atlantic: the Neighbourhood Concept. Instead of the massive and confused big city, the residents were now quartered in well-defined, orderly districs, each with its own center replete with shops, community spaces and medical facilities. The Neighbourhood Conceptfound its interpretation in the stempel (literally, a 'stamp') or repeating pattern. The stempel consisted of residental blocks of various sizes, intended for different population groups. The blocks, both low-rise and multi-story, were arranged around a communal garden. Each residental area developed its final layout through repetition of the stempel .
Favorite thing The "dark image" of this area of Rotterdam expected to change once the City Hall was built in 1920. 2400 were unappy by this decision since they had to move out of their houses. It took 6 years to complete the building. It is one of the 5 buildings of Rotterdam that survided the bombings of WWII.
Favorite thing The Rotterdam City Hall was build between 1914 and 1920 at the Coolsingel, that at that time still was a canal called Coolvest. The canal was filled to created the wide Coolsingel street.
Professor Henri Evers designed the building that survived the German bombartment of May 14 1940.
Since the 14th Century Rotterdam had a City Hall at the nearby Hoogstraat. That building was extended at 1832, but at the end of the century it became clear a new building had to be build.
Favorite thing Satadhuisplein, with its many bars and pavement cafés, is a popular palce for both locals and visitors to gather. Situated prominently in the middle of the square, Mari Andriessen’s war memorial monument voor de gevallenen’ consists of two men, a woman and a child. Representing the past, present and future.
The resistance monument is tribute to the people of Rotterdam who sacrificed their lives for the liberation of the country during World War 11.
On 15 July 1915, queen Wilhelmina laid the foundation stone for City Hall on Coolsingel, opposite Stadhuisplein. The monumental building has a symmetrical design, constructed around a courtyard, with the main entrance in the middle . The courtyard, laid out as a small park, can be accessed via the street which runs through the middle of City Hall.
Favorite thing Behind Hoogstaart is the Grote of Sint Laurenskerk (St. Laurens Church), named after the patron saint of the city. The building took on its present form in about 1525, but was hit heavily diring the bombing of 14 May 1940. The church was only opened again to the public in 1968.
Feel free to look inside, at the beautiful tombstones and the authentic chancel work.
During the summer months, all sorts of performances are held on the open air stage at Grote Kerkplein square in front of the church.
The Laurens church will be opening a permanent exhibition in 2010 featuring all sorts of interesting facts and stories about the history of the church.