Rotterdam’s modernism from past to present

鹿特丹现代主义的昨日今昔

Rotterdam is an important harbor connecting to North Sea. Unfortunately, it was completely destroyed in the World War II and rebuilt totally based on a modernist urban plan after the war. For tourists, if you want to explore the landscape of medieval city, it would not be your best choice definitely. It’s true that Rotterdam’s urban landscape is totally different from other cities in the Netherlands. However, in this city you could discover how it revived from the damages of the war tenaciously and how the architects modernists reinvented this city in the past 70 years.

鹿特丹是连接北海的重要港口。 遗憾的是它在二战中被彻底摧毁,战后按照现代城市规划进行了彻底重建。 对于游客而言,如果你想探索中世纪城市的风景,这里绝对不是你的最佳选择。鹿特丹的城市景观诚然与荷兰其他城市大相径庭。 然而在这座城市,你会体会到它是如何顽强地从战争的破坏中缓步恢复并且目睹现代主义建筑师是如何在过去 70 年里重塑这座城市。

I visited Rotterdam in September 2020 after my trip of windmills in Kinderdijk. This is my first view of the city from the south bank of Nieuwe Maas which is a distributary of the Rhine River, and a former distributary of the Maas River. Rotterdam has the nicknames ‘Gateway to Europe’ because the river Nieuwe Maas connects the North Sea and the heart of Western Europe (like the highly industrialized area Ruhr) directly. Most of the buildings at the riverside are closed aligned skyscrapers. Rotterdam is famous for the excellent urban design and plan. In 2015, it was crowned the best urbanized city in Europe.

在小孩堤防的风车之旅之后,我于 2020 年 9 月游览了鹿特丹。 这是我从新马斯河南岸对这座城市第一眼印象。这里是莱茵河的支流,也是马斯河的一个分流。这条新马斯直接连接北海和西欧的心脏比如高度工业化的鲁尔区故此鹿特丹有“通往欧洲的门户”的绰号。河边的大部分建筑都是紧密排列的摩天大楼。鹿特丹以卓越的城市设计和规划而闻名,2015 年被评为欧洲最佳市政规划城市。

Erasmusbrug 

The icon of city landscape is of course the Erasmus bridge stretching over the river. It is named by the city’s famous scholar Desiderius Erasmus and has a nickname ‘the swan’ due to its elegant shape. The bridge was designed by the Dutch architect Ben van Berkel and completed in 1996. It is a masterpiece of the urban modernism. The most awe-inspiring element is the span of the bridge, totally 802 meters.

鹿特丹的标志景观当属横跨新马斯河的伊拉斯谟大桥。 它由当地著名学者德西德里乌斯·伊拉斯谟(Desiderius Erasmus)命名,因其优雅的造型而有“天鹅”的绰号。 这座桥由荷兰建筑师本·范伯克尔设计,于1996年竣工,是城市现代主义建筑的杰作。 最令人惊叹的是这座桥的跨度,全长802米。

It is a combined cable-stayed and bascule bridge. I walked from the southside of the river to the northside through the bridge enthusiastically. Under my feet, it is the busy water way for thousands of boats passing everyday. It has two platforms for pedestrians to have a rest and overlook the city. I took this picture under the bridge’s blue pylon which is extremely high, up to 139 meters. This single pylon is positioned on southside of the river with a backward lean and supported by 16 pairs of front stay cables and 2 sets of back stay cables.

它是一座斜拉式开合桥。我兴致勃勃地从河的南岸穿过大桥走到北岸。我的脚下便是过尽千帆的繁忙水道。大桥上有两个平台供行人休息和俯瞰整个城市。这张照片是在蓝色桥塔下拍摄的,桥塔很高,高达139米。这座唯一的桥塔位于河的南侧,并向后倾斜,由16对前拉索和2组后拉索支撑。

Maritime District

In the north of the Erasmus bridge, it is the Maritime District of the city. Here the tourists could experience why Rotterdam was the most important harbor in the world. Dutch Republic used to be a maritime superpower in the 16th and 17th century. The Maritime museum that records the origin of Dutch navigation is also located in this district. This ancient brigantine harbored in the Leuvenhaven which is the commercial port nowadays represents the glorious history of this maritime empire who ruled South America (modern Guiana and Brazil), south Africa, west Africa (modern Ghana), and North America (New York) in the 17th century.

在伊拉斯谟大桥的北岸便是是鹿特丹的海事区。 在这里,游客可以感受到鹿特丹缘何是世界上最重要的港口。荷兰共和国曾经是 16 世纪和 17 世纪的海上超级大国。记录荷兰航海渊源的海事博物馆也位于该区。这艘古老的双桅船停泊在如今的鲁汶港展览,它代表着这个17世纪统治南美(圭亚那和巴西)、南非、西非(加纳)和北美洲(纽约)的海上帝国的辉煌历史。

There are numerous boats, cargo ships, and gantry cranes at the pier. You could even get a Water taxi service like taking a bus normally. Overseas trade was always a traditional cornerstone of the Dutch economy. Rotterdam acted as a key role of connecting Netherlands with other parts of the world. From 1962 until 2004, it was the world’s busiest port by annual cargo tonnage. The port stretches over a distance of more than 40 kilometers so when you stood at the pier at the Maritime District and stared at the far west end, you could catch the view of hustle and bustle of those dockworkers under the glow of the setting sun.

这个码头内有众多小船、货船和龙门起重机。游客甚至可以像正常乘坐公共汽车一样获得水上出租车服务。海外贸易一直是荷兰经济的基石。 鹿特丹在连接荷兰与世界其他地区方面发挥了关键作用。从 1962 年到 2004 年,按年货物吨位吞吐计算,它是世界上最繁忙的港口。 整个港口绵延40多公里,站在海事区的码头,向西遥望着远处天边的尽头,夕阳余晖下码头工人络绎不绝。

In Netherlands, when you are free, you could always take your time to stroll along the river banks. The cities and villages in this countries are intersected by numerous canals and rivers. The Maritime District is also a piece of land divided by some artificial water ways. The new port and old port are connected with each other by the water ways. There are different types of boats wandering on the occupied river, barges, dinghies, and fishing boats assembling on this narrow water way. For Rotterdam, the life on water is so busy as well!

在荷兰,空闲之余亦可在河边悠然漫步。这个国家的城市和村庄由许多河道和河流交错相连。海事区也是一块被人工水道分割的土地。新港与旧港之间有水路相通。熙熙攘攘的河流上游荡着各式各样的船只,各种驳船、小艇和渔船皆聚集在这条狭窄的水道上。对鹿特丹居民来说,水上生活也是如此忙碌!

Oude Haven

Although most of the old buildings are destroyed during the war, you could still find traces of past in the Oude Haven, i.e. old port. Many historic ships with stained and spotted hulls were narrating the origin of the city silently. The old port is the place where history and modernity fully unite. The building white glazed bricks at the background is the ‘White House’ built between 1897 and 1898 in the Art Nouveau style. At that time, it was the tallest building in the Netherlands. Also it was the only building remaining in the Oude Haven after the bombardment of German air force. In comparison with the surrounding uniform modernity, it is indeed a unique existence.

尽管大部分老建筑在战争中被毁,但在老港口游客仍然可以追寻昔日的似水年华。许多船体斑驳历史悠久的船只都在默默讲述这座城市的古老历史。老港口也是历史与现代充分融合的地方。背景里这座白色琉璃砖的建筑是建于1897年至1898年间的新艺术风格的鹿特丹白宫。 当时它是荷兰最高的建筑。 它也是老港口德国空军轰炸后唯一剩下的建筑物。与周围一致的现代风格对比,它确实是那独一无二的存在。

The old port is a popular place for locals to meet and have a fun night life. There are so many bars and restaurants here with which the tourists will feel difficult to choose. I was sitting at the terrace of one of the restaurants at the waterside and enjoyed the panoramic view of the port. The ripples under the sunsets and the reflected shadows were so appealing.

旧港口是当地人聚会和享受美好夜生活的绝佳场所。这里遍地酒吧餐馆,游客自然会很难抉择。我此刻坐在水边一家餐厅的露台上,欣赏着港口的全景。 夕阳下的涟漪,倒映的疏影,是如此动人令人回味。

Regentessebrug

Another building surviving in the second world war is this bridge called Regentesse. When you traverse the waterways in the Maritime District, you will notice this bridge which architecture style is obviously different with the surroundings. This bridge made of Granite, cast iron, and sandstone was built in 1898. At that time, Art Nouveau was booming and the architecture style would approach modernism gradually however it still kept some decorative elements of the past. For example, you could easily find the sculpture of a small dolphin on each pillar of the bridge. In addition, the candlesticks invested with copper and the four bronze lions impressed me as well. When I walked on the bridge and touched the historical balustrade, I felt that It was really a miracle that it could withstand the damage of bombs and live until today.

在第二次世界大战中幸存下来的另一座建筑是这座名为 Regentesse 的桥。 当你横穿海事区的水路时,你会注意到这座建筑风格与周围截然不同的桥。这座由花岗岩、铸铁和砂岩制成的桥建于1898年。当时新艺术运动蓬勃发展,建筑风格也逐渐过渡到现代主义,但仍保留了一些历史上的装饰元素。例如你可以一眼发现在桥底的每根柱子上都有一只小海豚的雕塑。另外镀铜的烛台和四只青铜狮子也给我留下了深刻的印象。 桥上凭栏而触,我不由得感叹这座桥能经受住炸弹的破坏坚挺到今日着实是一个奇迹。

Kubuswoningen

Rotterdam’s modernism in architecture could be well reflected by some ‘bizarre’ and creative designs in the city center. When you pass by them occasionally, you will utter an ‘omg’ exclamation definitely. The yellow Cube Houses in the photo are one of the city’s most iconic attractions that impress the tourists all around the world. These cubes designed by architect Piet Blom are tilted 54.7 degrees and are optimized to create the available space. The design represents a village within a city, where each house represents a tree, and all the houses together, a forest. They are still the private houses. If you are really curious of its interior, you may explore the Show Cube Museum.

鹿特丹市中心的一些“奇异古怪”和创造性的建筑设计最能彰显它的现代主义。 当你无意间邂逅它们之时,一定会不由地发出“omg”的感叹。照片中的黄色立方体房屋就是是这座城市最具标志性的景点之一,也给世界各地的游客留下了深刻的印象。 这些由建筑师 Piet Blom 设计的立方体倾斜 54.7 度,并经过优化以创造更多的可用空间。 这种设计代表了城市中的一个村庄,每个房子都象征一棵树,所有的立方体房子汇聚起来就代表了一片森林。它们仍是私人住宅,如果真的对它的内部结构感到好奇,您你可以参观展示立方体的博物馆。

Markthal

Another striking building to be mentioned must be the Markthal or market hall. Look at its ostentatious appearance! It has a shiny steel façade covered with glass that makes it look like a huge mirror. The shape is designed like a tennis racket. You could hardly imagine that this huge building which size is 40 m high, 70 m wide and 120 m long is just a indoor market. It is similar to the San Miguel Market in Madrid but it is really too large with more than 100 stalls selling from fresh bread to delicious cheese, fish, vegetable and poultry and even flowers and plants. Tourists could taste the local foods here and experience the exciting local life.

另一位闪亮登场的建筑当属Markthal 市场大厅。 就看看它那张扬浮夸的外表! 它有一个闪亮的钢制立面,上面覆盖着玻璃,使它看起来像一面巨大的平面镜。它的总体形状设计得像网球拍。你很难想象这座高40米、宽70米、长120米的巨大建筑只是一个室内市场。它类似于马德里的圣米格尔市场,但它确实太庞大了,里面共计有 100 多个摊位,从新鲜面包到美味的奶酪、鱼、蔬菜和家禽,甚至花卉和植物,应有尽有。 游客可以在这里品尝当地美食,体验当地精彩纷呈的生活。

The vaulted interior is covered by a large mural painting, consisting of many small glass mosaics. Its theme is cornucopia which represents a symbol of plenty consisting of a goat’s horn overflowing with flowers, fruit, and corn in the Greek mythology. This modern art work is designed by artists Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam. It shows colorful images of so many foods and fruits alongside flowers and insects. The enlarged images are composed by Pixar software and printed onto perforated aluminum panels.

市场的拱形内部覆盖着一幅巨型壁画,它由许多玻璃小马赛克组成。它的主题就是希腊神话中代表着丰盛象征的开满了鲜花、水果和玉米的山羊的角。这件现代艺术作品由艺术家 Arno Coenen 和 Iris Roskam 设计。它展示了许多色彩缤纷的食物和水果以及鲜花和昆虫的图像。这些放大的图像由 Pixar 软件合成并打印在穿孔铝板上。

Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk 

Although Rotterdam is a modernized city, there are still a few historic buildings in the city center. The Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk is a Protestant church built between 1449 and 1525. It is the only remnant of the medieval city of Rotterdam. It’s close to the market hall, its high tower is easy to be identified. This church is a special symbol of Rotterdam’s history. In the Middle Ages, citizenship of Rotterdam could be purchased by contributing 3000 stones to the construction of the church tower. It also represents the resilience of Rotterdam’s people who rebuilt this city from the rubbles of the second World War.

鹿特丹虽是一座现代化城市,但市中心仍保留有几座历史建筑。 圣劳伦斯克就是一座建于 1449 年至 1525 年之间的新教教堂。它是鹿特丹唯一的中世纪城市遗迹。它靠近市场大厅,代表性的高塔很容易识别。 这座教堂在鹿特丹历史也具有特殊意义。中世纪的居民可以通过捐赠3000块石头建造教堂塔楼来获得鹿特丹的公民身份。同时它也象征了鹿特丹人民从第二次世界大战的废墟中重建这座城市坚强不屈的精神。

Behind the church it is a small square full of dense greenery. Dutch urban plan is really fantastic. Although it’s a populated country with limited land space, I could always find some lawns and trees in every corner of the city. It was a warm afternoon. Many people walked leisurely around this area.

教堂后面是一个小广场,满是茂密的绿色植物。 荷兰的城市规划真是令人赞不绝口。 虽然这是一个人口稠密的国家,土地空间有限,但我总能在城市的每个角落发现一些草坪和树木。 那是一个温暖的下午。 许多人这一带信步闲庭。

In this square I found this bronze statue dedicated to Desiderius Erasmus, the Dutch philosopher who is considered one of the greatest scholars of the northern Renaissance. He lived in the time of European religious Reformation in 16th century and promoted syncretism, involving the merging or assimilation of several originally discrete traditions, especially in the theology and mythology of religion. His most notable work is ‘In Praise of Folly’ which attack on superstitions and on the Western Church satirically. This statue was designed by the Dutch sculptor Hendrick de Keyser in 17th century.

这个广场上还树立了这座纪念德西德里乌斯·伊拉斯谟的青铜雕像。这位荷兰哲学家被认为是北方文艺复兴时期最伟大的学者。 他生活在 16 世纪欧洲宗教改革时期,提倡融合或同化几个原本离散的宗教神学传统的融合主义。 他最著名的作品是“愚人颂”,讽刺地抨击了封建迷信和西方教会。这座雕像由荷兰雕塑家 Hendrick de Keyser 于 17 世纪设计。

Stadhuis Rotterdam

In the city center, another old building surviving the second world war is the city hall of Rotterdam. It was built between 1914 and 1940 as per Queen Wilhelmina’s request. It has a symmetrical design like a French palace and is designed in a Renaissance style that is not the typical style of Dutch city halls. The most impressive part of the building is the 70-meter high tower including a clock, a bell, and an angel of peace at the top. Tourists could enter the court yard through the arch entrance and look at the surroundings.

在市中心,另一座在二战中幸存下来的老建筑是鹿特丹市政厅。 它根据威廉女王的要求建于 1914 年至 1940 年间。它具有法国宫殿般的对称设计并采用文艺复兴风格,与荷兰典型的市政厅设计风格完全不同。这座建筑最令人印象深刻的就是70米高的塔楼,塔顶有一个大钟和一个代表和平的天使。游客可以通过拱门进入庭院参观。

Het park

Close to the city center, I passed by a small piece of park with ornate gardens by the water. Het park is designed in 1852 by Dutch architect Zocher who was inspired by the English country style. There are small small pavilions and BBQ spots here. It’s a perfect place for family having a outdoor party. The park is at the corner of the observation tower Euromast.

在老城区我顺路经过了一个装饰有华丽的花园的水畔公园。这座Het 公园由荷兰建筑师 Zocher 于 1852 年设计,他的灵感来源与英国乡村风格。这里遍布小亭子和烧烤点,适合家庭聚会。 公园位于Euromast观景塔的脚下。

Euromast is a modernism tower with height of 184.6 meters. It used to be the highest building of the Netherlands. Tourists could take lifts to the top of the tower and enjoy the panoramic view of Rotterdam. All the landscapes of row-upon-row skyscrapers, slender Erasmus bridge, scenic Het park, gushing Mass river are within my eyes. Indeed, from aerial view of city’s skyline, all the buildings no matter near or faraway are so modern!

Euromast 是一座高度为 184.6 米现代风格的观景塔。它曾是荷兰最高的建筑。 游客可以乘电梯到塔顶,欣赏鹿特丹的全景。鳞次栉比的摩天大楼、修长的伊拉斯谟大桥、风景秀丽的Het公园、川流不息的马斯河,一切尽在我眼前。 居高临下鸟瞰城市的天际线,所有的建筑无论远近都是如此现代!

Westersingel

I have spent one day in Rotterdam. Before I left the city, I remembered one more charming layout of this city is the canal lined with lawns on each side. The Westersingel is located near the Central Station and it’s a short canal decorated with old trees and vegetations. I could enjoy the view of modernism sculptures along this pretty canal and walk all the way towards the train station. During the second half of the nineteenth century, the city became overpopulated and the environment was unhealthy to live in. The Westersingel canal was dug as part of a water project in order to improve the quality of the surface water in the city. This was an effective way of tackling deadly diseases such as cholera.

我在鹿特丹度过了美好一天。 在临行之际想起这座城市的另一个温馨的城市布局就是两旁种满了草坪的运河。Westersingel运河位于中央火车站附近,是一条用古树和植被装饰的小运河。我沿着这条美丽的运河一路欣赏现代主义雕塑直达火车站。在 19 世纪下半叶,鹿特丹人口过剩,居住环境不佳。为了改善城市地表水的质量,市政府进行了Westersingel 运河的挖掘工作并作为供水项目的一部分。这同时也是应对霍乱等靠脏水传染的致命疾病的有效方法。

Centraal Station

At the end of the Westersingel canal, it’s the central station of Rotterdam under feet of high-rises and it’s the time to say goodbye to this lovely city. Compared with the black-and-white photos taken 100 years ago, all the things, buildings, and landscapes have experienced a total metamorphosis except the big clock on the front façade and the letters ‘Centraal Station’. Indeed, war had inflicted pains and damages on the old city but also gave a rebirth to the vibrant new city. The modern Rotterdam is like a volant phoenix, reviving from burnt ashes.

在 Westersingel 运河的尽头,高楼大厦脚下就是鹿特丹的中央车站,是时候与这座可爱的城市道别了。 与100年前的黑白照片相比,除了正立面的大钟和“中央车站”字样外,所有的事物、背景建筑和景观都发生了彻底的蜕变。战争无疑给这座老城带来了巨大的痛苦和毁灭,但也让充满活力的新城就此重建。现代鹿特丹就像一只展翅欲飞的凤凰,涅槃重生。