Category Archives: Netherlands

Photo Of The Day: Is This A Naughty Gnome?

“Is it an elf or a midget or a dwarf or a gnome? What is that bizarre statue downtown? And is it something permanent, or a temporary installation?”

I asked my friend Amalin these questions when we were in Rotterdam and she said that the huge dwarf statue below had been quite controversial when it was installed at the edge of the shopping district and in direct sight of most of the tram lines as they passed on their way into the city.

Apparently almost €300,000 was spent on this work of art by American artist Paul McCarthy and it has been moved several times due to protests by the angry citizens of Rotterdam. The locals have a very rude name for it which you will discover if you click on the highlighted links above!

Controversial gnome sculpture in Rotterdam, Netherdlands

©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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Rambling Around Rotterdam – Part Three

Note to self — never think that you will be attending any museums in Rotterdam on a Monday because they are ALL CLOSED!!!

Museumless on Monday in Rotterdam

We had a list of museums that we were interested in seeing on our last full day in Rotterdam, but I had failed to note the days and times and absorb the fact that none of them are are open on a Monday!

Ah well — move to the back-up plan — just walk around Rotterdam, take lots of photos, see new parts of the cities.

We walked into the shopping precinct, had a quick lunch, and then caught a bus across a bridge and over onto a small island. And as we walked, we passed some of the things that you see below. Click on any of the smaller ones and they will enlarge quite nicely!

Old BMV with sidecar parked at the docks in Rotterdam

Looking back towards Rotterdam

Is white REALLY the new black???

Touring Rotterdam with a By Cycle tour

Orange Citroen at a French wine tasting in Rotterdam

Straw-clad bicycle in a Rotterdam courtyard

Finally, in a charming affirmation of their multicultural citizenship of Rotterdam, even the mannequins of infants in a children’s store come in every shade of the rainbow.

And as the icing on the cake, doesn’t your special little Princess or Prince need a made-in-Italy by Piaggio electric version of a Vespa???

Multicultural infant mannequins in Rotterdam window

Multicultural infant mannequins in Rotterdam window

Italian electric version of a Vespa for children

Come back soon for more on-the-road adventures!

©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the text and photos on this page. All rights are reserved.

Rambling Around Rotterdam – Part Two

Asking our friend Amalin what the citizens of Rotterdam did on a Sunday afternoon produced an instant response. “They go shopping!” And she certainly wasn’t kidding! Out the door we went, constantly remarking about how visually tantalising everything seemed.

Red tulips and a black cycle

We made our way to the tram after a leisurely brunch, headed into the shopping precinct, and were simply astonished at how clogged the sidewalks and shops were with people. But the area is quite attractive architecturally, there are plenty of places to stop and eat or get a coffee, and there was a happy vibe amongst the people who were out and about in the sunshine.

There are boutique-small and department-store-large places to shop for block after block. One section is a deep slash in the street which leads down to even more shops. The Dutch have a marvelous sense of humour about this particular district. They refer to it as “shopping in the buying gutter.” If you click on the picture, it enlarges so you can see more of the detail. Click again and you will see just how many people are milling around on that upper level!

Rotterdam shopping on a Sunday afternoon

Close-up of flashing tram sign

Flashing signs at tram crossing

The tram system here is utterly delightful and seems to get you just about everywhere you want to go. But you must be aware as you are crossing the tracks that the trams can be ultra-quiet and it would be far too easy to step out in front of one. For that reason, there is a tram crossing sign at the intersections of streets that makes a ding-ding-ding sound to draw your attention and there is also a flashing sign at the corner with a tiny little tram symbol in it. Wonderful!

We have seen no traffic congestion here at any time of day or night. I believe that this directly relates to the availability of public transportation throughout Rotterdam via tram, train, or metro. And there are quite a lot of people who ride their bicycles everywhere! There are dedicated bike lanes, some which also allow motor scooter traffic, and it keeps the number of cars on the road at a minimum compared to most other metropolitan European cities.

And to mention the Dutch sense of humour for a second time, I know of no other place that would have a bronze piece of sculpture in a public street that was an ‘homage’ to a dog and his poo!

Special lane only for bikes and scooters

Dog and poo sculpture

Come back tomorrow and I’ll have Part Three of Rambling Around Rotterdam with lots more pictures!

©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the text and photos on this page. All rights reserved.

Rambling Around Rotterdam – Part One

The ship slid quietly through the dark night. There was no rocking or swaying to cause distress in the form of seasickness, but I still had very little sleep. Arriving in Rotterdam for a long weekend, I was excited about being in a new city but subdued from fatigue.

We are staying in a very diverse and attractive neighbourhood on the western-central side of Rotterdam called Coolhaven. It is so conveniently located that we can be in the heart of the city in 10 minutes on the #4 tram.

Cafe in Rotterdam on a Spring day

Day One saw us sitting in a sidewalk cafe/bar, drinking dark beer, and doing a lot of people watching after a brief ramble around town. We chuckled aloud when we saw these racing grannies on motorized carts who went zooming by whilst carrying on a very animated conversation.

Zooming Grannies on a Rotterdam street

Apartment living, whether owned or rented, seems to be the norm here. But there are lovely green spaces that punctuate the city and give you a respite from the acres and acres of bricks and concrete. The one in the picture below is only 3 blocks from the apartment where we are staying in the Coolhaven district with our lovely friend Amalin.

Green park in Coolhaven district of Rotterdam

Tomorrow’s post will show how the typical Rotterdam citizen spends their Sunday. So check back again!

©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the text and photos on this page. All rights reserved.