Rotterdam is not an open-air museum like other cities. You come for a purpose; you don’t come just for a stroll. It would be nice if there were more possibilities where people could visit for no reason and stay longer because of all unexpected occurrences.

1. How do you describe Rotterdam to people in other countries? What are the qualities of the city? Why are they so good?

Rotterdam is the biggest harbour of Europe. It’s a city with 169 different nationalities. It’s a difficult city, one you have to discover. But once you found your way, you’ll love it!

2. What are the bad points of the city? Why are they so bad?

I suppose the difficulty to find your way as well. Rotterdam is not an open-air museum like other cities. You come for a purpose; you don’t come just for a stroll. It would be nice if there were more possibilities where people could visit for no reason and stay longer because of all unexpected occurrences.

3. What is the importance of culture for Rotterdam? Why?

What’s culture? Culture can be the happiness of knowing your neighbours, but also the anonymity of a big city. For me an important reason to feel at home, are the accidental meetings with people you know. It gives Rotterdam the attitude of a small village, even though it’s not.

4. What metaphor, quote, painting, filmscene or building best describes the relationship between Rotterdam and culture?

Jackie Chan’s movie “Who am I?”, which was filmed in Rotterdam. Excitement, never a dull moment!

5. What’s the best thing that happened in Rotterdam in the last 12 months? Why?

Well maybe not for the last 12 months, but one of the best things was the 3rd Michelin Star for Parkheuvel in Rotterdam. And this year a new 1st Michelin Star for a recently opened restaurant, Amarone, at the Meent. It states that it’s happening in Rotterdam. We appreciate the wining and dining, and the quality of it is fine, more than fine.

6. What’s the biggest challenge the city has to face the coming decades?

The new Central Station, the connection with the high speed railway to Paris. The new station, the entrance, will give the first impression of Rotterdam. Before, people got lost because they didn’t know where to go after the railways. Hopefully the new station will lead the way…..

7. What idea, person, thing or event do you think will be influential in Rotterdam in the coming years?

The Rotterdam Climate Initiative. If Rotterdam wants to improve “the climate for the benefit of people, the environment, and the economy” it will mean something for how to handle traffic, urban planning, for choosing sustainable materials.

8. Where will you bring someone who asks you: show me the soul of Rotterdam!?

When I want to show the soul of Rotterdam I’ll bring people to the river Maas and its bridges. Walking over the Willemsbrug, with a view at the Erasmusbrug, bringing North and South together. And finish at Hotel New York (the former Holland-America-Line) for a high tea!

Sandra Kruin, dec 2007

Rotterdam week 2007

This article is part of Inspiring Cities Rotterdam week 2007. More about the event  here.if (document.currentScript) {