Rotterdam, The Netherlands

RO: Ei bine, dintre toate orasele olandeze, e unul singur, numai unu’, care nu prea are nici in clin, nici in maneca, cu Olanda aia autentica. Pai ce sa caute in tinutul morilor de vant, canalelor si caselor colorate, vechi de cand lumea si Pamantul, o mare de cladiri de birouri si un skyline ce se vrea a fi competitorul… Hong Kong-ului! Sau Montreal-ului! Nici chiar, dar ideea in sine cam pe-acolo e. Treaba e simpla cu Rotterdam. Aici se fac banii. Si-apoi se cheltuie in Amsterdam. Simplu ca buna ziua. Asa cum si draga de Brazilie are Sao Polo, plin de corporatisti si cladiri de birouri, iar la polul opus Rio-ul cel colorat si nebun, sau de ce nu, la o scara un picut mai mare, asa cum Statele Unite au pe de-o parte New York-ul cel muncitoresc si Los Angeles-ul cel plin de soare si distractie. Si cica s-ar spune ca Rotterdam e un fel de Manhattan de pe Maas. Maas fiind raul care trece prin Rotterdam 🙂 Cert ca stii ca ai intrat in oras de departe, tareeee departe, de cand aproape ca te ratacesti pe increngaturile de drumuri-spaghete si de cand simti miros de petrol de la rafinarie. Hmmm, si noi care speram la un miros apetisant de stroopwaffles 😀

EN: Oh well, from all the Dutch cities, there’s only one that has nothing to do with the authentic NL. And if you think about it, how could you place so many office buildings and a skyline that competes with the one from Hong Kong or Montreal, right in the middle of the windmills, the canals and all those colorful houses, old since the Earth was created! Well maybe not precisely Hong Kong or Montreal, but you got the point 🙂 Things are simple with Rotterdam. This is the Dutch city where the money are made. The same money that are spent in Amsterdam. Simple as that. As well as Brazil has its Sao Paolo, full of corporate people and office buildings and at the counter pole the colorful and mad Rio, or why not, at a bigger scale, as well as the US have on one side the hard working New York and Los Angeles, full of colors and fun. And people say that Rotterdam is actually a kind of Manhatan on the Maas. Maas being the river that crosses the city 🙂 One thing is for sure, you know that you have entered Rotterdam from far, faaaar away, when you almost get lost in the mixture of spaghetti roads and when you feel the smell of petrol from the refineries. Mmmm, and we were actually hoping for some smell of stroopwaffles 😀 

RO: Si inainte de a incepe toata polologhia despre Rotterdam, parca ne simtim cu musca pe caciula sa justificam toate trecerile de “ba ne place”, “ba nu ne place” orasul, pe care le-am remarcat si noi cand am recitit articolul. Problema e ca inainte de orice vacanta ne documentam un pic cam prea mult si plecam de acasa cu ceva opinii deja formate. Asa si-acum. Eram convinsi ca vizita in Rotterdam nu o sa ne dea deloc pe spate (motiv pentru care nici n-am alocat mai mult de trei-patru ore aici), si uite ca ne-a picat in calcaie. Grav! Nu am putea sa ne batem cu pumnii in piept si sa sustinem sus si tare ca Rotterdam-ul e cel mai cel oras olandez, si nici ca depaseste Amsterdam-ul. Asa cum vor locuitorii lui sa creada 🙂 Daaaar, e o nebunie de oras, un fel de Hamburg ca arhitectura si un fel de Berlin ca atmosfera. Si da, e drept, pe alocuri pare ca nu e un oras cu personalitate, prea se combina vechi cu nou, modern cu traditional si tot asa, insa per total, e foarte interesant si merita din plin o vizita de cel putin o zi. Daca totusi am fi pusi sa alegem intre Amsterdam si Rotterdam, fara doar si poate, l-am alege pe primul. Din toate punctele de vedere 🙂 Dar hai, gata cu toata expozitiunea asta lunga si irelevanta, sa trecem la dezbateri concrete 🙂

EN: And before we’ll start all the talking about Rotterdam, we feel guilty and we will like to justify all our mixed feelings about this city. Either we like, either we don’t, that’s the idea of the whole article, now that we re-read it. The problem is that before each vacation we document excessively about the place and we leave home with some already formed ideas. That’s exactly what has happened now. We were convinced that the visit to Rotterdam will not impress us at all (that’s the reason why we haven’t allocated more than 3-4 hours to spend here) and in the end it seems that it was completely the opposite! We won’t say that Rotterdam is the best Dutch city or that it surpasses Amsterdam. As its citizens would like to believe 🙂 Buuuut, it’s a lovely city, a kind of Hamburg as architecture and a kind of Berlin as atmosphere. And yes, it is true, sometimes it might seem like a city with no personality, as the old combines with the new, traditional with modern and so on and so forth, but at the end of the day, it is extremely interesting and it totally worths at least one day spending here. But if we were to choose between Amsterdam and Rotterdam we would for sure choose the first one. For all the reasons in the world 🙂 But hey, enough with this long and irelevant introduction, let’s talk about serious things now 🙂 

RO: Faza amuzanta este ca cele doua orase, Amsterdam si Rotterdam, chiar se declara pe bune rivale! Si nu se sfiesc sa o arate catusi de putin. Spre exemplu, stim cu totii sloganul Amsterdam-ului cu “I AMsterdam”, din fata muzeului Rijksmuseum. Ei bine, si Rotterdam are un slogan similar, “We’re Rotterdam”. Pai se poate?! 🙂 Sau si mai evident de-atata, replica “Amsterdam has it, Rotterdam doesn’t need it“. Asta ca asta, dar cea mai pregnanta diferenta dintre cele doua orase este, in mod evident, arhitectura. Nici nu ar putea fi altfel daca stai sa te gandesti ca bietul Rotterdam a fost distrus in mare parte in cel de-al doilea razboi mondial, iar tot ce s-a refacut in materie de cladiri este cat se poate de modern. Si nici n-a fost greu sa faca asta, pentru ca imediat cum s-a termimat razboiul, toate zonele afectate au fost complet expropriate, fara negocieri cu proprietarii, fara rugaminti, fara nimic, si s-a inceput o reconstructie masiva. Fara sa se mai uite inapoi si fara sa vrea sa construiasca din nou vechiul oras, s-a pus la cale un plan arhitectural de toata frumusetea si uite-asa Rotterdam-ul are o fata complet noua si complet diferita de ce era inainte de 1940.

EN: The funny thing is that these two cities, Amsterdam and Rotterdam, really consider themselves enemies! And they are not afraid of showing this, not at all. For example, we all know Amsterdam’s slogan “I AMsterdam”, in front of Rijksmuseum. Oh well, Rotterdam also has a similar slogan, “We’re Rotterdam”. Can you believe it?! 🙂 Or even more obvious that that, the line “Amsterdam has it, Rotterdam doesn’t need it”. But the biggest difference between the two cities is without any doubt, the architecture. And it couldn’t be different if you think that poor Rotterdam was destroyed almost completely in the second world war, and everything that has been reconstructed in terms of buildings is extremely modern. And it wasn’t hard for them to do this, as right after the war ended, all the affected areas have been expropriated, without any negotiation with the owners and a massive reconstruction began. Without looking back and without wanting to rebuild the old city, a new architectural plan was in place and Rotterdam has a completely new and different face than what it was before 1940. 

RO: Ca de exemplu nebunia de Cube House. Casa in forma de cub om mai fi vazut noi la viata noastra, dar luat cubul si inclinat la 45 grade apoi trantit pe un pilon peste un pasaj pietonal… mai rar 🙂 Si ideea in sine e geniala, fiecare casa vrea sa imite un copac (pilonul e trunchiul si casa coroana), iar toate casele la un loc o padure. Sa mai spuna cineva ca nu-s olandezii eco. Intre noi fie vorba, acoperisul gri cu varful vopsit in alb ne-ar cam aduce aminte de imaginea clasica a Mount Fuji-ului, dar hei, nu contestam viziunea artistului 🙂 Singura mica mare problema a caselor este ca desi au o groaza de spatiu si mai sunt construite si pe trei nivele, utilizabil nu e nici macar un sfert. Plus ca daca suferi de claustrofobie, e cam trist 🙂 Dar pentru experienta de a sta intr-o casa inclinata 45 de grade fata de sol tot am face rapid o rezervare pe booking. Sau de ce nu, putem sa vizitam doar Kijk-Kubus (Show Cube), o casa prototip facuta special pentru curiosi. Plus ca langa tot complexul de case cubice se afla si Cladirea Creion, alta nebunie de constructie. Au ce au rotterdamezii cu arhitectura moderna, si hei, n-o fi ea tipic olandeza, dar e chiar impresionanta!

EN: For example, the Cube House. Cube shaped houses we might have seen before in our lives, but inclining the cube at 45 degrees and than thrown on a pillar over a walk way… not that often 🙂 And the idea itself is genius, each house wants to simulate a tree (the pillar is the block of the tree and the house its branches), and all the houses symbolize a forest. Can someone argue with the fact that the Dutch people are eco? 🙂 But between you and me, the grey rooftops with the white peak remind us of the classic image of Mount Fuji, but hey, we’ll not call in question the artist’s vision 🙂 The only problem of the houses is the fact that even though they have a lot of space and they are built on three levels, not even a quarter of the space can be used. And if you suffer from claustrophobia, that’s quite sad 🙂 But just for the sake of the experience itself we would book a house on right away! Or why not, we can just visit the Kijk-Kubus (Show Cube), a prototype house made for the curious ones. In addition, next to the cube houses complex there is the Pencil Building, another mad construction. The Rotterdammers  have quite an obsession with the modern architecture, and hey, it might not be typical Dutch, but it is truly impressive! 


Living = Love; Love = The roof of the city 

Cube House_Rotterdam_2

RO: Ca o mica paranteza pentru cei care blameaza arhitectura moderna a orasului, are si Rotterdam-ul o parte traditionala si autentica, cu case olandeze si (putine) canale si barci vechi, de lemn. E in Delfshaven, in portul vechi. Asta asa, sa ramana consemnat in caz ca devenim prea anti-Rotterdam pe parcursul articolului 🙂 Am fost si noi o fuga prin Delfshaven si adevarul e ca da, zona chiar este frumoasa, autentica, are case tipice, are barci vechi, are canal, podete, cafenele. Tot ce vrea olandezul la el acasa 🙂 Mai putin shaormeriile si lahmaciunurile de la fiecare colt de strada in Delfshaven, haha 🙂 Dar pentru restaurante si localuri cool, exista in Rotterdam un cartier care se numeste, ce paradox (:p) Cool! Si are o strada, Witte de Withstraat ii spune, unde cica ar fi cele mai tari restaurante si cafenele din oras.

EN: As a small parenthesis for the ones that blame Rotterdam’s modern architecture, the city also has a traditional and authentic part, with Dutch houses and (few) canals and old wooden boats. It is Delfshaven, in the old harbor. And we’re saying this just to have it in written, in case we’re becoming to anti-Rotterdam in the article 🙂 We’ve also visited Delfshaven and it is true, the area is indeed beautiful, authentic and it has those typical Dutch houses, old boats, canals, bridges and cafes. Everything a Dutch would want to have at home 🙂 Except all those shaorma and lahmaciun places, at every corner of the street in Delfshaven, haha 🙂 Bu they, for cool restaurants and bar in Rotterdam there is a neighborhood called (paradoxically!) Cool! And it has a street, Witte de Withstraat, where people say there are the best restaurants and cafes in the city.   

RO: Si daca stam sa ne gandim, vine Rotterdam-ul si c-un as in maneca si surclaseaza Amsterdam-ul cand vine vorba de port 🙂 Da, portul din Rotterdam este cel mai mare port din Europa si al treilea cel mai mare din lume. O avea si Amsterdam port, insa e muuuult mai putin influent ca Rotterdam. Deci… Sa-i dam Cezarului ce-i al Cezarului! Ah, si-al doilea as din maneca ar fi costul vietii mai mic ca-n capitala care face ce face si devine mai ceva ca Londra cand vine vorba de chirii!

EN: And if we think about it, Rotterdam does have an ace up the sleeve and surpasses Amsterdam when it comes to its harbor 🙂 Yup, Rotterdam’s harbor is the biggest one in Europe and the third in the world. Amsterdam might have a harbor as well, but it is waaaaay less influential that the one in Rotterdam. So, let’s admit it, Rotterdam does it better! Oh, and another ace up the sleeve is the cost of living much lower than the one in the capital, which is now becoming worse than London when it comes to rents!  

RO: Si heeei, era sa uitam! Market Hall-ul, de langa cladirile cub, este pur si simplu demential! O imensitate de cladire, facuta ca piata centrala, cladire de birouri si apartamente, construita si data in folosinta in 2014. Se vrea a fi nu doar un spatiu de unde sa iti iei una alta de la piata, ci un loc social, plin de restaurante, baruri si tot soiul de mancatorii. Evident, branza olandeza e la mare cautare aici, la fel si cartofii prajiti cu maioneza, vafele cu caramel sau sandwichurile cu hering crud. Ce sa-i faci, n-au ei olandezii cea mai variata si deosebita bucatarie haha 🙂 Ideea e ca Market Hall e un obiectiv turistic in sine, iar privelistea catre Cladirea Creion e… Mmm… Dementiala!

EN: And heeeey, we almost forgot! Market Hall, next to the cube houses, is simply gorgeous! A huge building, made as a central market, office building and apartments, finished in 2014. This is not just a place where you go shopping from the market, but a social place, full of restaurants, bars and all kind of places to eat. Obviously, the Dutch cheese is the star here, as well as french fries with mayo, stroopwaffles and raw herring sandwiches. What can you do, the Dutch people don’t have the most exquisite cuisine, haha 🙂 The main idea is that Market Hall is a touristic place and the view towards the Pencil Building is simply to die for!

RO: Si daca tot suntem la recomandari culinare, am dat de un restaurant tare sui undeva la cuca macaii, in port, in cartierul Delfshaven. E de fapt o mica ferma, unde se cresc toate produsele 100% natural, au o droaie de sere si de plantatii de legume, iar restaurantul in sine e un fost container, decorat in stil industrial, cu bucataria la vedere, cu paleti de lemn si tot soiul de decoratiuni de zici c-ai nimerit in vreo fosta fabrica. Arata bestial, mancarea e tare buna, si pentru ca e departe de orice zona turistica, e frecventat mai mult de localnici. Uit je Eigen Stad se numeste si da, merita din plin! Au o placinta cu mere de mananci pana nu te mai poti ridica de la masa 😀 Aviz amatorilor haha 😀

EN: And if we reached the culinary recommendations, we found a really nice restaurant, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, in the harbor, in Delfshaven neighborhood. Actually it is a small farm, where all the products are 100% natural, they have a bunch of orchard houses and vegetables plantations, and the restaurant itself is a former container, decorated in an industrial style, with the kitchen exposed to view, wooden pallets and all kind of decorations that make you think that you’ve ended in a former factory. It looks gorgeous, the food is extremely good and just because it is far away from the touristic area, it is known by the locals only. It is called Uit je Eigen Stad and yes, it’s totally worth it! They have an apple pie that you can eat until you simply can’t get up from the chair 🙂 

RO: A, si apropo! O fi el Rotterdam un oras in mare parte industrial, insa are cateva locuri de toata frumusetea! Si unul dintre ele este parcul de mai jos, al carui nume nu il stim, ca l-am descoperit complet din greseala, in incercarea de a ajunge la Podul Erasmus, sa facem poza clasica cu skyline-ul 🙂 Ca tot ne plangeam ca nu am prins culori de toamna in Olanda, na poftim culori si frunze galbene 🙂

EN: Oh, and by the way! Rotterdam might be an industrial city but it really has some pretty amazing places! And one of them is the park below, but unfortunately we don’t know the name of it, as we discovered it completely by mistake, when trying to reach the Erasmus bridge, to take a photo with the skyline 🙂 We were complaining that we did not see the autumn leaves in The Netherlands, well, there they are 🙂 

RO: Si toate ca toate, cladirile emblematice din Rotterdam sunt deosebite, dau bine-n poze si or fi poate ceva provocari arhitecturale ce merita mentionate. Ori apreciate. Dar trebuie sa recunoastem ca orasul in sine nu are “fata” de Olanda. Nu iti inspira saboti de lemn, mori de vant si lalele. Si pan’ la urma… cam asta defineste Olanda 🙂 Dar ca sa nu fim ca amsterdamezii, care desconsidera complet Rotterdam-ul pe aceleasi considerente, i-am dat o sansa 🙂 Si desi nu ne omoram niciunul dintre noi dupa high tech-ul si modernismul orasului, e interesant de vazut si latura aceasta diferita (si total nereprezentativa :D) a Olandei. Si pana la urma, e de apreciat dorinta de a transforma complet orasul dupa ce a fost distrus de germani in razboi. Insa pentru cei mai conservatori din fire, care plang de dragul caramizilor expuse, canalelor si sabotilor de lemn, nu e tocmai orasul ideal in Olanda 🙂 Dar trebuie vazut! Hai ca ba e alba, ba e neagra, nu ne hotaram de niciun fel :))

EN: All in all, the iconic buildings in Rotterdam are special, photogenic and there are certainly some architectural challenges that worth being mentioned. Or appreciated. But we have to admit it, the city itself doesn’t look like the regular NL that we know. It doesn’t have the wooden clogs, the windmills or the tulips. And in the end… that’s exactly what defines The Netherlands 🙂 But because we didn’t want to act like the Amsterdammers, who disregard Rotterdam for the same reasons, we gave the city a chance to prove the opposite. And even though none of us is crazy about the high tech and modernism of the city, it is interesting to see this totally different and maybe not so representative part of The Netherlands. In the end, we should all appreciate the will to transform the city completely after it has been destroyed by the Germans in the war. But for the conservatory ones, who love the exposed bricks, the canals and the wooden clogs, this might not be the ideal Dutch city 🙂 But it should be visited! Oh geez, we simply can’t decide at all :))


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