All about cycling in the Netherlands
So much is happening this summer that even in the no-post week I have a new video for you. I was in Rotterdam again just a few weeks ago. This time to tell 30 students from 17 countries of a summer school (hosted by the Urban Cycling Institute at the University of Amsterdam) something about how the cities in the Netherlands have been changing recently, thanks to the Dutch mobility choices.
I was “taking the stage” in the main office building of the city of Rotterdam, aptly called “De Rotterdam”, on the 40th floor. That is quite an unusual height for the Netherlands, but not so much for Rotterdam anymore. This 44 floor building -opened in 2013- is 149 metres (489Ft) tall. It was designed by Rem Koolhaas, already in 1998. Called “the vertical city”, the building houses not only the municipal offices, but also other offices, a hotel with 285 rooms, 240 apartments and a number of restaurants and cafés. With a total floor space of 160,000 square metres it is the largest building of the Netherlands.
Needless to say, that from the 40th floor (41 if you count the American way) you have a stunning view over Rotterdam, The Hague on the horizon and a large part of the Netherlands, all the way to the dunes along the North sea coast. Very prominent at your feet is the huge Erasmus Bridge. This combined cable-stayed and bascule bridge has featured in some of my earlier blog posts, but never from above!
From this angle, you can really appreciate the size of this 1996 bridge designed by Ben van Berkel. The length is 802 metres (almost half a mile) and the deck is 33.8-metres wide (111 ft). It has four car lanes, two tram tracks, two sidewalks and last but not least two uni-directional cycle tracks, one for each direction. The asymmetrical pylon is 139 metres (456 Ft) tall. It looks so close you feel you could almost touch it. The shape of the pylon has given the bridge its nickname: “the Swan”. The people traversing the bridge on foot or on their bicycles looked so tiny from my unusual viewpoint. I just had to film this spectacular view. I hope you enjoy the short video.
Rotterdam and “The Swan” as the Erasmus Bridge is nicknamed, from above.