Local Heart, Global Soul

March 22, 2016

Leaving The Miniworld And Back To The Big One…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In my final post from Miniworld in Rotterdam, I’m still captivated by the models here and the sheer amount of detail involved. The information boards continue, reading:

The Marshall plan was an aid plan that started three years after the Second World War. The plan aimed for the economic reconstruction of countries in Europe which were affected by the war. The first ship will Marshall-goods “De Noordam” arrived at Rotterdam harbour at the end of April 1948.

Aid consisted of money, goods, raw materials and food and meant the difference between life and death for many people.

What many people do not know is that all of the countries who were helped via the Marshall Plan have been paying back the cost of it, with interest, ever since the help was given. In the case of  The Netherlands, final payments were paid back to the United States of America in the early 2000’s.
The Port of Rotterdam is one of the largest shipping ports for liquid chemical products and mineral oils in Europe. These are brought in and out via waterways, road and rail. Complete trains are loaded and unloaded at these terminals and then transported to Germany and other countries around Europe.
Many refineries can be found in the industrial area and port of Rotterdam. The petrochemical industry is the branch of the industry dealing with the processing of petroleum fractions into various chemical products. The branch of chemistry is called petro chemistry. Among others these raw materials are used for polymers (= plastics) and the pharmaceutical industry. A major petrochemical company is Shell.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Because of the ongoing battle against water, the Netherlands became experts in water management. This is use to their advantage and for different purposes. More than 18 percent of the Netherlands consists of water and roughly half of the countries surface is below sea level.

To protect the country and it’s inhabitants the Dutch make use of dikes, sluices, different kinds of pumping stations like the famous windmills and water drainage systems. Steven Hoogendijk built the first steam powered pumping station in 1787, locate at de Blijdorpse polder in Rotterdam.

It was designed by the British Matthew Boulton and James Watt. It was able to pump up to 50,000 litre (13,200 US gal) a minute, which made it powerful enough to pump flooded polders dry and to keep it that way.

More than 500 steam powered pumping stations were put into operation in the 1900’s, when in the 1920’s diesel powered pumping stations became popular and replaced the steam powered ones.
The Oranjesluis is a sluice in ‘s Gravenzande and has a lockkeepers house on top of it called “Het Jahthuis” (The Lodge) This house was built in 1676. At first the sluice was used to supply fresh water to the gardens of the estate of Honselaarsgijk, owned by Willem III.

Soon they discovered the water to be too salty and since 1888, Oranjesluis has been used only as a water outlet. Miniworld reconstructed the lockkeepers house, it can be found in Sluishoek and is identical to the one at the Oranjesluis!

There is so much to see here that I did not take photographs of, that I would recommend anyone who is in the vicinity of Rotterdam, especially if you are a train, model buff, or have kids, that you visit yourself. My photographs only cover 10% of the exhibition so there is plenty to see!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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ALL of the kids visiting spotted the King and Queen having an unscheduled stop on the motorway when their  “Golden Coach” looses a wheel ! (In reality this coach never goes on the motorway, it takes a different route through the city of The Hague for the opening of Parliament), a black coach and horses does however transverse the highway between The Hague and Delft when one of the highest members of the Royal family passes away… but the motorway is closed off on those occasions). A little poetic licence is ok though…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Miniworld Rotterdam

March 21, 2016

Some Things Are As Different As Night And Day…

Miniworld in Rotterdam also has an extra attraction up it’s sleeve: and this is that roughly every half hour there is simulated night time. The lights in the complex housing the models dim and visitors get to see a light show that comprises thousands of lights. Some flicker as “traffic” streams by, lights go on and off in different rooms of houses as if the occupants are moving around, various buildings light up as the evening shifts commence, trains race through the “night” though the countryside, and a separate lightshow takes place in a stadium as a crowd of “concertgoers” enjoy the music on the stage. Once again the detail is amazing, there is so much to see and you almost don’t know where to start. After a few minutes of complete darkness the lights slowly come up in a simulated dawn and a new “day” commences with different lights and moving models. In roughly half an hour it will be ” evening” once again and the magic of the twinkling lights will begin all over again…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Miniworld Rotterdam

March 20, 2016

This Mini Port Shows How The Maxi One Works…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Miniworld in Rotterdam gives a lot of information about the models on show, from the information boards I learn:
The Betuweroute is a 160 km long, double track freight railway from Rotterdam to Germany.

The Betuweroute was opened in 2007, creating a non-stop connection to the European hinterland. Built out of economic necessity after roads and waterways became too crowded, the Betuweroute was also necessary after the expanded building of the Maasvlakte 2 in the Rotterdam port area where a larger volume of bigger cargo ships can offload their cargo.

About 80% of the Betuweroute trains are electric and the objective is to switch them to renewable energy as soon as possible.
In Rotterdam’s Dray Bulk Terminal you can find big harbour cranes with large shell grabs, big enough to fit two vans into easily. These grabs haul tons of coal and iron ore out of ocean going ships, some of which can be over 300 meters long.

The dry bulk is stored in huge piles on site and if necessary these materials can be washed, screened or blended.
To transport dry bulk goods to into the rest of Europe by train or ship, the Europees Massagoed-Overslagbedrijf (also known as EMO) has many different wagonloaders situated on the quay precisely for this purpose.

The deep sea ship loader has a capacity of 6,000 ton per hour, which is six million kilos per hour!
Pumping station Lely was built in 1928-1929 at the Wieringermeerdijk. The building is made of reinforced concrete, and seamlessly reflects the architectural movement of New Objectivity by the cubical forms in white concrete constructions.

Still in use today, the pumping station keeps the Wieringermeer dry and is named after Cornelis Lely, the initiator of the Zuiderzee works. At the border of Hooghburgt there is a second pumping station with duplicate architecture as the Lely.

Wind turbines convert the energy of the wind in a rotating motion which is then used by a generator to generate electricity. They also have an industrial function, controlling pumping stations.

There are two types of wind turbines: the horizontal-axis wind turbine which is used the most because it starts automatically as soon as there is enough wind and the vertical-axis wind turbine which is dependent on the wind direction.

These models give visitors and especially kids a good idea about how the port of Rotterdam works and how goods are transferred from the port to other destinations around Europe. As with all of the models here the level of detail has to be seen in person to be believed… Of course keeping kids interested in the exhibit is helped by the inclusion of more “accidents”, the biggest one in this section is a “fire” in one of the warehouse buildings. Little Mr wasn’t the only one who was clearly besotted by this either, I saw many kids excitedly discussing the details of the fire engine, firemen, the ladders and the entire scene. Little Mr even came over to me to make certain that I got “really good photographs” of this… gotta get your priorities right!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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March 19, 2016

Attention To Detail Is Everything…Even The Disasters!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One of the surprises laid on during a special weekend laid on by good friends of ours is a visit to Miniworld in Rotterdam.

We go inside and whilst it is not obvious at first, we then round a corner to find a massive area divided into sections that are laid out with a huge model railway display.

As you adjust to the enormity of what is in front of you, your eyes start to take in detail after detail after detail.

The buildings are scale models of buildings from all around The Netherlands, entire areas have been reconstructed on a minute level, and even more amazing it is not just the trains that run, also automated are some things like busses, windmill sails, vehicles of all sorts, lights turn on, even the tiniest of chickens in the farmyard flock are automated to make pecking motions at the ground.

There are many information boards around, they read:

“Floods are a part of the Netherlands. Many Dutch people still remember the disastrous flood of 1953 like it was yesterday. Through the years many floods took place, sculpting and changing the country into what it is today.

For protection against floods, dikes and dunes were built. Without dunes a big part of the country would be under water.

A good example of 1000 years of water management is Kinderdijk: 19 world-renowned windmills that contributed impressively to the technology to control water in The Netherlands .

Via an ingenious three-step system, all water is pumped out of the polders and into the river through ditches, sluices, bosoms, canals pumping stations, 19 windmills and a discharge sluice that is situated inside the dike.

Because of this we keep our feet dry in the polders enabling us to live in an area situated below sea-level.

Sluishoek is a typical Dutch polder village. Old homes can be found on both side of a canal and it has a nostalgic drawbridge. Sluishoek was among others, inspired by the existing village Schipluiden in the Westland.

Of course a classic village in the polder has to have windmills. Since 1180 the Dutch have been using windmills not only for pumping water but also for grinding grain and as sawmills.

The lowest point is indicated by “the monument lowest point of the Netherlands”, of which the base corresponds with the level of the lowest point.

 NAP stands for the Normaal Amsterdams Peil (Amsterdam Ordnance Datum) that is used in The Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Finland as reference for height measurements. The lowest polderwater level is also locate in the Zuidplaspolder and is 7,10 under NAP.

Almost half of The Netherlands is below sea level. Without sand dunes, dikes and all of the water systems, the water would rise one and a half meters (1.6 feet) here at Miniworld!
The lowest point of The Netherlands is located in a grassland in the Zuidplaspolder, on a height of 6,76 under NAP.

Conversly the hightest point in The Netherlands on the Vaalserberg in Limburg, 323 meters above sea level.

It’s interesting to see that there has been a huge amount of humour installed here too, for instance the person standing on one of the rooftops appears to be waving a pink dress, and there are lots of “accidents” , doubtless put in for the enjoyment of boys like Little Mr. who was quick to pick up on every last one of them and to revel in the “emergancy services” in attendance. Naturally the presence of fire engines and police cars gave the designers a chance to install more flashing lights… it’s clear not just the kids having a lot of fun here!

miniworld R dam 2e (Small)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Miniworld Rotterdam

March 18, 2016

An Unassuming Apartment Block Hides A Miniworld…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,ROTTERDAM,Rotterdam : Miniworld,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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We pass Rotterdam Centraal Station and find ourselves looking at the beautiful “Engels” (Angel) building. Is this the surprise destination our friends have been hinting at? We head directly for it but then our friends keep going and start walking a little way further down the street. They know where we are going but for us our next surprise is revealed when we come to stop at the bottom of what looks like a large apartment building. The sign on the ground floor says “Miniworld”. Inside it appears that this is a place that has many different sorts of models, and lots of tram and railway history. This appears to also be just the entrance way into something more because whilst we stand and look at the exhibits in these cabinets, a small stream of visitors are passing by… but to what? I’m a little confused, this is an apartment building after all….

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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