Local Heart, Global Soul

December 13, 2016

The Habit Of Turning Up New Surprises…

Filed under: Architectural Detail,ART,PHOTOGRAPHY,ROTTERDAM,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Rotterdam has been a frequent destination in recent months as I undergo some experimental pain treatments at the massive Erasmus Hospital.

The effects are cumulative as the medication builds up so it’s still very early days but tentative results look promising, so these detours to yet another city hospital are well worth the time and effort.

The process is very tiring so some days I am half asleep in the car, other days I manage to be more alert and try and pass the travel time (sometimes it can take a bit more than an hour during rush hour traffic) with my pocket camera in hand.

As many people know, Rotterdam was very heavily bombed in the Second World War, but that said there are a few older neighbourhoods that survived, and it is these that attract my eye the most are the tiny details like the strange little decorative overhangs above some of the windows… not just the top floor ones either, but also on a few of the lower floors.

The autumn colours were beautiful, and everywhere I looked there was something interesting to see, be it new, old, modern and sleek or antique ornate.

Even places you travel to often can have the habit of turning up new surprises, if only we have the eye to see them.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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November 7, 2016

Look Away Now If You Don’t Like The Jab…

Filed under: An Accidental Franken-Foot,LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY,ROTTERDAM,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Many of you will know about my ongoing medical treatments as I struggle with recovery after an accident.

My latest update is about a trip to The Erasmus Hospital in Rotterdam and some tests into how bad the damage in my foot is.

Dystrophy has many symptoms, one of them is that the part affected is very cold: something that has been plaguing me since the first operation back in 2010.

One possible thought about the possible cause of this is that blood flow gets restricted because circulation becomes poor,  and so a series of tests needed to be carried out to see if my circulation in general is poor,  and if good or not, how the circulation in my foot relates to that.

We started with blood tests because many o f the drugs and pain treatments so far are known to have adverse effects on the liver, if the tests show that my liver function is being damaged then these treatments will have to be halted. I’m far from squeamish when it comes to needles, in fact I quite like to see them go in and I find the whole process of taking blood rather fascinating.

Sadly I do not have the same strong stomach when it comes to anyone throwing up,  be that man or beast and  I have given thanks many a time that my kids have vomited rarely and that their father was present on each occasion to take the reins and do the honours (or horrors, as the case may be).

Blood tests completed they took my blood pressure in each arm, something I was expecting. What I did not expect however. was the removal of the cuff to my right foot, where they took blood pressure again. Suddenly it dawned on me that they intended to do the same on the left foot and I quickly informed them that this was not an action that was going to end well.

Dystrophy also produces extreme pain in the afflicted area,  and pain treatment is exactly why we are here, so the mere idea of pumping up a blood pressure cuff on the part of the body that hurt the most was enough to break me out in a cold sweat. Both nurses saw that this wasn’t going to work, so they tried the next best thing: the cuff around my left ankle, which avoided me screaming down the hospital, to the relief of everyone in the room.

Mission accomplished we are set to try yet another treatment, and soon… it will run along side the Ketamine cycles and we hope bit by it to chip away at the over all pain level. Everything is experimental but all of it is worth a try. The good news from these tests is that my blood pressure is fine with the exception of my foot which manages to remain a small mystery.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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November 4, 2016

Someone Else’s Bad Day Made Little Mr’s…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,ROTTERDAM,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

As I have mentioned several times in recent posts, I have been attending hospitals in Delft, The Hague and Rotterdam this year.

On one of my visits to the Erasmus Hospital in Rotterdam, we arrived for our appointment and also spied a helicopter on the hospital’s helipad.

Helicopters used for emergency medical transports are usually based at Schiphol airport, and just come to the hospital to drop off the patient, after which they return to Schiphol so it’s rather rare to see one parked at a hospital.

Little Mr lives for the day when he can spy something like this but so far has been disappointed.

This is why I was pleased for him to be able to snap a few quick photographs before we entered the car park.

There were other cars behind us so stopping for a proper photograph wasn’t possible, but at least I could prove to Little Mr that we had seen a helicopter here.

My son’s interest with the emergency services shows no sign of waning, who knows, maybe one day he will be part of them?

My thoughts immediately after clicking the shutter closed were less on the machine and more on the casualty transported in it. No-one gets a helicopter ride to hospital unless their injuries are serious, so I hope that they are now ok and recovering well.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

March 25, 2016

Leaving Rotterdam Because Our Ship Has Sailed…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,ROTTERDAM,Rotterdam Harbour,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Before we leave the Willemsplein on the Nieuwe Maas there is one thing we are waiting to see.

As I have mentioned in earlier posts, our location is opposite the Rotterdam Cruise terminal: and we are just in time to see one of the big cruise ships leave the harbour.

People start to gather around us on the water front, the departing ship sounds it’s horn in long blasts and the other cruise ship in front of it responds with long blasts of it’s own horn.

Slowly the ship at the rear eases out of it’s berth and into the main part of the river, we can see many of the passengers lined up on the upper decks waving and taking photographs as the ship leaves port.

The boys in our two families wave back, it is getting late in the afternoon so light is slowly fading but there is a sense of excitement and drama with both with children and adults as this huge ships leaves port with it’s traditional send off.

As the ship moves out into the distance it’s wake churns up the river and bounces the water taxi’s around on the water. Little Mr took all of the photographs in this post whilst I concentrated on getting some video clips…

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https://youtu.be/qyf5y-UBPc0

March 24, 2016

A Seat That Is A Life Saver Whilst You Wait…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Rotterdam’s  Historic Tram 10 brings us back to our starting point:  The Willemsplein  opposite the Rotterdam Cruise terminal on the Nieuwe Maas River. Looking around I find yet another quirky find: a seating area made out of piles of life jackets. This is the waiting area for passengers who have signed up to a tour on the river… and I think that it is a most appropriate way to recycle one thing into another.

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Rotterdam’s Historic Tram 10

March 23, 2016

Yeah…It Really IS a “Christmas Tree”… Honest!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We have left Miniworld in Rotterdam and re-joined the Historic Tram 10 that runs around the centre of the city.

Our tickets allow us to hop-on-hop-off during the day and if our friends had not had such a small child and if I had been able to be more mobile, then an early start on this tram would allow for an entire day’s worth of hop-on-hop-off exploring as well as the beautiful tram ride itself.

That surely must be a brilliant idea for any tourist wanting to make the most of their Rotterdam day trip.

Our party of two families have however done our dash for the day and are content to ride around the city at leisure, listening to the commentary and seeing the sights out of the window.

As we pass by an outdoor market I spy a statue that had been on the News some time earlier because of it’s controversial nature: It’s a Christmas statue where Santa is holding a Christmas tree that is rather phallic in appearance. The controversy was that the statue had been moved from several pervious locations in the city after upset residents made successful petitions to get it removed. The short of it was that no one wanted it in their neighbourhood and I’m not even certain if it will be staying long in this spot either. The other statues I spotted during our tram ride were without controversy and only drew viewing pleasure… depending on if you like modern art at all.

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Rotterdam’s Historic Tram 10

March 22, 2016

Leaving The Miniworld And Back To The Big One…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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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!

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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…

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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…

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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!

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March 19, 2016

Attention To Detail Is Everything…Even The Disasters!

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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)

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Miniworld Rotterdam

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