Rotterdam is more like Dubai

I do like a good blog post title. Although I actually can’t claim this one to be one of my own. It’s stolen from a page on the travel section of the BBC website. The first line of the article is “Rotterdam is like Disneyland for architecture geeks”.


Last month I walked round Rotterdam with a few friends. Our guide on this tour was another friend, and someone who has lived his entire life in the city and has a history and arts related background and so was able to provide plenty of contextual background to the city sights we were exploring.

The residents of Rotterdam are proud of their city, and our ‘tour guide’ was day is no exception. There is a lot to see, as the BBC article explains, the city has quite literally, risen from the ashes of the war time destruction of the 1940s. Like in other cities, many of the buildings have been given names by the locals. We saw the Swan, the Pencil, the Whistling Kettle and others.

The combinations of the new and the old is often quite breath-taking but makes the view from street level all the more interesting. I’ve not actually been to Dubai, so it’s difficult to comment on the comparison of the Dutch modern architecture capital with that particular city. Although the cold winter winds that sometimes are channelled between the architecture of Rotterdam probably do give an experience somewhat different to the climate in Dubai!

The BBC article ends:

“Rotterdam is like Disneyland for architecture geeks. But it may be even more fun for the rest of us, who don’t usually pay attention to the buildings we work, play and live in, and who’ll go home and wonder why our cities can’t be a little more like Rotterdam”.

A sentiment I can certainly relate to.


Brian Eno – The BBC John Peel Lecture

Why do we make art?

What is the function of art?

….and how do hairstyles and a whole load of other things fit into these discussions.

If you didn’t hear it last week or haven’t come across it since, Eno’s calm and eloquent promotion (because it certainly isn’t a defence) of the significance of the arts makes for engaging listening. The forty-five minute presentation on how and why art and culture in its broadest sense is so important to us and why it shouldn’t be underestimated in its relevance touches on a multitude of references. Eno looks ahead towards the future and possible changes ahead of us raises so many points for discussion.


Art offers an environment to consider issues and subjects that we may not otherwise come to. But above all, art in all its forms is about engagement with one another and engagement ourselves. If you have a long train journey coming, a large pile of washing up to do or simply time for a glass of wine take the time to listen.