Since this was my second visit to Holland Village, I don’t think I captured as many [interesting] pictures. Nothing much has changed from this strange area since my first visit almost two years ago. It’s a long metro ride to the far reaches of northern Pudong to Gao Qiao then walking the final stretch to Holland Village (see my previous posts for more info: Gao Qiao | Holland Village).
And yes, I still think they should change the name to Shangsterdam and open a frituur.
Well, you know you’ve been outta the game for a while when your Mom has to tell you where the new graffiti yards are. Located on a old train yard inbetween the Schiedamseweg and Marconistraat, this one is literally across the road from where I grew up in Rotterdam, a solid 3 min bike ride up and over a dijk. Locals are currently in the process of trying to preserve the building and make it into a arts and culture center, power to them. All these pics were taken on my last day in Holland, I was set to fly via Moscow back to Shanghai later that evening, so we took the bike and passed by the new graf yard on our way to Schiedam to do my last minute food shopping (basically deodorant, chocolate and mayonnaise).
Schiedam is the next town over, to the west of Rotterdam, although now completely intertwined it has more the more classic Holland look that Rotterdam certainly doesn’t have because of the WWII bombardments (see last post). Home to Kettel One spirits, it certainly has changed since the 90′s when I lived nearby, with a brand new train station, extended tram lines, a subway stop, and a completely revamped main street. My mom gave me a slight tour, but I could only tell you that those last two images or of the Old City Hall.
Tot ziens Nederland!
On my bike ride into Rotterdam city center to meet some friends I stopped off at Delfshaven (map) for a quick shoot. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve been here, but had never taken any pictures. Which is partly to blame on the fact that this is less than a 10min bike ride from where I grew up.
Delfshaven (“Port of Delft“) was a harbor built in 1389 some 10km away from the town Delft as to surpass the high tax that merchants had to pay for mooring in the city of Rotterdam. In 1886, Delfshaven became part of the city of Rotterdam, and was extremely lucky to have been left intact after the mass bombings (1150 x 50kg & 158 x 250kg) that levelled the entire city center of Rotterdam on May 14, 1940. The Dutch surrendered to the Nazi forces shortly after only to endure 128 more known air raids by Allied forces, the second largest of which carried out by the US Air Force on March 31, 1943. It is fair to say that Rotterdam was completely demolished by the fighting of World War II (more info here). My great-grandfather, a captain himself, was moored in Rotterdam during one of these bombings, and was forced to flee back to our family in Antwerp, some 120km to the south, partly by bike, but mostly on foot.
I still prefer my name for Holland Village… SHANGSTERDAM.
Holland Village [map], another housing project part of the “1 City – 9 Towns” initiative the Shanghai Planning Commission set up in 2001. Designed by Dutch architects, this project, like Thames Town (see my posts of Thames Town here and here), is not quite a success, partly because it is located too far away from the city (20min walk to metro, then over an hour to Peoples Square), and partly because Chinese tastes do not suit with Dutch architecture, nevermind the price tag of 35,000RMB per square meter. Hardly as intricate as the “British” Thames Town (not even a single bike stall!), but definitely worth a visit and walk around. Just about as much as a ghost town as the “British” Town, but a few more locals walking around, as Holland Village (aka Shangsterdam!) is better integrated with the surrounding town of Gao Qiao, whereas Thames Town was a seriously locked-down housing complex (with only 2 entrances/exits).
To visit Shangsterdam, you can easily walk from the North Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone station, the second to last stop on line 5. Then an easy, and picturesque (see previous post) 20min walk following the river through traditional Chinese streets and you’ll eventually see the windmill located on an island in the middle of the river you’ve been following.
During the Chinese New Year holiday we hit up Gao Qiao, located on the northern tip of Pudong, just over an hour north via subway from downtown Shanghai. Our mission was “Holland Village,” a residential complex built by Dutch architects to reflect living in Holland which is part of the “1 City – 9 Towns” initiative. On the 20min walk from the metro station to this new town, we were fortunate to follow along a picturesque, and relatively traditional Chinese street.
Stopover in Rotterdam… yes I lived there for several years, but the reason for this [quick] visit was [no] thanks to KLM and Schiphol Airport. Who both told me I could come to the airport (a week after I had arrived) to pick my suitcase. The 2.5 hr drive from Antwerp up to Amsterdamnit proved to be pointless as I was told by airport staff upon arrival that my suitcase “had not yet been located”, then spending the next 2 hours looking through several thousand suitcases…. I eventually got my baggage back 10 days after I arrived, literally minutes after finishing packing my new suitcase to fly back to Shanghai. Thank you KLM. Thank you Schiphol.
Anyway, these images are from the quick stopover on our ways north (for no reason) in Rotterdam, we hit up the SS Rotterdam, a popular cruise ship built in 1958, since retired and transformed into a restaurant and hotel.
Also, a big thank you to Rotterdam’s finest who gave me a parking ticket within the hour of arrival there… for having “all 4 wheels on the sidewalk”, pictures attached (keeping in mind all the cars to my left are legally parked). Holland: where we give out traffic tickets like no where else in the world (my personal favorite is still the “speeding” ticket I got for going 53 in a 50 kph zone).
So I finally got my first taste of the Shanghai 2010 World Expo, which opened back on May 1, and runs until the end of October. Took a weekday night ticket, in the rain, and there were still massive crowds (June 24th: 447,100 visitors)… I can only imagine what it’s like on a sunny weekend.
“Better City, Better Life” is the motto, and the site itself is MASSIVE (interactive map). This first trip was only through [part of] Zone C which houses most of the European Pavilions as well as Canada, US, and Africa. And to say the Expo has transformed Shanghai city life is quite the understatement:
- 41 billion US dollars were spent on preparations (more than the 2008 Beijing Olympics);
- 18,000 families & 270 factories were relocated;
- 190+ nations and 50+ world organizations taking part (largest ever);
- Expo site covers 5.28 km², also the largest in Expo history (which equals about 987 football fields including endzones);
- 10,000+ new Shanghai taxis;
- 6 new metro lines;
- 1.7 million volunteers were trained specifically for Expo help;
- 70-100 million visitors are expected to pass through the gates;
- metal detectors (nuisance!) in every subway station throughout Shanghai;
The image above (UK Pavilion) is just a taste of the CRAZYNESS that is to come, I took 397 images and am still working through them, so check back soon as I will be updating them below!