Falling in love with Rotterdam

For the last month (and some weeks to come) Alexander Prinsen has been working and sleeping in our front-office.
Below his ‘love letter’ to Rotterdam, (OK, and somewhat to us too :-)

Alexander in his cutom-made balcony shower. Normally he showers undressed, but occasionaly he seems to like to keep his clothes on ;-)


Would it be possible to fall in love with Rotterdam? Yes you can! Her beauty unfolds when you get to know her intimately. She has magical places and people to share, who are realizing amazing projects without the talking and just the doing.

From the beginning of September City in the Making hosted me at Pieter de Raadtstraat when I was passing through Rotterdam. Erik and Piet converted the front room of their office into a living room, equipped it with a desk to work and a bed to sleep. Did I mention Erik also created a real shower on the balcony (and it has also real hot water!). Standing under the sky it was bringing back memories from South Africa and Bali. Why do we have showers inside, while outside you can stare at the stars or the morning glory instead of staring the same wall each day..?

Having the Pieter de Raadtstraat as homebase I learned about the Wasbuur and the Browery concept located in front of the workshop space below the building. Inspiring projects from designers who decided just to do it and just see where their curiosity will lead them.

For instance my top floor neighbor Guido Marsille is creating a living lab to figure out how his apartment of the future might look like. Questions like, Do we really need fridges? Can we cook with only one heater? and many more is where Guido curiosity is leading him. Luckily with the help of Guido I managed to figured how to cook with only one electric stove and indeed no fridge. It’s amazing how little we really need of the technical support we comfort our lives with, if one can figure out how to work with nature. Guido’s living lab showed me how to use all the organic waste and turn that into soil (using Bokashi). Did you know fermentation actually produces heat you might be able to use?

Piet and Erik made sure they introduced me to some inspiring architects, designers and projects in Rotterdam. It has resulted that for the book I’m writing about my journey (more see below) the chapter about architecture is now almost complete! I had so many inspiring talks confirming that Rotterdam is a magical place to be.

One must ignore the rough edges and dive into the artistic and entrepreneurial vibes of the City. You have Rotterzwam growing food and more out of coffeewaste, inspiring Fenix Food Factory and the square behind it, Rechtstrexx who is connecting farmers direcly to customers, Broodnodig who are turning breadwaste into biogas, Uit Je Eigen Stad who have a working aquaponics in the city, the architects from Rotterdam Metabolists, Ani & Hakinnen Hostel (one of the most inspiring hostels I ever seen), Worm (its program and design is amazing) and many many more.

Thank you Piet en Erik for all your good care and providing me with this unique opportunity !

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Alexander Prinsen is visiting Rotterdam as part of his global sustainable research project Masters of Beautiful Achievements. He interviews Designers, Entrepreneurs and Scientists about our current and future challenges and learn how to do better. Since November 2013 he is learning from the Masters how to design and implement sustainable business models that are by its design regenerative.

His next destination is Porto in Portugal. What do you think where he should stay in Porto and he should meet?

See also Alexander’s website Masters of Beautifull Achievements

Vrachtwagen vol

Gekregen van Het Nieuwe Instituut (voorheen NAi) in Rotterdam; de complete vloer van de zolderzaal. Waarvoor nog alle dank.
Een vrachtwagen vol gelakt multiplex en Ekoplex. Dat gaan we allemaal wegtimmeren in de Pieter de Raadstraat 35-37.

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A gift from HNI (The New Institute, used to be NAi): a truckload of multiplex from their top floor exhibition space. All to be used at Pieter de Raadstraat.