The beauty of Rotterdam Noordereiland
It has the reputation of a cultural haven and a self-contained village. Still it’s definitely a part of Rotterdam. Meet the unique Noordereiland.
Noordereiland is located on the Nieuwe Maas, wedged in between the city centre and Zuid district, next to the Erasmusbrug. The Willemsbrug, a bridge, links the central quay to the island, and the islanders use two other bridges to get to Zuid. Noordereiland was accidentally created in the 19th century, when the Koningshaven was dug out.
A cultural haven
About 3,300 people live on Noordereiland, many of whom are seafaring folk. Some 8% of them are students, according to the municipal records. The island, nicknamed ‘Montmartre on the Meuse’, has a reputation for being a cultural centre with a lot of artists and studios. Therefore it mainly attracts students from the Willem de Kooning Academy.
Quite a few students left after dozens of anti-squatter buildings – buildings rented out cheaply to prevent squatting – on the Van der Takstraat were demolished at the beginning of 2015. Henk de Heer, 79, who lives nearby, still thinks it’s a pity: ‘Students are fantastic people, really great. They say hello to you and have a bit of a chat. So we give them a hand as well now and then, like mending their bicycle tyres if they get a puncture. I’d like to see more of them here. We get on fine together.’
You might even forget that Noordereiland is actually a city district, since the island is so peaceful and tranquil. The streets are practically deserted, there are no bicycle thieves and no cash points either. Saying that Noordereiland is a self-contained village seems pretty apt. Student Rick Tuin, 24, experiences that every day. He and a few friends have been renting a flat since 2014 and it’s completely different to the busy and dynamic city of Groningen he was used to. ‘People on Noordereiland speak to you on the streets,’ he says. ‘Making eye contact at the Spar is quite normal here. It’s like you’re part of the in crowd.’
And it’s safe too: ‘I had to put a strong padlock and chain on my bike in Groningen and it still got stolen! No need for all that here. You can just leave your bike outside the front door.’
View and festival
Another good thing about Noordereiland is the wonderful views you get. You can laze around on the quay in summer and watch the boats go by under the Erasmusbrug. The skyline’s really impressive and unique too. Moreover, they have a great festival. Go check it out, Noordereiland Festival, 25, 26, and 27 August!
Part of this article was published in Erasmus Magazine. You can read the whole article here.
More info: www.noordereiland.org