Friday, September 15, 2017

From Rotterdam to America

Rotterdam doesn’t really fit the image someone has when 
it comes to Holland. Away from the canal house gables, bustling
 bike paths, I was so happy to discover this modern city
 “arousing emotions by having established relationships between 
shapes” (this is not mine but this is the meaning of architecture
 according to Le Corbusier).

My first impression of Rotterdam was confusion about where
 I was. Frankfurt, New-York? An impressive amount of 
modern architecture
 and a patchwork of outstanding buildings give the city a 
dynamic character and I thought that if I were young it
 would be perfect to begin my life in the city of Erasmus. 
In an urban space like this, reconstructed from the ground, 
innovative, open to the ocean and its opportunities,
 a space which never stops reinventing itself. 

The Market Hall! (below)

 A landmark of the city struck me the most; Hotel New York. 
Not a modern construction, just a place with a story to tell. 

The Hotel New York, also called “Grand Old Lady” is 
surrounded by immense towers and skyscrapers. 

Hotel N.Y. is situated at the Wilhelminapier 
which is being redesigned into a large ship’s deck.

The building that nowadays houses the Hotel New York and 
its beautiful cafe-restaurant was formerly the HAL;
 Holland America Line, the shipping company founded in the late
 19th century. It was originally the head office and the location
where in earlier times, many Europeans stepped over their
 threshold and boarded boats to travel halfway across an 
unknown world armed with nothing. Nothing, except their
 hope for a life, a better one.... who knows……
 Brave souls excited but also fearful in front of their new 
adventures and perspectives. For many of them, this red-brick 
Jugendstil structure was the last European building they ever 
saw. Their transatlantic trip brought them to the promise land;
America. How deeply touching this unromantic
 yet desperately romantic history was for me!

We took the gamble and dropped in without having booked a room. 
I was impressed by the charm, potential and style that the
 building oozes. Once inside and walking into the casual and 
spacious lobby, you can almost hear the voices of those people
 awaiting their long journey. Although that era is long gone, 
the building has not lost its character. 

The seafood bar looks splendidly impressive!
Oh, I know this man!

I loved the historic atmosphere with its cruise-ship inspired deco
 and appreciated the fact that the architects kept the period
 departure hall structure intact with so many items to discover like
 the old spiral staircase, a beautiful relic of the past. 
The building honors its history, celebrates nostalgia and tradition 
without being stuck there though.
 The hotel rooms upstairs obey the same logic. 

We had a lovely time there and were also lucky to enjoy 
the gorgeous sunshine and sit out for an alfresco refreshment.

 I wonder whether those immigrants achieved their dreams then...
 What about today's flow of masses?
As they pursue their personal Odyssey, let us
p r a y
they will be able to keep their dreams alive.

Wishing you all a great start into the new season and 
I’m looking forward to seeing your holiday photos
 and hearing your own stories.


  1. Love your story! I visited the center of Rotterdam 2 years ago. The architecture is great. Loved also the inside of the market hall. The apartments next to it, looking out on the market.
    I didn't go to the building of the Holland-America line. My father, who was an engineer, worked for a few years on one of their ships, bringing immigrants to America!

    1. It's unbelievable how so many lives are found intertwined through the history of a single building. Thank you for commenting, it was so interesting to know the bit about your father's past.

  2. Hello Olympia! What an interesting post!!! I visited Rotterdam about ten years ago and I remember how impressed I was by the modern buildings! I am not sure I saw the HAL building at the time and I don't know if it was already turned into a hotel, but from your pictures I can see it must have a very interesting atmosphere! I wish you and your daughter a good school season!

  3. Πολλή όμορφη αφήγηση της ιστορίας του κτηρίου και οι φωτογραφίες σου με μετέφεραν πράγματι στο χώρο αυτό .Χαίρομαι που περάσατε όμορφα και γεμισατε απο ωραίες εικόνες. Καλό φθινόπωρο!

  4. A wonderful and interesting journey that you took us on thanks to the photos !

  5. Thank you so much for this post! I have been to Roterdam on a business trip last year (archtectural excursion) and I have been to all those places which you showed here! And I like the city very much!
    We also had dinner in the Hotel New York Restaurant, which was very good and the place is so beautiful!
    I hope to return one day with my husband on a private holiday,
    have a nic e weekend, Monika

    1. I would never have expected that so many fellow bloggers can share in the amazement for Rotterdam and in particular Hotel New York.So glad you enjoyed it Monika!

  6. You where in Rotterdam !!!!
    O my o my...beautiful city......i wish i had know you came to Holland Olympia !!...we met Rotterdam ❤️,! Maybe next time ??? from me Ria x ❤️

    1. Yes, maybe another time.Thank you Ria, so kind of you!

  7. So many lovely and interesting pictures from beautiful places...
    Monday again, new week and time to work!
    Love from Titti

  8. It's impressive town!
    Thank you for your's pictures:) And for your words aobout immigrants also. Thank you.

  9. What a lovely visit you had. A modern city for sure. I like the last pictures. That particular area has a more "artsy" vibe, which is always interesting to me. Love those white tea pots. : )

    Wishing you sweet September days, Olympia.

    love, ~Sheri

  10. You do manage to visit some wonderful places around Europe. One of my blogging friends lives in Rotterdam so most of the locations you show are quite familiar! That hotel looks amazing with so many layers of history too. Sarah x

  11. This looks like an interesting and vibrant city to visit, dear Olympia. I can imagine the thoughts and feelings of the hopeful immigrants. Lovely images. xx Karen

  12. One year ago I visited Rotterdam for the last time and just like you I was very surprised. It's time to go back ;-). Great you had a wonderful time in Holland!

    Sending hugs, Ingrid

  13. Wonderful selections of photos. The ship with the building in the background shows a great story.

  14. Hello dear Olympia. How lovely to see and read your post here.
    Your photographs give an excellent insight for your fellow bloggers to see and enjoy parts of the city with you, and for this I say thank you.

    Long may you enjoy your travels, your life and this wonderful Autumn season.

    All the best Jan

  15. Beautiful photos of my Rotterdam. I'm touched how you describe this modern city because I love Rotterdam. Especially your story and photos of Hotel New York, in the past the headoffice of HAL are impressive. I have to tell you now, I was a long time ago executive secretary of the board of directors of Holland-America Line and had my office in one of the hotel rooms on the first floor. I have very good memories of that time and nowadays I still visit regularly Hotel New York.
    Thank you for this great tribute to Rotterdam.
    Regards, Janneke

    1. Dear friend, how glad I am for having helped you to recall a memorable part of your life! I'm pleased my post brought to mind some fond memories of your career. Thanks for visiting Janneke!

  16. Such an interesting post, Olympia. This is a city that I never thought to visit and now want to, you've presented it so beautifully. Their tourist board should make you an offer :-)

  17. Hope you experienced safe journey there with some good memories.
    compare Manchester parking

  18. You would experience many new things in that tour from these two cultures.
    meet and greet at luton


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