Rotterdam: a city marked by writers
The city of Rotterdam is a hotbed for writers both in literature and poetry. The amount of big names and books that are well known surmount to a list that could go on for days. Just a walk through the city takes you along notable lines from poems and mugshots of famous writers.
Lines traversing the city
One of my personal favourites is the cooperation between Poetry festival Poetry International and Roteb, the local waste-disposal company. All of the trucks and cars have a line selected by the drivers them very selves. Every phrase had been selected from poets featured in the lineup of the festival. One of my personal favourites is by the Dutch writer Cees Nooteboom: “Everything sleeps. Give me another life and I don’t want it.” The joy of riding your bike and seeing the lines traverse the city, keeping it tidy and at the same time delivering pieces of poetry is what moves me.
Poetry moves but also gives you a quiet moment every now and again. The lines by nighthawk and well-known poet Jules Deelder on the Nieuwe Binnenweg tell you: “The surroundings of man are other people.” When looking at the busy city this really hits home. You will never be alone and this city is made by its inhabitants. Especially in this area where you can find so many nationalities this line is perfectly chosen.
Writers and books immortalized
Not too far from de Nieuwe Binnenweg you can find some lines by Rien Vroegindeweij, one of the better Rotterdam-based poets. His words are simple but carry a clear meaning: “If everybody is from elsewhere, then nobody is a stranger.” Found on the walls at the West-Kruiskade, Rotterdams Chinatown, there might not be a better place.
Not only words but entire book series are immortalized on the Rotterdam streets. Currently taken in for conservation but still an iconic piece normally at Blaak is the statue made to honor the legacy of Marten Toonder. Made by the Artoonisten it portraits well-known figures like Tom Poes, Professor Sickbock, artist Terpen Tijn and some others from the comics Toonder made for many years.
This is just a small selection of many bookish things found in Rotterdam. Be sure to wander around the city and pick your own favorite lines on dumptrucks or that one statue which brings back sentences.