Waalhaven - Winter 1999
I visited the end of the Waalhaven many times. It was a romantic place to explore. Now it has been redeveloped into businesses and parks. But a part of the atmosphere is still there. – These are the pictures from the video camera. More pictures and stories are here, here and here.
The Waalhaven is a long thin peninsula in the Rotterdam harbour. It has some official businesses, some dodgy businesses (“growth shops”), and a lot of warehouses and remains of old 1900 industry.
Not many trains come here anymore. We could play with the rails and climb on the locomotive that was hidden in one of the sheds. And it was not a very dangerous location, so I could even take my son with me.
There are lots of interesting playthings, like one meter long round bars of steel that roll with a nice ringing sound. Or truck parts that work like huge see-saws.
We are on the “wrong” side of the river. The view of the city centre on the “right” side is spectacular.
I’ve been up those rusty stairs many times. Often I’ve wondered whether I would stumble into a secret drugs deal and get killed … that’s my biggest worry when exploring the harbour.
An empty guard cabin. I like those silent empty places. I could sit in that chair and close the door behind me and be at peace with myself.
We climbed that huge crane with Dan Armstrong. It was full of oil and rust, we never did get quite high, it was simply too awe inspiring. Cogwheels bigger than two men.
I always wanted to crawl under the dock, or use a rubber boat to float in that dark space between the columns, but it never happened …

Every fragment of space is used and re-used. As the warehouse is being demolished it’s space is taken by a container repair company and granite stone cubes. They were cool – though heavy - building blocks for my son.

Finally we found this dead seagull. It must have died the previous day, it was all intact and clean. The morning dew had condensed on its feathers like glass pearls. When I die I would like to go like that.
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Petr Kazil

August 2005