Work Hard, Play Harder


There’s a local expression here loosely translated to “you make money in Rotterdam, divide it at the Hague, and spend it in Amsterdam.”  Whereas Amsterdam is the cultural epicenter and the Hague more or less a government seat of the Netherlands, Rotterdam is this country’s no-nonsense, worker-bee kind of city.  It’s my kind of town. But on this day, when there’s a summer carnival going on, I think their motto is work hard, play harder.


I’ve come to Rotterdam to soak in its architectural history and future. Home to the Netherlands Architectural Institute (NAI),  Kunsthal, Erasmus Bridge, and prominent architects like Rem Koolhaas (cool name), it is just a really cool city with innovative architecture from all decades.


Yesss, I hear you groaning already…and yes, I am taking you to all these places! That reminds me, when I was on the road somewhere I overheard a young American girl mumbling to her parents as they waited in line at the museum, “This is so agonizingly boring.”  I looked at her parents and chuckled.  Big vocabulary for a preteen, and so apt. I’d found that museum boring, too.


I arrive in Rotterdam via subway and I wish I’d jotted down the name of the metro stop.  The train is jampacked with a million very tall 20-somethings and I follow the mass exodus at that one stop. I figure wherever they’re going there has to be something going on.  Turns out it’s that carnaval thingy. There is loud music coming out of bars, restaurants, floats and people are dancing, smoking, shouting everywhere…


and when there’s this much beer flowing everywhere, the city has to get creative to prevent peeing on the street by letting them…pee on the street (look at the picture below and this last sentence will make sense):


Yes, I can hear you thanking me for that picture already (haha).  But that’s how my day has begun in Rotterdam. Tomorrow let’s go see the city in earnest.


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