Laura Klaassen has lived in her apartment overlooking Lijnbaan for 16 years. From the sofa of her living room – packed with plants – the view stretches from city hall to the shopping thoroughfare, encompassing everything in between.
She invited us to take a look around her home, which is a veritable green haven amid the walls of urban concrete.
‘’My love of Rotterdam needed time to take root. I was born in Brabant and somehow always had a negative view of Rotterdam, growing up. But I think the city was also very different back then compared to now. The station didn’t feel safe and I just didn’t like any of it. I definitely didn’t have dreams of moving to Rotterdam."
"After graduating university I was offered a job here. I got to know the city better and, bit by bit, I fell in love. Less than a year later one of my colleagues sent me through to view this flat. I remember walking down the gallery in the dark and seeing all the city lights, and the idea that I could ever be lucky enough to live here felt out of reach. But the dream came true and now it really feels like home. It’s a lovely place.’’
‘’Well, I am getting on a bit, haha. There could come a point where all the commotion of the city, which is still so exciting now, may eventually get to be too much. I’m starting to reach that phase where I need some more peace and quiet. But I don’t even want to think about actually leaving this place behind. If I could choose, I’d love to have another small house in the woods or by the sea to escape to whenever I need quiet. That would really be the best of both worlds.’’
‘’I know people are working hard on this, but we really need more greenery. The centre is basically a big mess of concrete with five trees. That needs to change; the lack of plant life is really out of step with our times and something I do miss in the city."
"I know the municipality is working hard on new designs for Schouwburgplein and Hofplein, amongst others, and I really am looking forward to see those plans come to life. I have loads of plants in my house and even though the view from my apartment is amazing – like a painting that’s constantly changing with the light or the weather – it’s a shame that there’s none of that amid all the buildings.’’
‘’Since it was renovated, I’m a big fan of the station. I might not be Rotterdam native, but I’m still proud of our station. It feels like something that belongs to all of us, that we all can enjoy. It’s a really cool spot with an original and eye-catching design. But as far as naming one favourite spot...? I take evening walks through the city sometimes and marvel at everything, and above all I just love the city’s energy. There’s so much going on, and it’s all close by. I do have a bike, but that’s really more for show, because I hardly ever use it, haha.’’