Tree doctor Ronald Loch has been in the business for 35 years. What started as a caregiver, hanging in the trees, has grown into a consultant. A function that did not exist, but was badly needed. There is no one in the city who knows greenery as well as Ronald.
As a consultant, he has hundreds of ideas for the city and helps if there is a problem with the trees. Because ultimately the goal is to make Rotterdam green and safe.
Every green spot in the city is beautiful, but every spot is at its best in the morning. When the city wakes up, Ronald is often already busy. "If I start early and I have to see something in the city, I am sometimes there around a quarter past seven. Then you see the city wake up and I think that is so beautiful. I always say good morning to everyone."
One of Ronald's favourite places in the city is the Veerhaven, located in the classic Scheepvaartkwartier. In addition to the beautiful avenues and stately mansions, it feels like going back in time here.
"Early in the morning I can really imagine how it used to be here. With old boats and men carrying bags off the boats. I cherish those moments".
Walking along the Parklaan, the trees serve as shelter and provide a beautiful view. After a short walk you arrive in Het Park, with the Euromast showing off in the background.
"The original plan for Het Park is coming back. It is a long road, but the municipality is working with designers to restore this park as it was intended. The Park contains a rich flora and fauna and, thanks to, among other things, the special planting designated as a protected national monument.
Right next to Het Park is a hidden gem, namely Schoonoord. Another favourite of Ronald's that he likes to visit.
If you like beautiful trees, this is certainly not a miss. Because in the garden you will find a huge Lebanon cedar and a brown beech, real eye-catchers from around 1860. But old venom trees, a trumpet tree, a wingnut and an American tulip tree also adorn this place.
A tree that you may have walked past a dozen times is of course the Lijnbaan Plataan. A beautiful large tree from 1851 that survived the bombing.
The tree is not only very beautiful, it is also functional. Ronald: "Under the tree you feel the coolness, which serves the shoppers in the summer. A mature tree in the city has a cooling capacity of ten air conditioners! So it's important that we have enough trees in the streets".
The municipality is working on seven places that will be made greener, such as Hofplein. But the Rijnhaven is also being overhauled. This is because a Rijnhaven park will be built here, on the water. "That means putting on a swimsuit on the job," says Ronald jokingly.
But it is precisely in these urban places that trees are so important. "People who live and stay in a green environment, they find it pleasant. They are happier and more energetic than people who live in a gray environment. If you are in the Erasmus MC hospital and Het Park is opposite, then you'll be in the hospital a day less than someone looking out at a concrete wall. The value of the greenery simply cannot be expressed in money."
But not only the Rijnhaven Park is an important project. The city must be greener. "In the past period we have noticed that people are moving to nature. To take a walk, for example. We are busy getting more trees in the city and expanding some places, so that dust is collected, there is cooling and people feel happier."
We are lucky to have people like Ronald, who are always working to make the city a bit more beautiful, safer and more liveable. But what can we do ourselves?
"Fortunately, there is little vandalism around the trees. But what would really help is making your own garden greener. Nowadays you see that the front and back gardens are full of stones. This causes flooding and does not help the living environment of the animals. A green garden is important for your experience, the birds, the hedgehogs that face the winter, the cooling and much more."