Last week I stayed in Rotterdam for a few days and was able to visit one of my most favorite suburbs in the Netherlands, Katendrecht. This suburb has changed from a rural village with villas for the rich to a working class harbour area, the first Chinatown of Europe, a safehaven for Jews and jazz musicians during the German occupation, a cozy neighbourhood where sailors would come to relax all the way to the most criminal hardcore red-light district in the Netherlands till the turn of the millennium. About 10 years ago, the inhabitants of Katendrecht didn't take it any longer. They forced the local government to renovate the suburb, get rid of the whores and criminals and a huge reconstruction program was set up. New houses for the middle class have been built and the old houses of the formerly red light districts are renovated. These houses are part of this huge project. Once a bar or brothel, now only the brick walls stand.
I'm really fascinated by the way so many different people have felt at home in these houses. A new generation of people will live here, build up their lives and be part of the history of Katendrecht.
The image is an evidence of action, but also a sign of how walls can stand a be spectator of history and action. Completely stripped from its interior, as a viewer I can see what the builders of this house saw, right when the story of Katendrecht started.