The Schiedammer Online
Photos: Louise Melchers
SCHIEDAM – Apart from a single chair, the first edition of the Schie Café, at the library last night, was sold out. The audience was presented with a series of interesting lectures with the blue line through the river, to which our almost 750-year-old city owes its origin. The Schiedam band Sjarm, who played world music, provided the musical accompaniment.
The Schie Café started the cultural manifestation ‘See de Schie’. Organizer is Kulturforum Schiedam. Councilor Frans Hamerslag opened Schie Café. When asked for a personal anecdote about Schie, he told the public that – like Gorzenees – he had learned to swim in Schie, not entirely free of oil on the water in his youth. “I am Schiedammer, and I derive my identity from the Schie, the river that starts at Gorzen. The river is of great importance to Schiedam, but is relatively unknown. Schie’s fame deserves a boost. After all, this is the river where we can be so incredibly proud of.”
The second speaker, architect-researcher Paul Meurs, went deeper into the history of Schie, which – he suggested in response to Hamerslag’s argument – does not actually start in Gorzen, but ends in Nieuwe Maas. There are actually four Schies: Delfshavense Schie, Delftse Schie, Rotterdamse Schie and Schiedamse Schie. “But the real Schie, it’s the Schie in Schiedam,” said Meurs, who has lived at Lange Haven for twelve years. “De Schie actually ends at Zakkendragershuisje, it’s no different,” said speaker Han van der Horst. That the water in Schie still reaches the Nieuwe Maas is via what are called Lange Haven, Buitenhaven and Voorhaven.
Ecologist Ernst Raaphorst and designer Lucas Zoutendijk were discussed in a discussion led by presenter Marion Keete, who has been a reporter at RTV Rijnmond for 23 years. Lucas Zoutendijk talked about his designs, such as a water-oriented design in Rotterdam, the ‘Eendenstraat’. This is a temporary structure in the water which is nice to see and where waterfowl and other animals can live. Keete’s question about where a design of his could be used in Schiedam was not really answered, except to point out that there is ‘a crazy bridge’ in Schie between Overschie and Schiedam which can be used by cyclists as ‘access to the nature reserve Midden-Delfland’ can be seen. The Schiedam audience unmistakably sensed that Keete and Raaphorst are not exactly at home in Schiedam and that they meant the Roller Bridge. This bridge dates from 1882 and connects the Overschieseweg in Rotterdam with the Polderweg in Schiedam-Kethel.
Ecologist Ernst Raaphorst has a thing for Schiedam. Armed with an underwater camera, he dived into the waters around Korenbeurs and made beautiful pictures of the underwater world. Roak, bream and bass pass by among the green underwater, an eel disappears into a hole between the rocks, you see different types of clams stuck to the quay wall, and the lush exotic American crayfish also passes by. Raaphorst also made this kind of film in other cities. What he noticed in the waters of the city of Schiedam is that he has also seen pike there. “It’s surprising and very cool,” says Raaphorst. The audience was mesmerized by the footage, but Keete’s minute-long video was too long and she had to mute the video to continue the (not so interesting) conversation.
The last speaker was Steven Delva, the landscape architect who was named architect of the year in November 2021. He has been employed by the municipality of Schiedam to advise on urban development such as the Glasfabriek area and Schieveste (the area between the railway and the A20). After the impassioned speech from the Belgian living in Amsterdam, Jacqueline Verhees (landscape architect working for the municipality of Schiedam) joined us for a closing discussion.
She was responding to what Delva had said about his advice given to Rotterdam for the development of the Rotterdam Merwe-Vierhavens area (M4H). It would be nice if the Schiedams perspective would also be well served here, says Verhees. The residents of Schiedam-East also want to have access to a park-like area within a short walking distance with a view of the harbor water and Nye Maas. According to Delva, it will eventually succeed because from Grensflat to Dakpark in Rotterdam there will be a winding green strip between the buildings for cyclists and walkers.
Verhees also briefly discussed ‘a crazy bridge’. “It’s the Roller Bridge. It will be renewed in some time. The bridge keeper’s house will be put in its original condition. It is a bridge with historical value.”
Several ‘Schie Tours’ are planned for Saturday and Sunday. These are not all fully booked yet. For program and booking see this website. Annemarie Sour from organizer Kulturforum Schiedam indicated that it is also possible to ask Ine Elderkamp ‘last minute’ at Lange Haven 75 about which tours are still available. Subject to availability, reservations can be made on site. Almost all tours start at Lange Haven 75.
The first Schie Café was a success, said Annemarie Sour in her closing speech, and more will follow in the run up to the 750th anniversary of the town of Schiedam. “We will gradually increase the frequency of the Schie Café towards the city anniversary and we will also include the Schie-related areas around Schiedam in the content”, says Sour.
Throughout the evening, Sour skillfully passed the room microphone to allow the audience to join in the discussion. One of the questioners, historian Reinard Maarleveld, said he was concerned about high-rise buildings such as in Schieveste and the 70-metre high tower block The Miller on ‘s-Gravelandseweg. The latter danger is over, various people present in the room reacted (the province has spoken out against the adjustment of the mill biotope that the municipality intends). Van der Horst agreed with his fellow historian and indicated that the danger is not really over. Keete downplayed the discussion. It was reacting emotionally to individual plans, that’s how she handled it. What matters is the policy, a total vision. Does the municipality have such a comprehensive vision, she asked councilor Hamerslag. It was not surprising that the councilor responded affirmatively to this ‘open door’.
All in all, it was a successful evening, the continuation of which is appreciated, was the general tenor of the audience, with the only dissonant performance by presenter Keete, who went off the rails at the beginning when he introduced Han van der Horst. “He’s probably the oldest here…” What followed was an uneasy hum from the crowd. Keete didn’t feel it; she continued to ask who was older in the room: the buzz and no answer to this irrelevant question. But it was not enough. In the final phase of the evening, Van der Horst, who was involved in Schiedam, had indicated the importance of energy-neutral construction in Schiedam. Councilor Frans Hamerslag agreed with this interest. Addressing Van der Horst, Keete summarily concluded: “I hope you will experience it.” Han van der Horst is 73 years old.