As the most densely populated country of the European Union, and one of the most densely populated countries in the world, the Netherlands engages in the constant struggle to balance population requirements with the need for green urban spaces.
Green spaces and public parks not only benefit the emotional well-being of citizens, but are also invaluable tools for filtering pollutants and dust from the air and for providing much-needed sanctuary to the local fauna.
Rotterdam, as a once sterile and concrete city that evolved predominantly around a large working port, embarked upon many urban projects designed to enhance the living space for its population. In recent years, Rotterdam has completely rejuvenated its appearance and its reputation.
However, with such high population density, homes tend to be small. Apartment living in Rotterdam is incredibly common. Without private gardens, Rotterdammers turn to public outdoor space for entertainment and an opportunity to be closer to nature. From hosting birthday parties and barbecues, to just relaxing in the sun, parks play a fundamental part in urban life here.
Rotterdam Urban Gardens
Separate from public parks, urban gardens, large and small, are dotted throughout Rotterdam, including across the rooftops. Here is a compilation of some of my favourite urban gardens of Rotterdam.
Urban Garden No.1: By Marconiplein
By a canal walk parallel to Spaansebocht, near Marconiplein, and under the gaze of the Rotterdam Science Towers, this urban garden is a haven for people and wildlife alike.
Flowers, plants and vegetables are flourishing in this wonderful example of urban gardening.
Every bit of space is used in this bountiful city centre nook, including the shed rooftops.
Bees, butterflies, birds, rabbits and probably much, much more, all call this garden home.
Urban Garden No.2: Under Luchtsingel
Hidden, though not quite secret, these little gardens can be found in the most unexpected of places in Rotterdam. This urban jewel near Hofplein makes for a strangely tranquil place to watch the trains pass by on their way to Rotterdam Centraal Station. The infamous yellow wooden footbridge – Luchtsingel – that shelters the garden also keeps the city’s pedestrian traffic at bay. Discovering this urban beauty-spot requires a step away from the main drag.