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The Public Architects (PA) Committee promotes excellence in public architecture and enhances the role of the public architect as an essential element in the planning, design, construction, and management of public facilities. Join us!

Report from Rotterdam: Part 1 - Transportation

  • 1.  Report from Rotterdam: Part 1 - Transportation

    Posted 03-29-2023 04:57 PM

    Rotterdam 2023: Part 1 - Transportation 

    "20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." – Mark Twain


    The sister City relationship between Baltimore (pop 600,000) and Rotterdam (pop 650,000) is brought to life by the Sister City Committee and by various activities of individuals and organizations that believe exchange is fruitful, including Morgan State University's professor Cristina Murphy (MSU). Various business and cultural relations exist including through the Baltimore Creative Alliance. Murphy also organized and moderated a Baltimore Rotterdam webinar series addressing urban design issues. Through my past teaching and current mentoring role Morgan State University I was invited to participate in the program:

    View of the Erasmus Bridge from de Rotterdam
    Students and faculty from Morgan State University School of Architecture + Planning will travel to Baltimore's sister city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands during March 12–19, 2023. The trip includes visits to architecture / landscape architecture / urban design firms such as OMA and MVRDV, visits to architecture schools, architecture tours, lectures, and more. Side trips are planned to other cities such as Amsterdam or Antwerp in Belgium. Environmental sustainability will be a focus during the trip. The students will also participate in activities at Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and Urban Design (RAvB).

    In April 2023, RAvB students will reciprocate the exchange by coming to Baltimore to study infrastructure sites similar to the Rotterdam site in their design studio, and learn about Baltimore's efforts to heal the divides caused by past infrastructure projects. (Sister City website)

     In a series of articles I will describe my most noteworthy insights and experiences from this trip. I begin with travel itself and the topic of transportation.


    Diving from the eternally blue sky of the airplane cruising altitude through the thick cloud cover hanging over Amsterdam's Schiphol airport the first glimpses are the usual airport impressions so much shrouded in mist and rain that one has to admire the precision landing under those conditions. My entry into Europe had already occurred at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, so once inside Europe's "Schengen area" no further passport control has to be mastered. 


    My luggage consisting only of what the Royal Dutch airline KLM allows on board, I can head straight for the train and the first ticket vending machine  I can find, something unnecessary as I learned soon after, since all Dutch train stations have turn stiles and chip equipped credit cards are themselves an option for payment. They open the gate on departure and once again at arrival and magically deduct the correct amount based on the distance travelled. Quite like Washington's metro, just spread over the whole country. 

    Main train station Rotterdam

    Arriving at the platform I take advantage of a late intercity train sitting there ready to depart...(READ FULLARTICLE HERE)

    [Klaus] Philipsen FAIA
    Archplan Inc. Philipsen Architects
    Baltimore MD
    Safety Assessment Program Evaluator Training 2023, December 6 and 7. Earn 6.5 LUs HSW