A clubhouse with an indoor skate course
Growing up in the Hoogkwartier district was a really great adventure, says Eeva Liukku. For her the service streets were a paradise for playing.
The service streets behind the shopping streets in Hoogkwartier are sometimes perceived as a bit spooky. Quiet alleys, hidden behind the main roads, lined by trade entrances and storage units. They can also offer urban landscapes with lots to discover, however, as Eeva Liukku’s story shows. Eeva grew up on Groenendaal, in a flat that opened onto a shared staircase. She lived just above a Chinese restaurant back then, and there is still a large Chinese restaurant at that location today.
Growing up downtown
Eeva often notices that people find it odd that she grew up in the city centre. Many young families move outwards, relocating to roomier, greener neighbourhoods. That’s nonsense, as far as Eeva is concerned. The Hoogkwartier area had so much for her to discover! When she was younger, she always played by the Achterklooster, an old convent situated nearby, which had a large wooden fort and a real locomotive on a piece of rail track. Not a playground structure, but an actual yellow-painted locomotive.
Eeva often notices that people find it odd that she grew up in the city centre. Many young families move outwards, relocating to roomier, greener neighbourhoods.
Service streets as perfect playgrounds
Later, as Eeva grew older, the service streets turned out to be one big perfect playground for Eeva and her best friend. There were all sorts of things to discover in those alleys. Eeva could climb down the fire escape from her house via the balconies and walk over the roofs of the commercial premises below. “In retrospect, it may have been a little dangerous.” She played there countless times, especially in the Sint-Janshof courtyard. A car park not far away offered an ideal secret clubhouse, with a private indoor skate track. The secret clubhouse was vital, since the young friends loved to play detective, even using real walkie-talkies. Back when Eeva was still playing in the alleys, there were still lots of garages in the neighbourhood; these businesses have vanished almost entirely from the area.
Eeva could climb down the fire escape from her house via the balconies and walk over the roofs of the commercial premises below.
The fact that there must have been occasional altercations in the neighbourhood wasn’t entirely lost on Eeva. She recalls threats being sent to the Chinese restaurant that occupied the ground floor below them at the time. More than anything else, Eeva remembers wonderful expeditions exploring the area. The Hoogkwartier may be viewed by some as an atypical neighbourhood to grow up in, but she enjoyed it. “A child makes the best of everything.” She feels like a true city kid and is happy about it: “Growing up like that makes you creative.”
The Hoogkwartier may be viewed by some as an atypical neighbourhood to grow up in, but she enjoyed it.
- The story of
- Eeva Liukku