These days, many residents in the east of the city centre only live there for a few years before moving on again. Some have been living downtown for decades, however, and have seen the area around their homes evolve with the times. Mr and Mrs De Bruin have been living on Hoogstraat for almost fifty years. They’ll be celebrating half a century there in just a few years.
It took the couple several years to find a home that suited them. After subletting in South for a few years, they were able to move into their current flat. Mrs De Bruin worked at Technische Unie at the time and was able to arrange the house through informal channels. The move was a step up for them: a higher-quality house, but also a better neighbourhood. “We used to say, well then, you live on Hoogstraat?!” The Hoogkwartier area was a real middle-class neighbourhood.
The move was a step up for them: a higher-quality house, but also a better neighbourhood.
A job nearby
Mrs De Bruin has worked at various spots in the Hoogkwartier area. A job nearby was convenient, since she combined her work with caring for their son Barry. Back then, children had lots of places to play in the neighbourhood, but the parents always accompanied them to the Achterklooster convent on the other side of Hoogstraat. There always comes a time that you let your children go though, as Mr De Bruin recalls vividly. He stood on the balcony watching as Barry cycled off.
The couple heads out into town every day for a walk. That is one of the best things about their home, the fact that the city is so close. They are true Rotterdam natives; they saw the city being built, from the Beurstraverse ‘shopping gutter’ to today’s Markthal with its modern indoor market. And there’s always something to see and do in the city. That love of the city centre never goes away. Even when they lived in Rotterdam South, they still felt the lure of downtown. Mrs De Bruin laughs: “If he needed new socks, he just had to go into the city. Seems like you stand out as a city local, since you see each other every day.” The duo always run into familiar faces on their walk, like a poetess who dresses in pink every single day. They’re all strangers at first, but “then you talk to each other and discover that you all have shared stories”. There used to be more shared stories in the Hoogkwartier area. Mr and Mrs De Bruin knew everyone back then, but that’s no longer the case. There were times that they’d sit eight to a balcony in the evenings. Sitting on your balcony back then, you would have looked down on lots of little gardens by the workshops along the service courtyard.
That love of the city centre never goes away. Even when they lived in Rotterdam South, they still felt the lure of downtown.
- The story of
- Meneer en mevrouw De Bruin