Vesu Liukku, son to Finnish parents, moved from Ghent to Rotterdam in 1972. It was quite a change for him to relocate from the historic architecture of the old Belgian town to the relatively recently built Dutch city on the riverbanks of the Meuse. Mr Liukku had found a job in Rotterdam teaching biology. When they first moved there, he and his wife lived in Charlois. Not the best area: “It was worthless, but it cost next to nothing too.” Then the Hoogkwartier area - where the couple found a new home - known as an authentic ‘pork chop neighbourhood’, a colloquialism that meant it was upscale enough for people to afford fancier cuts of meat.
It was quite a change for him to relocate from the historic architecture of the old Belgian town to the relatively recently built Dutch city on the riverbanks of the Meuse.
From middle-class to yuppie
Various middle-class locals shared a street entrance with their flat on Groenendaal, like the neighbours who ran several angler shops. And the building had a concierge too, who lived just around the corner. You could knock on his door for help with all sorts of problems. The concierge told Mr Liukku that the apartment block had been one of the first structures to be built in the devastated downtown area. The building is now mainly home to yuppies and students, who rent a flat in pairs or groups.
You could knock on his door for help with all sorts of problems.
The Hoogkwartier area was a nice neighbourhood for raising children. It was quiet and had lots of room for them to play outside. The living room faced Groenendaal, overlooking the Meuse River; the old inner harbour lay abandoned at that point. When the puddles of water on the fallow ground there froze over in the winter, the children loved to go ice skating.
The children that shared their staircase had come up with a pulley system with buckets on ropes that could go back and forth between the balconies. There aren’t many children living in the neighbourhood these days. Mr Liukku is not opposed to possible changes in the area; it may be time for “a bit more life” here. But any changes should take the neighbourhood’s unique character into account. In fact: “you should grab that chance with both hands,” he says.
Mr Liukku is not opposed to possible changes in the area; it may be time for “a bit more life” here.