Rotterdam’s Hofbogen: a testament to the city’s survivalist spirit.
One hundred years ago these tracks were home to the Rotterdam and The Hague elite, out for a trip to the seaside or a night on the town. These days, the big-skirted ladies have made way for bearded beer aficionados and coffee-loving bicycle enthusiasts. And there’s even talk of a Rotterdam version of New York’s famous High Line. Welcome to the Hofbogen!
The two kilometers of elevated railway tracks stretch all the way from Rotterdam Central Station to the northern edge of the city. Built between 1904 and 1908, the Hofbogen were the first part of a 28 kilometer railway line to Scheveningen, the beachside neighborhood of The Hague. The main station of the line was a decadent art nouveau building designed by renowned Rotterdam architect Jacobus Pieter Stok. The building was a perfect reflection of its visitors: rich ladies and gentlemen from The Hague, or elite Rotterdammers heading out for a day at the beach. Much like many of the city’s architectural gems, however, the grand main hall was destroyed during the bombings in 1940, and the railway line started a slow transition into urban decay. On Monday, August 16 2010, the last train left the Hofplein station. But long before that, a group of people decided to save the elevated railway tracks and restore their former glory by giving them a new purpose.
Read more on A City Made by People.