Since it was renovated, I’m a big fan of the station. I might not be Rotterdam native, but I’m still proud of our station.

Laura Klaassen has lived in her apartment overlooking Lijnbaan for 16 years. From the sofa of her living room – packed with plants – the view stretches from city hall to the shopping thoroughfare, encompassing everything in between. She invited us to take a look around her home, which is a veritable green haven amid the walls of urban concrete.

Have you always wanted to live here?
‘’My love of Rotterdam needed time to take root. I was born in Brabant and somehow always had a negative view of Rotterdam, growing up. But I think the city was also very different back then compared to now. The station didn’t feel safe and I just didn’t like any of it. I definitely didn’t have dreams of moving to Rotterdam. After graduating university I was offered a job here. I got to know the city better and, bit by bit, I fell in love. Less than a year later one of my colleagues sent me through to view this flat. I remember walking down the gallery in the dark and seeing all the city lights, and the idea that I could ever be lucky enough to live here felt out of reach. But the dream came true and now it really feels like home. It’s a lovely place.’’

Can you ever see yourself moving?
‘’Well, I am getting on a bit, haha. There could come a point where all the commotion of the city, which is still so exciting now, may eventually get to be too much. I’m starting to reach that phase where I need some more peace and quiet. But I don’t even want to think about actually leaving this place behind. If I could choose, I’d love to have another small house in the woods or by the sea to escape to whenever I need quiet. That would really be the best of both worlds.’’

Is there anything you feel is missing in the Central District?
‘’I know people are working hard on this, but we really need more greenery. The centre is basically a big mess of concrete with five trees. That needs to change; the lack of plant life is really out of step with our times and something I do miss in the city. I know the municipality is working hard on new designs for Schouwburgplein and Hofplein, amongst others, and I really am looking forward to see those plans come to life. I have loads of plants in my house and even though the view from my apartment is amazing – like a painting that’s constantly changing with the light or the weather – it’s a shame that there’s none of that amid all the buildings.’’

What is your favourite spot?
‘’Since it was renovated, I’m a big fan of the station. I might not be Rotterdam native, but I’m still proud of our station. It feels like something that belongs to all of us, that we all can enjoy. It’s a really cool spot with an original and eye-catching design. But as far as naming one favourite spot…? I take evening walks through the city sometimes and marvel at everything, and above all I just love the city’s energy. There’s so much going on, and it’s all close by. I do have a bike, but that’s really more for show, because I hardly ever use it, haha.’’

Text: Tessa Burger
Photography: Meisje met de camera