Mik Hartman

Humans of Central District: Mik Hartman


TEXT: BIANCA WIJNSTEKERS-HANDY PHOTOGRAPHY: ANTIM
The name is Mik. Mik Hartman. This born and raised Schiedammer crossed over to Rotterdam 25 years ago, and for good as far as he’s concerned. He experienced the turbulence of he nineties and saw Rotterdam blacklisted in many respects. From his former office in the Nationale Nederlanden building, he watched as Rotterdam quite literally climbed out of the gutter. “There were suddenly towers shooting out of the ground everywhere. I can remember as a kid going to the deer park where the casino is now. Hard to believe, isn’t it?”
This man is a walking encyclopaedia when it comes to his beloved city. “I’m at the helm of By Mik Tours and give guided tours of the city.” Then surely, he could tell us something about the RCD area? The flood gates open: “At the ground level of the FIRST building, you see an unusual brick wall from the old Bouwcentrum, Wall Relief No. 1., made by Henry Moore in 1955. In WWII, Moore lived in a London infiltrated by Germans. The organic shapes sticking out of the wall, as the story goes, represent the people that huddled together under blankets in the metro shafts during the air raids. In the low light, you could only just see the contours of the heaps of people.”
“And how do you like the work of art, Zebra in de Nesten (Zebra in Trouble)? During the bombing, the Germans hit the old zoo. Apparently, there were zebras stumbling around the Diergaardesingel and a sea lion had to be lifted out of the Westersingel. But the most beautiful to me is always Kruisplein. And what you don’t see: the underground water basin, where excess rain water is stored and carried off once the water level has dropped again. An impressive feat of water management, keeping our feet dry. In the old days, this area was a sorry sight. Now, with the red-paved road leading you into town, it is the loveliest city welcome of the Netherlands.”
www.bymiktours.nl
20 augustus 2019
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