Rotterdam and the SoDoSoPa-effect

I love my city Rotterdam. Though I have to admit I am filled with fear when I see it changing. Foreign influences are slowly changing, nay, contaminating the blissful order we’re used to. And all this merely to partake in global affairs and keep abreast of the times? It is something we shall regret. Oh and just for the record I’m not talking about refugees or something. No, I’m talking about something far more dangerous, they’re active at night(clubs) but able to move around in daylight. They crowd the newly emerging ostentatious food places and are unable to pronounce its pretentiously Italian phrases. Obviously, I am talking about hipsters and the gentrification they bring about.

The South Park episode The City Part of Town (season 19, episode 3) effectively illustrates this occurrence and makes a parody of it. In order to improve the image of the town its mayor and people decide to transform a part of town into SoDoSoPa (South Downtown South Park), a “quaint centre of artisan shops and cafes”. This process is known as gentrification and it looks a little bit like this:

Anyone who has been in Rotterdam will nod his or her head in confirmation when watching this video (which a lot of people apparently did), because, after Amsterdam, Rotterdam has the worst case of hipster infestation, or rather the attempt to lure such an infestation here! The city of Rotterdam is being marked by hip and trendy cafe’s and bistros, all of which attempting to cater to the the equally hip trendsetters and are basically a classic example of style over substance (I have yet to eat at a pizza place which does NOT go easy on the cheese!). The emergence of the Markthal was a major step towards this goal and after it made international headlines we felt like we really deserved our 8th place of the Top Ten Cities to Visit. And if that’s not enough, plans are made for two new bridges to accompany the already famous Willems and Erasmus Bridge in linking north to south and poking the sky(line) in their modernity. Heck, even DutchReview is mercilessly hyping Rotterdam.

And what does this all mean for the city? No one knows for sure, but it will probably have something to do with enduring more of THIS:

God help us...
God help us…

Yes, hipsters have been around for a long time, but let’s be honest here, they are not a “subculture” anymore. They have bred to the point that there are no other subcultures to speak of (when is the last time we saw some good ol’ goths or emos?)! And worse of all, other than the beards which are born out of lumbersexuality (the self-defeating notion that masculinity can be regained through obsessive grooming), it is becoming increasingly harder to clearly designate a hipster. The lines are blurry, thus maybe there are more than we thought there were. Maybe some of your friends are hipsters. Maybe you are a hipster. Maybe I am..!

All cynicism aside though, I love my city. I love the Markthal, I love that were even included in a ‘Top Ten Cities’ list that is not limited to just the Netherlands and I love all the new things which are continuously being planned. But one cannot help but become cynical when your city tries to conform to the trends which are basically the same everywhere else. Why not let us be loved for who we really are? We should have more of that in-your-face Dutchness, the kind that doesn’t bother to explain itself and laughs in the face of political correctness.

Now THAT'S what I mean!
Now THAT’S what I mean!



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