4.5 Essenburgpark / wilderness playground

De Speeldernis

Most city parks are built by municipal services, but they do not have to be. Through different initiatives by local residents, a continuous park area is forming along a busy railway line at the edge of the Middelland district in Rotterdam, experiencing nature being the joint characteristic of all these initiatives. In natural playground De Speeldernis (‘Playderness’), children from the city can play in nature. Not just in nature, but also with nature: they can watch frogs and insects, for example, and local schools use it as a classroom. The hilly terrain with different water features was designed at the location of a former conventional playground. Parents took the initiative to realize one of the first natural playgrounds in Netherlands together with the municipality of Rotterdam. Further on, other groups of residents discovered a narrow strip of land as spontaneous nature and opened it up step by step. Several initiatives such as nature (kitchen) garden Spoortuin (‘Rail Garden’) and neighbourhood orchard De Pluktuin (‘Picking Garden’) and Ieders Tuin (‘Everybody’s Garden’). Now, the local residents have taken the initiative to lay out the entire stretch along the track as one continuous park: the Essenburgpark.

-Rotterdam (NL) From 2000

-DAF-architecten, Spoortuin, de Pluktuin, Ieders Tuin (Essenbugpark), Sigrun Lobst (De Speeldernis)