Take a virtual tour of Spijkennise, Duncan Laurence’s home town

postcard showing 4 black and white photographs of views of a town. The words 'Groeten uit Spijkenisse' are printed.

Though now cancelled, the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest was due to be held in the Netherlands, thanks to Duncan Laurence’s victory in 2019.

In his song Arcade, Duncan, who is from the small town of Spijkenisse, mentions his home town, singing about being ‘a small town boy in a big arcade’.

But where is Spijkenisse and what’s to be found there? Let’s take a virtual trip to this town in South Holland through digitised cultural heritage.

Spijkenisse is located on a creek of the Oude Maas river. Its name comes from the words spieke (spit) and nesse (nose) meaning ‘pointy nose’ referring to a spit of land along the river.

There’s evidence that the areas around Spijkenisse have been populated for centuries, with a farming and fishing village growing alongside the creek.

EXPLORE MORE: Archaeological findings from Spijkenisse at Museum Rotterdam

This part of the Netherlands, in particular, is a delta. Railways, motorways, tunnels and bridges link areas that are separated by seas and water. The Spijkenisse bridge was first built in 1903, primarily as a railway bridge.

The oldest building in Spijkenisse is the village church, built in the mid 15th century.

EXPLORE MORE: See more photographs of Spijkenisse Church

Windmills are a symbol of the Netherlands. Spijkenisse is home to the Nooitgedacht flour mill, which was built around 1840.

collage of three photographs of a windmill
Three views of Spijkenisse windmill – one by F. Wessel, two, three – Vereniging De Hollandsche Molen, CC BY-SA

From the 1960s onwards, Spijkenisse grew from a small village to a large town, in part due to it being nearby the port of Rotterdam. Through the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, thousands of homes were built, and the Rotterdam metro reached the town.

The proximity to water and Delta Works – a series of construction projects in the region to protect land from the sea – and the fact the town developed in the latter half of the 20th century, has led to interesting examples of 20th century architecture in the town’s public and civic buildings.

The Spijkenisse public library, called De Boekenberg, is shaped like a pyramid or mountain.

Are you from or have you visited Spijkenisse? Let us know in the comments below.

By Adrian Murphy, Europeana Foundation

Feature image: Vier foto fragmenten van Spijkenisse, Vereniging De Hollandsche Molen, CC BY-SA

2 thoughts on “Take a virtual tour of Spijkennise, Duncan Laurence’s home town

  1. Many thanks for taking me back 30 years when I lived & worked in Zuid-Holland. Loved my strippenkaart as well as my museumjaarkaart. I expect they’ve gone digital these days but I wish the principles applied elsewhere.

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