Rotterdammers are champions when it comes to making up nicknames. The Erasmus Bridge, seen in the header, has about 20 different nicknames. “The Swan” is perhaps the most famous. Do you ask someone where the Beurstraverse is, you get raised eyebrows. Never heard of it, but even many from outside Rotterdam will be able to show you the way to “de Koopgoot”. “De Kuip” is known to all of the Dutch football players. A flat built in Blijdorp for single women was named “Hunkerbunker”. A name that has also often been used for the sister houses that were often built next to the hospitals. Not only bridges, roads and buildings are given a nickname. Also many works of art are better known by their nicknames than their original names. Often humorous names that say more than the title and are understandable to everyone.
When the work of art was placed on the façade of the Amsterdam Bank Debit Bank in 1953, many were disgraced. It couldn't be such a naked lady, even without a fig leaf in the middle of the street. Mothers with children walked around a street, to save their children the view of such a moreless image. The statue created by Piet Starreveld is officially called 'the Welvaart', but soon received the names “Bank-Bil-Jet” and “Nakie van het Blakie”. That last name is no longer really applicable because Jet moved from the Blaak to the Coolsingel and is currently on the ABN-AMRO building.
This artwork, designed by Naum Gabo, stands for the Bijenkorf on the Coolsingel. It was placed in 1957 and bears the official name “The Stylized Flower”. A name that is rarely used. De Rotterdammer talks about “The Thing”, “De Stoppnaald”, “Het Spoorwegongeluk”, “De Gaboboom” or for short “De Gabo”. It has been urged for years to restore the image because it is actually starting to look more and more like the rusting and rotting remains of a railway accident.
One of the most famous and impressive works of art is the statue “Destroyed City” by Ossip Zadkine. According to tradition, the sculptor got the idea for the statue when he got off the train in Rotterdam in 1946. Back in Paris, he creates a plaster sculpture that is exhibited at the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum and purchased by them. In 1949, a top man of the Bijenkorf, Dr. G.V.D. Wal, saw the statue and had a bronze cast made. Originally he insists that the municipality should buy the statue, but eventually the Bijenkorf will take on the cost of the image. This is the beginning of a long process in which the image is exhibited in various places in order to obtain the greatest possible support from the inhabitants of Rotterdam. The Bijenkorf is prepared to take on the cost of the statue provided that the city council unanimously chooses the placement of the statue. Eventually the statue was placed on the northern head of the Leuvehaven in 1953. The image is popularly called “Jan Gat”, “Jan with the Handjes”, “The man without heart"or “Zadkini”.
In 2001, the International Sculpture Collection commissioned the American artist to create this image. The official title is “Santa Claus”. The image will be placed at De Doelen but that leads directly to fierce protests because of the sexual connotation that the creator does not deny. It is decided to put the statue in the courtyard of the Boymans where it is officially revealed. As soon as it moves temporarily to the sidewalk in front of Boymans while waiting for placement at the Koopgoot because the museum is going to renovate. But the shopkeepers of the Koopgoot protest fiercely and so one has to look for a suitable place for Santa again. The retailers on the Binnenweg think that the image will produce the necessary loop and sign up. Eventually “Leprechaun Buttplug” gets a final place on the Eendrachtsplein as part of the Westersingel Sculpture Route.