Whenever I am in the proximity of Blaak square, I always make sure to bike towards this house-shaped monument located on the right side of Laurensius Church, if you’re facing its main entrance.
Every time I look at it, I still get the surprise of discovering a quote I hadn’t noticed before. It’s a source of inspiration or advice that I don’t hesitate to recommend to friends. There’s a bench in front of it that invites you to contemplate, to slow down and take in the cocktail of fresh air and wise phrases.
It also happens to be one of the most photogenic monuments in all of Rotterdam. You are framed by the entrance into the house which is made of Delftse Blauw-inspired tiles and you feel like a blue-blooded Dutch intellectual ready to use the hashtag #feelingsmart on Instagram.
What also makes this monument special is that the portrait of Erasmus is imprinted on the monument and his eye is replaced by the window of the house which to me symbolizes his thirst for knowledge – a window to the world.
One of my favourite quotes of Erasmus is: “My own wish is to be a citizen of the world, to be a fellow citizen to all men – a pilgrim better still.” It is paired with the Dutch equivalent – an excellent opportunity to learn your first Dutch words: “Ik wil een burger van de wereld zijn, een landgenot van iedereen.”
To me, it expresses the open-minded spirit of this nation.