As most visitors know, Rotterdam was heavily bombed by the Germans on May 14th, 1940. The Brandgrens memorial outlines the boundary of the fire that devastated the city center that day. About 80,000 people became homeless, which led to an enormous housing shortage during and after WW2. To alleviate this shortage, multiple temporary housing projects were built around the city. Wielewaal, built in 1949, was one of those projects, originally intended to last 25 years at most.
There is, however, nothing more permanent than temporary solutions, and most of these projects remained inhabited for far longer than planned. In the past decades, almost all of these temporary neighbourhoods were demolished and replaced by permanent housing. Wielewaal is the last one standing, more than 70 years after it was built.
The temporary housing, never intended to last this long, is in a rather sad state now. But over the years, Wielewaal has become a tight-knit community, with some inhabitants having lived here from the very first day. The Wielewaalers see themselves as Asterix and Obelix, fighting to preserve their indomitable village from the invading Big Capital. In the next few years, the last remaining houses in Wielewaal will probably be demolished and rebuilt, but in a style resembling the temporary units that by now have become iconic, if not legendary.