Film en beelden in de stad

Het heruitvinden van de steden is in gevallen zoals Los Angeles iets urgenter dan hier, maar een huizenmarkt die niet op slot is en een leuke publieke ruimte zou ik hier ook op prijs stellen.

Die leuke publieke ruimte is in Rotterdam al heel lang een probleem. Op een paar straten en pleinen na is het een bijzonder onplesante stad. Daar komt nog eens bij dat in de komend paar jaar zowel Lantaren/Venster als Cinerama gaan sluiten en wat ervoor terug komt is nog niet duidelijk.

“Of de opening van de nieuwe vestiging nauw aansluit op de sluiting van Cinerama valt te bezien.”

Een stadscentrum zonder filmhuis is wat mij betreft niet de moeite waard. Wie dat ook vindt kan dan eindelijk ook naar Amsterdam verhuizen.

Wat voor Cinerama in de plaats komt is een woontoren van minimaal 70 meter hoog en een winkelcentrum. Zou er niet genoeg gelegenheid tot winkelen zijn in het centrum van Rotterdam?

Maar nu blijkt dus dat die woontorens aan de Maas het helemaal zijn in Rotterdam. Dan bedachten wij een leuk plan: we bouwen aan de Maas een sluitende haag van woontorens aan weerszijden. Deze woontorens overkoepelen en overbruggen de maas vanaf 70 meter, zodat als je in het midden woont je door je glazen vloer de schepen onder je door kunt zien varen.
In het achterland van die woontorens slopen we alle gebouwen van na de oorlog (geleidelijk) en herstellen de omgeving in de ouwe staat met veel natuur eromheen. Rotterdammers blij, toeristen blij, iedereen blij.

Maar dit soort plannen daargelaten; er is morgen in NAi een lezing “The Big Picture” over beeldschermen in de publieke ruimte. Ik heb geen idee of ze aan het thema ubicomp gaan raken of dat het een navelstaarfeest van architecten en reclamemensen wordt, maar ik zou zeggen ga erheen en take back the city.

Rita kan ook niet meer doen

Vandaag op Twitter al gezien dat Rita Verdonk goed aangepakt is door Alexander Pechtold. Kijk het filmpje op dumpert, opleggen en erin schieten.

Ik vind het sowieso ongeloofwaardig dat Rita Verdonk op dit moment direct voeling heeft met het moraal van onze troepen. Kan iemand dit bevestigen?

Zoals ik op Jaiku al schrijf, als je iemand verbaal zo hard aan kunt pakken dat ze hun voeting verliezen, dan ben je goed.

En dat D’66, dat is misschien nog wel wat.

Nomadz and Androids

Biked to the Hague yesterday and spent part of the day coworking at my friends over at Nomadz. Just when I had to leave for our appointment at the notary Peter dropped by and demoed some very cool applications on the Android G1 phone he’d just gotten from T-Mobile.

Here’s a short video demoing the box the phone comes in (and if the box already is this cool, you can imagine what the phone is like):

Android G1 Box from Alper Çugun on Vimeo.

Post Distribution

Today I got the idea and I think I’ve seen spectrum plots like these before but I couldn’t quite figure out where. So I dumped all my blogposts and got into Processing to plot it out. It should look something like this but less ugly:

Temporal Distribution of my Blogposts

It clearly shows when I started blogging on this WordPress in April of 2007 and then how my blogging has become more and more sparse with initially some dense areas and later on some blank ones.

I’ll probably do some iterations on this concept, one with some interaction and another one with blocks aggregated by day of the week.

Corporate obstacles in the Netherlands

I talked with Max Whitney at 25C3 for a bit to learn about how NYC Resistor came to be. The story seems to go something like this:

They find a loft in New York.
They find 9 people willing to plunk down some cash ($1000 each).
They setup a Limited Liability Company.
The LLC subleases the loft from the current leaser on a year contract.
Membership dues and workshop money (and the occasional party) pays the rent on the space.

This story is a stark contrast with what you would need to do in the Netherlands to setup something similar. I know because I’m in the market to expand our current coworking space both because we will be kicked out in April and because we could use some more space for stuff and projects.

So how is this different and much more difficult to setup in the Netherlands? There are a number of factors which contribute to this difficulty.


Zoning laws prohibit using something like a loft for commercial/office-like purposes. If you’re doing a startup, the boundary of what is your house and what is your place of work may blur, but in the Netherlands an office is an office and a home is not an office.

Municipalities especially will not want livable houses to be extracted from the housing market and occupied by businesses because a lot of them already face a housing shortage.

Personal investment

People just dropping in some cash to get a space started is probably easier in New York too. One factor Max mentioned was that leases are ridiculously expensive anyway so people are used to paying a lot of money.

But a more important factor probably is that there is a bigger culture in the US of personal investment. What is annoying to startups here is that there are so few European angels. There has hardly ever been a significant internet cashout in the Netherlands and neither do we see a lot of reinvestment happening. On both coasts of the US there seem to be more people with money who are willing to invest it into cool stuff. The vast majority of people with money in the Netherlands are more boring than anything.


Limited liability companies in the Netherlands are called a B.V. and they require a seed capital of €18’000 to start. This money does not have to remain there but it is still a sizable hurdle. In comparison a British Ltd. costs €100 to setup.

Setting up a Ltd and using that to enter into a lease agreement in the Netherlands would be frowned upon because Ltds have a historically bad reputation.

Another way around this may be to setup a voluntary association or a foundation but to be able to shoulder liability, these would need statutes which need to be acquired from a notary and require a significant fee.


Subleasing spaces in the Netherlands is usually frowned upon especially when the sublessor makes a profit. This is because a lot of houses in the Netherlands are rent controlled and are rented out at half or less of their market value.

This means that a lot of houses are not being utilized to their full market value and that the supply in houses is far too small (and the supply of officeplexes too big). Rather than having the market clear this mess up, we are stuck with this heavily entrenched real estate system.

Lease agreements

Office leases are usually agreed upon for a period of 5+5 years, which mean you get a five year contract with the option to extend it for another five years. This five year contract is in fact meant to protect the lessee from fickleness on the part of the lessor but it does not take into account the fact that businesses may not want to be tied down.

This would not be so much of a problem if limited liability companies were easier to setup (the company would then take on the lease) but I treated that above.

Critical market

To be able to partially fund a space on workshop and party revenues, it helps if there is a large pool of potentially interested people. With the scale of something such as New York that may be possible, it’s a bit harder for us in Delft. We are at the moment somewhat pressed to find a fourth coworker let alone people who’d be willing to pay money to support us.


None of the things I mention above are insurmountabel but I think they do in large part explain why Dutch business and venture culture is not as dynamic and booming as that in the US.