Monday, October 29, 2012

Neighborhood Demolition: Part I

It's been six months since I wrote about the bats being released in our neighborhood.  Remember that?  It was a big deal...preparation for the tear-down of the housing units around our retirement complex here in Gorinchem, Netherlands.

A lot has happened since then!  So, let's continue....

The hazmat suits came out when the asbestos roofs were torn down right next door to us.
We didn't know if we needed to be scared or not!  It's use is banned now, as you know.

This one face/man deserves his own collage because he's pivital to this entire project.
Not that I know the specifics but I do know he's been there from beginning to end.
Let's call him Homer, since that's in his e-mail address.
He works for GERB. St-Nicolaas B.V. in nearby Dordrecht.
And at this point, he's tearing down all the boards that had been put up to keep vagrants out.

Cohorts in crime!  They have worked hand-in-glove in every phase.
I love to watch how things unloading these huge dumpsters.

In the meantime, salvage crews came in for the tiles.
This particular guy was more dirty than dirt.  What a job!

 See how they figured it all out.  
Make a slide and keep those tiles from breaking, at all costs!
Gotta love the Dutch!

But don't ask me why these tiles weren't salvaged.
They were tossed every which way on our side of the street.

Another crew was tossing out from the inside.
If you're someone who likes to tear things down, this job's for you!

Now, as a review (see, it's like you've already visited us!)...that's our retirement complex on the left
with the narrow street that separates us from the tear-down buildings on the right (now all gone)...

...and here's that far-right building getting a strip job.
See the plastic awning top-center?
That takes you behind the building to our parking garage.
That's how close everything is to us.
And yes, that's Homer and his glove-mate!

Part I:  Like with so many other things in life, prep work has to happen before the real action begins.  Almost everything you see above happened before we left for America at the end of August. By the time we came back 2 weeks later, the steam shovel was out wreaking havoc.

To be continued.....


  1. Love seeing the part of the process I didn't see! This is a great post...felt as if I was right there with you! Hugs!

    1. I was just telling Astrid yesterday that I still can't believe we didn't show you around Gorinchem! It just means you'll definitely have to come back, Robin.

  2. What a wonderful record of the demolition. There seems to be big money in reclaimed materials from demolished buildings. The recycled bricks we got to build a raised bed were more expensive than new ones (but they look SO much better!)

    1. Thank you, Anne. I have a feeling the salvage business is very alive and well all over the world. You make a good point about the recycled bricks being more expensive. Some things "back then" were just made better...or, as you said, just look better. Good for you!

  3. I love the documentation, Boots. I wonder if the companies involved would like to have these photos? I really appreciate seeing this kind of painstaking work to maintain solid structures. I feel dismayed when I see them come and go so [seemingly to me] frivolously here in the U.S. :(

    1. Thank you, dear sister. I actually got the e-mail address of the Homer guy...who wanted me to send him pictures when they're all done. It's been a HUGE project, so I can imagine why they'd want to see if from beginning to end, just as we do.

      Astrid was surprised they didn't try to renovate these living units rather than tear them down. They're only 50 years old, which is young for Europe. Eventually they will rebuild, once they get enough money. Apparently that was cheaper?

  4. This is a great series of pictures. It is very interesting how they attacked this project. For me it was fun to trespass on Sunday early mornings, to get into the buildings and take pictures.
    Apparently the sewer system was very poor and with heavy rainfall the toilets would run over :( and other issues. Homer will be very impressed with these pictures.
    A wonderful memory!

    1. Aha. So now we may know why they had to tear them down. Makes sense! I know you had so much fun sneaking around on Sundays. It's hard to believe they're now all gone! WOW. Lots of memories for a long time....

  5. I find it very interesting and fascinating to watch people doing their work, especially in the construction or in this case deconstruction :). Pity they don't save the tiles for other uses.

    1. I agree, Maria. I love to see how things work. There seemed to be a LOT of stuff that was tossed during this demolition. Too bad. But then, maybe there's no market for it here???

  6. Jumping comment form... at last I caught it!!! My favorite collage of this batch is the one with the blue dumpster being moved into place... what fun it must have been to watch all this activity! And document it. :-) Onward and upward I go!!! :-)

    1. You are really a trooper, Victoria. THANK YOU!