To reach this oasis of green, you just hop on an elevator. Situated on the flat roof of an office building in north Rotterdam is Dakakker, Europe’s largest rooftop farm. Spinach, beets, rhubarb, and squash flourish amid skyscrapers, apartment blocks, railway lines, and busy streets. The odours of mint and verbena fill the air, as bees buzz around their hive boxes.
Ai Ming Oei is all smiles. The sun is shining, and people of all ages sit together sipping coffee. “Dakakker’s a good example of what I like about Rotterdam,” says the musician. “It’s a young city, a place where new things can grow.”
Mingue, as the artist with Chinese, Surinamese, and Dutch roots calls herself, is a sought-after vocalist on the Deep House circuit. She plans to stop giving singing lessons soon in order to concentrate fully on her various projects, which incorporate music, video, visual art, and dance. “In Rotterdam you can get things off the ground that wouldn’t have a chance anyplace else,” explains Mingue. “And it’s precisely because this down-to-earth city is so unfinished and rough.”