Contradictions and conflicts lie at the heart of port cities, with contemporary waterfront redevelopments offering the latest controversial associations to traditional maritime history. Tracing back classic urban renewal and modernization processes in maritime areas, this article develops a case study on a notorious pleasure neighborhood (the Zandstraatbuurt) in Rotterdam, eradicated when the Dutch port city entered a new stage of urban and industrial development in the decades around 1900. The case study is embedded within a conceptual framework on nostalgia and its connections to bygone sailor culture. Significant cultural imaginations of the historical pleasure district are discussed, and notable journalistic accounts help to assess how nostalgic sentiments attempted to shape the legacy of the neighborhood around the time of its dissolution. Finally, general newspaper coverage of the district after its turn-of-the-century life span is analyzed, thereby demonstrating the potential for further research on urban nostalgia in historical contexts.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information: The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The author received financial support for the research of this article from HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area) as part of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme “Public Spaces”.
Publisher Copyright: © The Author(s) 2022.