Wilted Flowers at NDSM, Amsterdam

Wilted bunch of flowers, seen at NDSM, Amsterdam. © Copyright Anton Hein.

NDSM, a former shipyard that transformed into an arts incubator zone, is a fantastic playground for photographers. Rife with graffiti and other arts expressions, repurposed industrial buildings, and old and new ships, it is an endless source of inspiration.

See something interesting? Take a photo, for it will probably be gone by tomorrow — if it even lasts that long.

This rough-along-the-edges rafelrand in Dutch — hotspot in Amsterdam Noord is in my backyard, so to speak. I often walk here, just to see what’s new, to meet up with friends, or just to relax while eating lunch along the banks of the river IJ.

I saw this bunch of wilted flowers the other day, when I was already heading back home. There’s nothing much around that spot. Just some corrugated iron buildings housing workshops, a garage, and the backoffice of a restaurant.

The vibrant colors struck me, as did the juxtaposition between the rough concrete and the delicate flowers.

Even before I took this photo, I wondered what happend. What’s the story behind this discarded bouquet?

This is not the kind of place where you’d wait to meet up with a date. It looks like the flowers weren’t thrown away in anger. There’s a fence between the office and the street, so it is not likely that someone from the restaurant’s office popped out to discard them. Besides, aside from the fact that the flowers are wilted, their colors suggest they were not past their prime when they were thrown out.

So, here’s what I think may have occurred. Guy meets girl in the restaurant, on a first date, perhaps. Or the flowers were meant to celebrate another occasion. Meal finished, the two left the restaurant — the girl, or the guy, carrying the bouquet. Around the corner they stop, stare into each other’s eyes, and kiss. One kiss turns into another, and — in anticipation of an embrace — the bouquet is laid down on the concrete block.

After a while, they resumed their walk — thinking about everything but the flowers.

I’m just guessing, really.

Anton Hein

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