I had been to Thames Town and a Swedish town both in Shanghai, China. Both were so completely different so I decided to explore yet another town from the “One City, Nine Town” initiative. I choose Gaoqia, a Dutch inspired town mainly because it had a ginormous wooden clog and I wanted to see it for myself.
I took the 6 line to Hanjin Road and then took bus 611 for a few stops until I was able to see a church. I walked over and saw it in all its glory. I headed around it and saw the architecture that didn’t belong and a sign that said “Creativity Holland.”
I walked towards the water and saw the buildings, a small bridge, and of coarse a very large windmill. Because Holland. All seemed out of place in the Chinese city.
The main part of town was rather empty. I saw a new gym but no one inside. There were a few restaurants but it felt deserted. I saw very people walking and some others on their motorbikes. There was a man who seemed to be giving a tour of sorts but I wasn’t sure because this place was trying to look like Sweeden or for some other reason. For the most part in felt like a ghost town. I saw a man go in a building and it looked like it was just used for storage.
I still hadn’t been able to find the large wooden clog but with some more wandering I found it across the river.
It was just a ginormous as I thought it would be but it was faded and the paint was chipping. Inside it had dirt and a cigarette butt.
From the other side of the river, I got a new view of the windmill and buildings.
The whole thing felt so out of place. On the other side of the wooden Dutch shoe was car repair stores with signs in Mandarin. A few people walked by and even more were on their motorbikes. Two parents and a child came by and the little girl wanted to go inside the shoe just like me.
I sat in the giant dutch shoe in the outskirts of Shanghai, China and just laughed at the whole situation.
Compared to Thames Town and Luodian, the Holland Village was smaller and felt the most like a ghost town. And I don’t think it was because it was a cloudy Sunday afternoon in January. The bus I rode was very crowded and I didn’t get a seat either getting there or going back. There were shops and locals on the other side of the clog, the “true Chinese side.” Closer to the train station was lots of shops and restaurants and even multiple popular Chinese chain restaurants. They even had my favorite place to get dumplings, Yang’s Dumpling, which is a chain restaurant all over central Shanghai. I was really surprised but happy to see it since they have cheap and delicious dumplings. There was also the Chinese classics, KFC and McDonald’s (which are literally everywhere in China). They even had a Starbucks and when I went in it took a while to find a place to sit So clearly this area is not a ghost town. Its just this little strip of the Netherlands in Shanghai that was empty and misplaced.
How to get there: take Line 6 to Hanjin Road. Get off at Exit 1. Take bus number 611 towards 三岔港. Get off in four stops or you will see a church on your left in the distance. Walk to the church.