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Corona 2020 ( the 15th of May)

Amsterdam, the 15th of May 2020.

It has been a while since the last time I wrote a page and now we are in the middle of a pandemic. The moment I am writing this ( the 15th of May) things look dire the world all over. According to the  Center for Systems Science and Engineering of the John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland (USA) there are now 4,5 million confirmed cases of people that are infected with the Corona virus and more than 300.000 people have died!

Over here in the Netherlands things are starting to get better, after a period that looked rather grim.

The death toll in the Netherlands is 5.590 people and 43.481 is the number for confirmed cases. Offcourse these are only numbers. You don’t see and feel  the drama behind these numbers. Occasionally when you watch television you can see the impact that the virus has on people. Right now the numbers are going down and the government is opening up the Dutch society, but very slowly. To my opinion rightly so because the danger of a second wave of infections is still present as you can see in China and South Korea.

Right now the elementary schools have opened up partially, it is possible for ‘contact jobs’ like barbers,  people working in nail studio’s , etcetera to open up their businesses and visits to nursing homes are made a little bit easier. There is an organisation called ‘ endcoronavirus.org’ which is even pleading for very strict limitations to try to erase the Corona virus completely. They are not saying that you have to maintain  the most strict limitatations all the time but that you have to be very careful to open up society. You can find more on their website: https://www.endcoronavirus.org/ .

We have to see what the effect will be after things have loosened a bit here in the Netherlands. There are allready a lot of people who want to see a relaxation of measures against the virus. An argument you hear a lot is that mostly elderly people are getting hit by Covid-19,  the disease that can be the result of being infected by Corona. It is true that the majority of people that die because of Covid-19 are elderly people but also young people get seriously ill and even die of Covid-19. Another argument you hear is that the flu is responsible for a high number of deaths but according to my opinion the difference is that we have have build up some form of immunity against the flu and not against Corona and because of that the Corona virus is spreading a lot faster. As a result you can see the devestation the Corona-virus is creating in for example the US, the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain. I wonder if people really know what the  effect of the virus is. The fact is that nobody really knows right now. New insights come everyday, but according to young people who dealt with the consequences of Covid-19 and  appeared on television they are still struggling with things like being very tired, having anxieties, and pains in lungs, shoulders and other places. A Professor at  Cambridge University, who appeared on Aljazeera Television,  explained that the virus can not only cause damage in the lungs but in other organs, like for instance the kidneys, as well. This may even end up for some people to be on a dialysies machine for the rest of their lives.

The strange thing offcourse is that if you look outside everything looks quite peaceful. The streets are more empty, children are playing outside or going on a walk with their parents and the stations and trains are more empty, all ‘n all it looks a bit like the situation in the fifties. I worked as a postman for half a year until I got fired because of this new Corona-situation and I witnessed the streets suddenly being almost empty while beforehand the streets were flooded with visitors.

But on the other hand you know that a lot of people are working like crazy in the hospitals and other people are stressed because they don’t know if they will still have a job in the future.

Let’s hope that commom sense will get into the heads of government leaders and that their will be more cooperation between different countries to get a grip on the pandemic.  We don’t know if we are in the beginning or a little bit further in the development of this new situation but I am sure that in the near future i will have to write some more about this dreadful topic.

Be careful and stay healthy!

 

Addendum:

-infected people in Amsterdam: 2223 patients, deceased: 243 people

-letter of the mayor of Amsterdam (Femke Halsema) : https://www.amsterdam.nl/en/press-releases/letter-from-mayor-3-may/

 

By |2020-06-11T12:02:06+02:00May 15th, 2020|People|1 Comment

The puppet theatre at Dam Square.

When I was a small boy, around four years old, my mother used to take me every week to a performance of a childrens puppet play at Dam Square, the most central square of the city, in front of the Royal Palace.

It was a performance called ‘Jan Klaassen en Katrijn’ which you can compare with ‘Punch and Judy’ in Great-Britain and ‘Pulcinella’ in Italy.

If you know the outline of the story you can imagine there was a lot of hitting and hiding on the side of the puppets and shouting on the side of the children!

My mother always waited very patiently till the end of the show while I was having the best time of my youth. And maybe she was enjoying it as well but I can not ask her anymore because she is dead and gone.

Last year on the 19th of August I went to a festival at Dam Square to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the puppet theatre. The whole afternoon there were performances not only of ‘Jan Klaassen en Katrijn’ but other performances as well by Bruno Leone from Napoli and Robert Styles from London ( ‘Pulcinella’ and ‘Punch and Judy’).

To make it even more attractive there was a small workshop for children where you could learn to make puppets, street theatre and slapstick. Children could even have their faces painted. As a decoration there was a four metre high puppet of Pulcinella. Many children were present and were having a very good time like I use to have some fifty-two years ago.

Around half way through the afternoon the current puppet player of Dam Square was given an award by the council of Amsterdam. You could see on his face that he was very proud!

This year I will definitely take my grandson to one of the performances!

On this page you can see my photo-impression of the day and a Youtube clip of a performance in the year 1940.

Amsterdam, the 17th of May 2019.

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Jan Klaassen en Katrijn
Punch and Judy

Pulcinella
Award for 125th anniversary

By |2019-05-18T13:17:58+02:00May 17th, 2019|People|0 Comments

AM4 datacentre

Datacentre AM4.

You can find a huge datacentre on the outskirts of town which is called AM4. It is located in the eastern part of town called Science Park, home to one of the largest concentrations of sciences. The AM4, a 72 meter high tower, was built next to the AM3 because the capacity of this latter building was not enough anymore. The owner of the building is called Equinix, a company from Silicon Valley. The buildingcosts are estimated at € 166 million.

What is stored in these buildings and what is their function?

In these buildings you can find big halls with a large number of iron cabinets. Servers are being locked up in these cabinets. Different customers, like Google or Netflix, can rent space for data on these servers.

On these servers you can find your facebook photo’s, tweets, data concerning Google and if you watch a Netflix film you can find it here as well. A lot of other commercial enterprises make use of this centre here but  organisations of the state as well.

There are a lot of security-people walking around. Only the people from Equinix who maintain the servers have regular access. Protection against sabotage is secured for instance through a moat around the building and handscanners used by security-people. A team of programmers are protecting the system against hackers. This is ofcourse very important because otherwise the danger exists that the economy of the Netherlands could become severely damaged.

Because the important machines are on the first floor they will stay dry in case of a dykebreach. The moment there is a power outage eight ship engines will take over.

Amsterdam is one of the most important internet hubs in Europe. A lot of company’s (around 80 %) use Amsterdam for their internet communication. It takes about 50 milli-seconds to reach another internet point in Europe. After London it is the biggest centre of data in Europe!

Amsterdam, the 6th of May 2019

Sources:

-Architectenweb b.v.

-Dutchitchannel.nl

-Bright.nl

-De Volkskrant. Tjerk Gualthérie Van Weezel,10th of august 2017

Interior
(free copyright)
By |2019-05-18T13:25:10+02:00May 6th, 2019|People|0 Comments

Special concert by Marja Nuut and Ruum.

Allready a while ago, the 29th of September to be precise, I went to a concert by the Estonian singer/musician Maarja Nuut and musician Ruum at one of the last record/cd stores of Amsterdam called Concerto. This record store is still trying to survive not only by selling cd’s and records but also, among other things, by way of selling comics, organising concerts, selling coffee and cakes. It is a well-known recordstore in town and especially on saturdays it can become very crowded. I know how hard it is to survive in this business because I had a cd shop for twelve years myself together with my businesspartner.   It was called ‘Le Disque d ‘Or’ and was located in the southern part of Amsterdam. For us the competition with the internet and big chains was just too much.

The concerts that are being held at Concerto are attended by a small but curious audience and it feels like you are attending a concert in a living room. You can get very close to the artists and the audience is really concentrated. They played a set of about five or six songs but this was enough to get a good idea of the music they are making together.

It is not easy to describe the music Maarja and Ruum were performing. I tried to translate one of the songs because I don’t understand any Estonian and found out that the lyrics are very poetic. The music is made by a combination of acoustic ( Maarja is playing the violin) and electronic instruments and ofcourse Maarja’s singing. The songs are being build up in very clever way. Maarja is using loops both when she is singing and when she is playing the violin. But maybe you should check out her website and watch a clip of the concert I made and see for yourself.

Maarja has toured the USA, Canada and Europe but she and Ruum are now touring Europe. In December they will give concerts in different places in Germany. They will even give a concert on the 13th of December at the Elb Philharmonie in Hamburg, a classical concert hall that just opened its doors a couple of years ago and is allready renowned for its architecture and acoustics. On Maarja’s website you can find the dates as well as a recommendation by Simon le Bon of Duran Duran.

I hope you enjoy the music as much as I do!

Amsterdam, the 26th of November 2018.

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By |2018-12-07T10:10:04+01:00November 26th, 2018|People|0 Comments

The composer Sweelinck.

  

One of the most famous composers of Amsterdam was a composer called Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck.

His name probably allready may have given you the idea that he lived some time ago. That is correct, he was born in 1562 in the dutch town called Deventer and died in Amsterdam in the year 1621.

He spend almost all his life in Amsterdam. In 1577 , at the age of 15, he followed up his father who was the organ player of ‘De Oude Kerk’ ( the Old Church).

One year later a very important event took place in Amsterdam called ‘de Alteratie’ (the change). It was during the time of the 80-year war between Spain and the Netherlands (which comprised more or less the territory of what we now call the Netherlands and Belgium) and the city made the protestant belief the ruling one. They now chose the ruling belief of the Netherlands and no longer the catholic faith of the spaniards. This meant that many catholics were evicted and catholic rituals were abolished in the churches. Organ playing was no longer allowed during services.

Offcourse this all made a huge impact on the young Sweelinck because he grew up in the tradition of accompanying services in church. But he could stay on as an organ player, it was his job to play the organ before and after the service and on weekdays he gave public concerts in the church.

Nowadays he is mostly known for his music for harpsichord and organ but in his own time he was more renowned for his vocal music. The strange thing is that his harpsichord and organ music were not printed at the time, only manually written manuscripts available, but his vocal music was published in authorised copies.

His fame as an organist was spread especially in the Netherlands and Germany and many organists came to visit him to take lessons.A couple of renowned organist were among them like Jacob Praetorius, Samuel Scheidt and Heinrich Scheidemann. They formed the foundation of the Northern- German organschool which also influenced Johann Sebastian Bach.

Four compositions for harpsichord that Sweelinck wrote were included in a book called the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, an English anthology on harpsichord music from the late renaissance and early baroque periods. He and a composer called Picchi were the only composers that were not english which to me says a lot about his fame during his time!

Not very much is known about his personal life. It is not even very clear which faith he preferred. He remained faithful to his catholic friends but was also in good contact with people who adhered to protestanism. He married Claesgen Dircxdochter Puyner in 1590 in a place called Medemblik about 60 kilometers north of Amsterdam. They had six children.

Sweelinck died on the 16th of october 1621 and was buried at the Oude Kerk. Two famous dutch poets,Vondel and Hooft, honoured him with an epitaph.

I really think his music is great, you can find a lot of diversity in his music, and if you want to hear some just use the following link: https://www.muziekweb.nl/Link/M00000239621/CLASSICAL/COMPOSER/Jan-Pieterszoon-Sweelinck

Amsterdam, the 9th of november 2018.

 

 

By |2018-12-07T10:13:06+01:00November 16th, 2018|Music., People|0 Comments

November is here again.

Afbeeldingsresultaten voor shoes with no socks  

The month of November has finally settled in. It’s getting chilly, people are staying indoors more and the leaves are falling to the ground.

Although today I saw a boy riding his bycicle wearing a light pants and t-shirt. He was probably practicing to become the new ‘Iceman’ or maybe he thought he was trendy and cool.

At the moment there is a man living in Amsterdam and in Poland called Wim Hof who is carrying this title now. Among other things he stood for almost one hour and 45 minutes in a tank filled with icecubes and he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro (5892 meters high) almost naked in 2009! The outcome of a research developed in 2014 was that Hof could influence his immunesystem by way of a respiratory technique. Very important seems to be the fact that he (and his twin brother as well) can produce more ‘brown fat’, that can produce bodywarmth, than an average person when they are confronted with extreme cold.

Coming back to new trends, I see quite a lot of people wearing shoes with no socks in summertime but as well now in november. David Byrne ( a singer-song writer and former leadsinger of a band called the Talking Heads) wrote decades ago a song called ‘Houses in motion’ about a man ‘wearing shoes with no socks in cold weather’. I am really wondering why people are doing these kind of things. Doesn’t the cold bother them or do they find it more important to look sharp. I will ask a couple of people in the next coming days and will come back to it.

In his article ‘Monate’ (Months) the german journalist and writer who was born on the 27th of december 1907 and died on the 2nd of january 1999 is characterising the different months of the year. The months are like individuals to him, more than the seasons that remain more abstract. He compares the changing of months to the change of government. When there is a new government nothing really changes at first. The minister reads all the old documents to see what he can change. It will all stay the same, he proclaims, but after he finished reading them he will start with big changes.

According to Haffner only three month are really vicious, three are lovely and the rest is acceptable (‘bösartig’, ‘liebenwert’ and ‘annehmbar’).  November and December belong to the months that are vicious. The other one is April.

November is a month without a clear character for him. The first part of it is linked to October and for Haffner the real November is actually the month of December. If you look close at November it is better than it’s call. November is bearable like a moderate flu and it promotes the consumption of alcohol (about december Haffner is not so mild, according to him the following charactererisations apply: musty, dreadfulness, pulpy dreariness (‘breiiger Langweiligkeit’), sliminess, darkness and despair).

If you are curious you can read more about the months in his book ‘Das Leben der Füßgänger’, page 21- 26.

Amsterdam, the 15th of November.

Sources:

-Sebastian Haffner, Das Leben der Fußgänger, Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag, april 2006, pages 21-26

-Remain in light (record), Talking Heads, Sire records 1980, song ‘Houses in motion’

Wim Hof . The Iceman.                                      Sebastian Haffner

By |2019-05-21T09:57:51+02:00November 15th, 2018|People|0 Comments

A wonderful concert by Rembrandt Frerichs.

Last Saturday I went to a concert by a Dutch pianist called Rembrandt Frerichs and a group especially formed for this occasion.
The title of the concert was ‘Chiaroscuro’ and it referred to the way of painting Rembrandt van Rijn is famous for. The group took off with this concept of light and dark and tried to express this in a musical way. To my opinion they succeeded very well and just to give you an example of what they played: Mood Indigo by Duke Ellington ( which put a smile on lots of faces) and a piece of the composer Messiaen from his cycle ‘Quator pour la fin du temps’ ( which is offcourse a piece with a very dark mood). This last piece moved me a lot. It is difficult to categorise their music. It is not jazz, neither is it classical, you can only put the label ‘improvisation’ on it.
The group consisted of Rembrandt Frerichs on fortepiano, Tony Overwater on violone ( a sort of cello especially build for Tony), Vinsent Planjer on whisper kit ( a sort of drum kit build by Vinsent on which he can make soft sounds), Ties Mellema on three sorts of saxophone and Maria-Paula Majoor on violin.
Rembrandt is playing the fortepiano ( the ancestor of the piano we hear now most of the time) because he felt the sound of it is better accompanying the music he is performing nowadays.A fortepiano was especcially built for him by the Belgian master piano builder Chris Maene in the spring of 2014.
Rembrandt and his trio are touring the world, collaborating with local musicians, for instance with Kayhan Kalhor, in Iran and London last year and this year in the Netherlands. Another musician they have played with is the famous Italian trumpet player Paolo Fresu. You can find some of their musical collaboration on Youtube. Paolo Fresu is one of my favourite trumpet players, sometimes remembering me of the way Miles Davis use to play, but has ofcourse also a style of his own.
Unfortunately I was captured by the music so much that I didn’t film anything which is a pity in retrospect. Maybe Frerichs or somebody else will post something on Youtube. If so than I will put the link on my website.

Amsterdam, the 7th of October 2018

By |2018-12-07T10:14:58+01:00November 13th, 2018|People|52 Comments

Amsterdam and its inhabitants.

Yesterday I was roaming the streets of Amsterdam with the goal in mind to interview a couple of inhabitants. I watched several people passing by but it looked as if they were not really in the mood for an interview. It was a saturday morning and people were either doing their groceries or were in a hurry, on their way to somebody or something, trying to catch a bus or a train. So after a while I felt quite discouraged and was almost giving up for this day.

But then I met a very nice couple, a father called Sinew and his daughter called Dhairjee, who were living in Amsterdam for approximately 40 years now. At first the daughter told me that they were a bit in a hurry but they agreed to let me ask a couple of questions about their life in Amsterdam and a very nice small conversation started.

They were originally from Surinam and were now living separately in a neighbourhood called the ‘Indische Buurt’ in the eastern part of Amsterdam.

A neighboorhood where I lived for more than ten years. I had a very unpleasant experience there. After I had moved in to my apartment  I was mugged after three months. So that definitely set the tone! The guy that robbed me said that he wanted my money, but probably to be friendly,  that he did not want all of it. He put something sharp on my groin so I looked in my wallet and saw two notes. One of 100 guilders and one 25 ( this was all before the euro). Because he did not want all of my money I took out the 25-note. He was not really happy with the amount and now the strange thing happened that he gave me back my 25-note and said that he wanted the other note. So I gave him that and then he quickly went away.

Now this neighboorhood has been cleaned up a lot (new houses and restaurants and bars, etcetera). Dhairjee and Sinew told me that they felt safe now ( people had been breaking in to the apartment of Sinew some ten years ago). Sometimes Dhairjee has to go to work at 6.00 o’clock and a lot of the times she sees policemen patroll the neighboorhood and this gives her a safe feeling.

Dhairjee told me that she feels very much at home now in Amsterdam. If she visits other cities she always feels a bit out of place and when she goes back to Amsterdam it is really like a sort of homecoming!

But the city is changing rapidly, especially these last years. ‘A lot of new houses, different nationalities, more visitors’, Dhairjee told me. Sometimes she does not feel very at ease in the centre of town because different groups of men who are visiting Amsterdam are adressing her not in a very nice way.

If they visit the center of Amsterdam they walk or take the tram. Dhairjee likes to walk around a bit, go to the cinema and goes out for dinner. Ocassionally she visits a museum. She definitly does not like musicals!

There are a lot of options to do the groceries in their neighboorhood but they prefer to go to the market called ‘De Dappermarkt’. And this was what they were going to do so I thanked them and we said goodbye. Dhairjee told me that she did not like me taking a photograph of the both of them so I don’t have any picture of them.

Later I met mrs. Helen but she was in a hurry and gave me her card so that I could ask her a couple of things some other time. Fortunately I could take a photograph of her so that is the one you will see at the top of this post.

Amsterdam, 13th of October 2018.

Addendum 27th of November 2018:

I had a talk with mrs. Helen and this is the result:

She is the owner of a Beauty Nails & Hair Institute on the Wittenburgerkade 141. I watched her at work and I must say that she looked like a real craftswoman to me. Her enterprise has the judicial form of a foundation. Helen is working together with the city of Amsterdam to help trainees find a place to learn things of her trade and help people who are out of work and for whom it is difficult to find a new job.

Right now the city government is changing the whole appearance of the street and it will become definetly nicer in the future according to her opinion. With more space for pedestrians and bikers. It will look more like a boulevard.

Helen has a circle of clients in Amsterdam as well as outside the city. She is approaching them via social media and customers speak about their good experience and by doing so new customers come into her institute.

At the moment Helen is not living in Amsterdam though she lived in town for a number of years. She likes the city but at the moment the city centre is very crowded and she prefers a more natural environment for children to grow up with. Although her children are big now she prefers to stay in a smaller place. For her it is good to work and live in different places.

Because of her busy job Helen does not have to time to wander through the city but what she likes best about Amsterdam is the fact that that there are so many different people here. She likes to watch them and make contact with them from time to time.

It is autumn now in Amsterdam and Helen is happy that we have four seasons in Amsterdam, all with their own charm!

By |2018-12-07T10:16:52+01:00October 14th, 2018|People|0 Comments

New plan.

Cycling in Amsterdam has been since the 50’s of the last century a major way of transport. But now since the city is growing again and more visitors come to Amsterdam things have gotten a little bit out of hand. So the city council made up a plan to improve things.

First let’s look ut some numbers: in 2015 there were 847,000 bycicles in town, 665,000 bikejourneys per day and the total annual distance covered by bike was 760,000,000 km.

A big challenge is that there is a limited space in town for all these cyclists so this has to be reconsidered. New cycle streets and cycle junctions are being developed.New parking garages for bycicles are being developed. There are already 16.000 spaces for bycicles but in the next coming years 24.000 more spaces are being created. Amsterdam is experimenting with ‘guest roads’, i.e. roads where motorists can only drive slowly and cyclist have priority. The motorists are the ‘guests’ in these roads.

The outcome of several studies have shown that people on bycicles are communicating more easily by way of eye contact and body language than motorists. An example is that somebody riding a bycicle can nod his head to give priority to some else, a thing that is much more difficult in a car. Overregulation, for instance using a trafficlight, is demotivating this kind of social behaviour. Letting go of a number of rules may lead to a little more stress and friction but the benefit is that there is more interaction between individuals.  You can see this whole discussion on a bigger scale, i.e. in our society as a whole; ‘do we focus on peoples vices or their virtues?’ ( Marco te Broemmelstroet, Plan Amsterdam 2018-2, page 25.

You can read the mayor conclusions in a magazine called Plan Amsterdam ( giving way to cyclists, 2-2018) which has also been translated into english. You have too use this link: https://issuu.com/gemeenteamsterdam/docs/planam-02-2018?e=19262377/60588007

Since 2016 Amsterdam has a bycicle-mayor. In 2017 Katelijne Boerma was chosen and she is in contact with bycicle mayors of Mexico City, Sidney, Cape Town, Rio de Janeiro and others. She tells them about her experience in Amsterdam and listens to experiences and plans of the other mayors.

Katelijne wants to focus on three objectives: 1. ‘To promote the bycicle as a healthy, social and sustainable mode of transport’. 2. ‘Be considerate to each other, also when riding your bike’. 3. ‘Improve safety for children, so that more Amsterdam children can cycle independently to school’.

She will be satisfied when she has achieved those things. Reaching a wider audience than the cyclists, for instance people who drive a car and people who drive mopeds. She is setting up a graduate course with the mission to make 50% of all journeys in cities bycicle journeys ( so not only in Amsterdam). And last but not least she is developing with other people an Amsterdam Impact Index for bycicles, for bycicle mayors in other cities to use.

Especially my wife is complaining that cyclist in Amsterdam are not very considerate to each other and pedestrians. She even calls them ‘those militant cyclists’. And I think she is right. Ofcourse because I was born and raised in this town I am quite used to this kind of behaviour, and to be honest when I was younger I used to cycle in this anarchist way, but now I have this braindamage I am more aware of the speed with which people cycle and are doing all kinds of strange things.

Amsterdam, the 25th of September 2018

Sources:  Magazine Plan Amsterdam 2018-2, Ruwan Aluvihare, Vera van den Bos, Ria Hilhorst, Thomas Koorn, Sjoerd Linders and Kees Vernooij.

 

By |2019-07-08T10:09:20+02:00September 26th, 2018|People|0 Comments

The Victoria hotel.

Opposite the Central station was build in 1889 a hotel to accomodate the passengers arriving by train in Amsterdam. The history of this hotel was very remarkable. During the second half of the nineteenth century Amsterdam was changing a lot.

After a period of decline the city got a new boost because of the development of new techniques like the arrival of the train and new industrial developments. This was called the ‘second Golden Age’. The first ‘Golden Age’ being the period in the seventeenth century where you saw an economical boost because of the money that was made in the trade of spices, slaves and other economical activities.

Coming back to the nineteenth century a number of new hotels were built in the city. One of the most prominent being the American Hotel at the Leidseplein.

A german architect , called Johann Friedrich Henkenhaf, had a vision of a new hotel close to the newly built Central Station ( which was finished in 1889) that received passengers coming into Amsterdam. A very good location. There was only one problem. A complete row of houses had to be torn down to make space for this new hotel!

Henkenhaf offered a sum of money to the inhabitants of these houses so that they could leave. There was only one problem. One of the inhabitants, he was acting as a representative for another inhabitant, did not accept the sum of money Henkenhaf offered. Even negotiations between them could not solve this problem. So at a certain point Henkenhaf decided to build his hotel with these two houses still standing. The hotel opened its doors in 1890.

And this is still the situation until today! If you look close at he Victoria Hotel you can see the hotel which was build around these two houses. In the 20th century two major extensions of the hotel were made. During the excavations they found foundations of a medieval chapel and several houses.

In 1999 a fiction book called ‘Publieke werken’, by Thomas Roosenboom, was published in the Netherlands.This book was translated in various languages like for instance German (Neue Zeiten), Danish and Hungarian. A movie with the same name, directed by Joram Lürsen, came out in 2015. The book and the movie were both great successes.

Amsterdam, 14th of August 2018

Sources:

– d’ Ailly’s Historische gids van Amsterdam, Gerrit Vermeer en Ben Rebel, Amsterdam publishers 2000.

-Publieke werken, Thomas Roosenboom, Querido, Amsterdam 2018

-Geschiedenis van Amsterdam, 1578-1650 (part II-1), W.T.M. Frijhoff (Editor), M. Prak (Editor), M. Carasso-Kok (Editor) Sun, Amsterdam 2004

Geschiedenis van Amsterdam, 1650-1813 (part II-2), W.T.M. Frijhoff (Editor), M. Prak (Editor), M. Carasso-Kok (Editor), Sun, Amsterdam 2005

 

By |2018-12-13T12:41:06+01:00September 15th, 2018|People|0 Comments

Robinia tree.

Yesterday I went to the neighbourhood of the ‘Concertgebouw’ to see a street called the ‘van Schuytstraat’ lined with trees that were now flowering. I didn’t know what kind of trees they were but they looked very beautiful! The whole street was packed with those trees so I became very curious what kind of trees they were.

After some research I found out that they are called Robinia or ‘valse Acacia’s’ (in dutch). It’s official name is Robinia pseudo-acacia. Robinia is referring to two doctors, Jean and Vespasian Robin, of the French king Henry the fourth. The second part of its name is derived from the fact that this tree is not belonging to the family of the acacia’s but look like it because of its sharp spines on its branches. Hence ‘pseudo-acacia’.

The tree is very strong and is being used in europe as an alternative to tropical hard wood since the European Union made import of non-sustainable planted wood illegal (since 2000).
The trunk of the tree has deep grooves, is bare and has sharp spines. The tree is flowering in may, june and july. Its flowers are white and are hanging in clusters.
In autumn long bare pods remain.

Amsterdam, the 25th of April 2018

By |2018-12-13T12:42:22+01:00September 15th, 2018|People|0 Comments

FLOWERBIKEMAN.

A very nice initiative was started in Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago. Suddenly bikes decorated with artificial flowers popped up on different bridges in Amsterdam! Sometimes they were grouped together on one bridge and sometimes each bike was separately locked to  several bridges close to each other.

 They coloured the somehow dull neighbourhoods and were a real eyecatcher. The bikes stayed for sometime on one bridge and were suddenly moved to another. All’n all there were four bikes: two yellow ones, one red one and the last one purple-blue. I.e. there seemed to be a preference for primary colours.

I took a couple of photographs and saw that the whole thing was an initiative of the FLOWERBIKEMAN! You could see that he had spend a lot of time decorating the bikes.

On the yellow bike you could see a lot of sunflowers ( a reference to van Gogh?).  On the same bike I saw a weathered cardboard mentioning his name and that you could find him on Instagram.

He seemes to be an artist and I hope that he is already working on a new initiative!

Amsterdam,  the 15th September 2018

By |2018-12-07T10:20:38+01:00September 15th, 2018|People|0 Comments