I have been in the U.S. for almost 2 months now. I have come across a number of things the rest of the world calls ‘Dutch,’ even though the Dutch themselves have no idea what they are talking about. Continue reading
It’s right after midnight when the landscape becomes hillier and the road starts to slope up and down. Half an hour earlier, we drove across the George Washington Bridge. On both sides of the road I see woods that seem dense in the dark, although I can’t determine the type of trees. Continue reading
The past, say, 16 months Sarah and I have been working on my emigration to the U.S. Hundreds if not thousands of euros were spent and a Brazilian rain forest had to be cut for all the forms we needed to fill out. Most of the process is just a seemingly unending string of tiresome and repetitive activities. It’s not difficult necessarily, it’s just a lot of work.
But at some points along the way you are caught unaware, and jumped by problems that cannot be solved that easily. My (current) top 4 in this post. Continue reading
In the past days the Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas has been criticised more severely than ever, or so it seems. The discussion culminated in the involvement of the United Nations a few days ago. U.N. reporters apparently received information that the tradition of Sinterklaas is in essence racist, and that Zwarte Piet, stupid and a servant, feeds the stereotype of Africans as second class citizens. Dutch citizens, activated by explicit racial accusations and demands to abolish their much-loved tradition, somewhat to my surprise revolted. Online petitions received hundreds of thousands of ‘likes’. Maurice de Hond, mostly known as a the most important ‘pollster’ about elections in the Netherlands, reported that a staggering 92% of Dutch people says that there is nothing to worry about, that there is no racism involved, and that it’s just about a great feast for children. Similarly, De Telegraaf (a Dutch newspaper) surveyed 5.000 people, finding similar conclusions.
I don’t wish to reiterate all the points one can find in public discussions; I do however want to make 3 points:
- The tradition is already lost: A prediction
- The tradition is already lost: The influence of current discussions on future celebrations
- The U.N. – WTF?!
As a child I was crazy about dinosaurs. It turns out that much of that craziness is somehow related to Steven Spielberg. It all started with Littlefoot, a little Apatosaurus. He starred in an extensive series of cartoons. The most notable, scary, heartbreaking, and profitable one is the first, The Land Before Time, in which Littlefoot finds his way to the Green Valley through a lot of hardships, mostly caused by a cruel, big Tyrannosaurus. I remember watching it dozens of times, Littlefoot fighting with Herbie for my attention, and I am not shy to admit that I watched it once more quite recently.
Some argue that the Dutch are obsessed with the weather, or that they at least like to discuss it. Well, let me throw in some little discussion of my own, then!
From September 2011 onwards I lived for about a year in London, a city known for a lot, but not for good weather. I guess I have been very lucky, since I liked the weather in London just fine. London weather is said to be “hugely unpredictable, oscillating between heavy rain and scorching sunshine within the space of minutes.”