Celebrating the beginning of a new year is a ritual practised by most cultures, even if it takes place at times other than 1 January. If you are Chinese, you won’t be getting too excited this year until 16 February, the beginning of the zodiac year of the Dog. Meanwhile, the Balinese will mark the … Continue reading Oudejaarsavond
Branching out a little from reflecting on Dutch culture and society, I thought I would post this piece about climbing Gunung Merapi, an active volcano in Java, with my son: Golden Carriage to the Sea Some people dream of sailing solo across titanic oceans, others of scaling impossibly lofty peaks. Mine as a small boy … Continue reading Golden carriage to the sea
While cycling through the buurten (neighbourhoods) of Den Haag, on the way to explore the beautiful sand dunes that make up the Meijendel reserve between Scheveningen and Wassenaar, I was fascinated by the sight of numerous, seemingly liberated school bags suspended from flagpoles that protruded from houses and apartments. Fluttering Dutch flags shared the poles … Continue reading Schooltas op de vlagpaal
The importance of fietsen (bicycles) in Dutch culture is visible and tangible, but what is the symbolism underpinning this globally recognised phenomenon? Spend any time hanging on a street corner at various times of the day and you will observe the many and varied uses of the humble two-wheeler. Actually, some are not so humble … Continue reading Fietsen, fietsen and more fietsen…..
It’s pretty special to explore parts of a building that have only been open to the public twice in the last 200 years. Such was the case when Open Monumentendag rolled around on Saturday 10 September in Den Haag. When our delightful neighbour heard that we were planning to get amongst the action, she told … Continue reading Open Monumentendag: the Binnenhof
What would Horace Miner (Nacirema, 1956) have made of this? One afternoon at the beach we observed the interesting Dutch ritual depicted in the image above - a nearby university was running some of its orientation activities for new students, one of which involved attempting to play football while encased in an inflated plastic 'ball' … Continue reading Op het strand