Geplaatst in Dutch, United States

Why?! 

Being a High School student in Winfield, Kansas I was frequently asked if Holland is near the Netherlands and if we speak Netherlandish?

Only a featherhead can ask a question like that, you might think, but actually I do understand the confusion.

Americans are citizens of the United States of America, Britains of Great Britain, Cubans of Cuba and so on, but what about the Dutch?

In France they speak French, in Turkey Turkish, in Germany German and in The Netherlands we speak Dutch!

To confuse you a bit more The Netherlands is also called Holland.

Another weird thing is the way the Dutch count. ’25’ is pronounced five and twenty instead of twenty five!

This all doesn’t make sense to me. Or will the Dutch proof that evolution CAN go in reverse. -Bregje

Geplaatst in Amsterdam

The heart and soul of Amsterdam

In August 2010, Amsterdam’s 17th-century Canal Ring was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. ‘Sites are selected on the basis of having cultural, historical, scientific or some other form of significance, and they are legally protected by international treaties. UNESCO regards these sites as being important to the collective interests of humanity.’ But what about the heart and soul of Amsterdam!?

The identity of the Amsterdam culture is also determined by its residents. What really concerns me is that the balance between the amount of tourist and the residents of Amsterdam is really getting out of hand.

I developed an enormous allergy to a certain kind of tourist over the past few years. Some giveaways how to spot an obnoxious tourist. They wear ‘Amsterdam hats’, carrying Van Gogh Museum or Heineken gift boxes, wear their backpack in their front, ride and park their yellow rental MacBikes where ever they please, and get stoned and drunk all day, every day.
 Amsterdam is one of the biking capitals of the world and the Dutch are outstanding and experienced bikers. Unfortunately most tourist have never ridden a bike in their entire life and and therefore taking a ride of Doom on their rental bikes. Not to mention the pedestrians walking around like Amsterdam is as an open air museum, not paying attention to any kind of transportation.

The beer-bike tourists can be labeled as the most nuisance of all. Beer-bikes are huge pedal trucks for drinking party-crews. Aspecifically the kind that have decided their drunkenness would be even more awesome if broadcast to an entire city. This type of tourist like to show their appreciation for historic architecture mainly by urinating on it.

The presence of an overload of tourists in the city is an expense of the quality of life in neighborhoods, and it impacts the availability of affordable subsidised apartments. Amsterdam is overcrowded with tourists and forecasts show that this will only get worse.

Please do not rip out the heart and soul of my presious Amsterdam. -Bregje-

Geplaatst in New York

Aging 

Nobody is eager to get older. Time will leave its imprint no matter how hard we try.
Wrinkles, droopy eyelids, stiff muscles, drooping buttocks and breasts, vision and hearing deteriorates and so on. Suddenly we are turning from a spring chicken into a blue hair. Or even worse you develop some sort of dementia. You might slow down the whole process of aging a bit by a healthy lifestyle, but there is no way back.

Whiting your teeth, dying your hair, using anti-aging products, leaving your partner for a younger copy, exchanging your sexy lingerie for some shapewear, plastic surgery: for some a ‘no go’ for others it’s a fine solution. A social debate. What’s still excepted and what’s not, is a thin line. What do we tell our children when they want to have plastic surgery?

Aging gracefully is about more than looks. It’s about accepting and appreciating the inevitability of getting older, taking care of  body and mind, and being your best self at any age. Be honest it’s a radiant personality what makes you beautiful. My grandma, she was a dazzling beauty till her last breath at the age of 98. Why can’t we appreciate the beauty of getting older?!

I have to admit aging is easier when you have good genes. -Bregje-

Geplaatst in Amsterdam

My tolerance is reaching its limit.

I am back home, as in back in Amsterdam, Holland. To my sorrow my trip to ‘The Big Apple’ has ended. Although seeing friends and family is nice.

Today I have lunch with one of my friends at the waterfront when a canal boat and a private boat bump into each other. To my opinion a captain of a small boat should know that bigger boat is less flexible. Not only because of their size, but also because of their ego’s. As I write this… Actually it might be the other way around. Men with small boats have bigger ego’s. Like men with big cars have small penises. Both captains get into a verbal fight. The passengers of the small boat seem to enjoy this verbal feud and start cheering like they are watching a game. The 10 passenger, all in their 60’s, are on day trip visiting ‘the big city’ of Amsterdam. You can tell they’re provincials by their accent, loud voices and way they behave. This sophisticated looking lady is clenching her fists like she is ready to fight. An also well dressed elderly man tries to lure out the other captain by provoking him to fight, meanwhile filming the scene.

Amsterdam gets a lot of tourist like this who miss behave themselves. Thinking in Amsterdam you can do whatever you want, because no body cares. I’ll bet they don’t act this way or would be amused if I would act the same way in their hometown. Not to mention the tourists who visit Amsterdam to drink or to get stoned.
Back to my story. As the captains were arguing, both boats are sailing in opposite directions. The cheering of passengers works like waving a red flag to a bull and the captain of the small boat jumps on the canal boat and runs upfront to the other captain. At that point we loose sight at the canal boat. I grap my phone and call 911. I tell the lady what just happened and point out the location of the incident. My hart is pounding. She ask me to describe the boat, the captain and the passengers. She tells me that a car is on it’s way, several calls came in on this incident. They might call me back as a witness Twenty minutes go by, the captain of the small boat has not returned jet. The so called sophisticated man, who before tried to drain the weasel, leaves the scene by foot and walks in the direction of the canal boat. After a while the older man returns to the boat and he takes over. He makes a turn with the boat and sails in the same direction as the canalboat. Meanwhile we see two policemen on the bridge. These men only know there was a crash between two boats. For my own safety I do not want the provincials to know that I called the cops. They ask me if they were aggressive as well. Maybe not aggressive but they sure adds fuel to the fire with their obnoxious behavior. One of the cops responds to me ‘what’s new!’ I go back to my friend. The boat with the ‘new’ captain, passes the cops.At the same time a boat of the water police department arrives at the scene. To my question if they have found the captain one of them respond ‘he just took off’. My friend and I leave the scene.

One hour and half later I have a call of the water police department. The cop, mr Stevens, wants to know if I am still at the scene. He would like me to describe the incident again, but since he is not able to write anything down, he will call me back later.
Seven thirty I get another call. The same guy. He asks me to describe what I’ve seen. I tell the whole story and he asks me some more details. Luckily the captain of the small boat came to his senses on time and left the boat. The cop thanks me for my input as a witness and that he has enough information on claim for damages. Outraged by his comment about the claim, I tell him that I called 911 because my concern of the safety of the captian. I don’t care about any claim. My tolerance is reaching its limit for sometime. Of course I am not talking about all provincials and tourists but a large part does not know how to behave like a guest. To my opinion these ‘guest’ ruin livability in Amsterdam. Mr. Stevens could not agree more. The police has to deal with this kind of visitors every day!

My respect to these men and women who join the police department. -Bregje-

Geplaatst in New York

Girl on a mission

Out of the blue I came up with the idea to use some ‘old school’ advertising on finding myself an other home swap over Christmas, by handing out some flyers in the neighborhood. Actually I came up with the idea when I noticed that Jack’s has a bulletin board. 

As always the firemen were helpful finding me a printing service. They send me to Stapples. 

After explaining briefly my purpose to this Leah girl, she helped me create a smart looking flyer. The hardest part was coming up with a catchy text in such a short notice. Since I was running out of time to get it all printed in time I just had to accept the fact that it could not be fully considered this time. 

The whole deal will cost me only $20.68 for 50 copies. Can’t wait to see the result. They will be ready by tomorrow afternoon. 

Gonna spend all day Sunday on handing out my flyers around the neighborhood. I might ask Isabel and Douglas to help me since they know everybody in ‘The Village’. -Bregje-