Adverts don’t work…

on me normally, as I’m over the age of 30 and know what I like. To be honest, a lot of them now make little sense, as it’s been years since I was in touch with the cultural zeitgeist and have no idea of the multi-layered facets and references which have been lovingly interwoven by those hard-working guys in the ad agencies.

However, occasionally one makes it through.

This is VERY tempting. Sadly, it’s too early in terms of my availability but it has prompted thoughts for slightly later, which would fit in with my traditional time to visit The Netherlands. Hmmm, let me ponder….

Like being there

You should, if you can, head off to Den Haag and The Maurishuis to see the beautiful city and art but if you can’t and would like to see the most famous Vermeer in the world, this photo will save you money on the trip. Of all the photos of Het meisje met de parel I’ve seen on-line, this is the most realistic impression of what it’s like to stand in front of the painting. Click to zoom in!


Amsterdam 2016

I had a great time in The Netherlands again and managed to revisit much of Amsterdam, Den Haag and Delft. Sadly a chest infection and some bad blisters on my feet put paid to some other planned trips. My consolation was and will be two-fold, First I had to take it easy, for the latter part of my trip, in the many canal-side cafes and bars of Amsterdam. Second,  I will have to revisit the country to see the places I missed out on this time.

Please click on the photo to see some shots of the fantastic places in the glorious sunshine I visited.



Well with remarkable (although entirely unplanned) timing, I’m just off to Amsterdam and Beyond for a week and spotted that I’ve been learning Dutch for a year on Duolingo. Now I should put it in practice. Pity the Dutch ears!


Amsterdam, hier ik kom

The Netherlands, Holland, Amsterdam, Aerial

In a fit of rash impetuousness, without any forethought, I bought a KLM ticket to Amsterdam. I was then compelled to book a hotel.  £700 and 20 minutes later, I have my first holiday of the year booked. I’m in The Bridge Hotel, or as we fluent Dutch speakers say De Brug Hotel, so named as it’s adjacent to the famous Magere Brug or skinny bridge over the Amstel which you can see in the bottom right of the picture above.

Plans for this trip are:

  • Speak Dutch to a Dutch person without embarrassment
  • Understand as much Dutch as I can
  • Visit the Anne Frank Huis which I missed on my last visit
  • Pay an inquisitive (non-purchasing) visit to the red light area, which I also missed the last time
  • Revisit Den Haag and the Mauritshuis to see the Veermeers, including my special friend Het meisje met parel
  • Nip down to Delft or Leiden
  • Go somewhere else maybe Den Helder, Arnhem or Groningen
  • Smoke a whole spliff not chicken out at the namby-pamby half way stage
  • Visit some nice Rolex shops

Early May cannot come soon enough.


Dutch Ted Talk

Ted Talk by General Peter Van Uhm Nov 2011

Speech given in English.
Translated into Dutch by Rik Delaet Reviewed by Axel Saffran
Translated back into English by dkpw.

And if you see an underlined word in Dutch, that’s one I had to look up in my Van Dale dictionary! It was a fun exercise, not quick by any means but still a far more enjoyable experience than translating Latin when at school. If anyone with Dutch would like to correct my translation, please feel free!

Als hoogste militaire commandant van Nederland, met troepen over de hele wereld, ben ik echt

As the highest military commander of The Netherlands with troops over the whole world, I am

vereerd om hier vandaag te zijn. Als ik rondkijk op deze TEDxAmsterdam locatie, zie ik een heel

really honoured to be here today. When I look around at this TedTalk in Amsterdam, I see a very

bijzonder publiek. Jullie zijn de reden waarom heb ik ja heb gezegd op de uitnodiging om vandaag

special audience. You are the reason why I said “Yes” to the invitation to come here today.

hierheen te komen.

Als ik rondkijk, zie ik mensen die een bijdrage willen leveren. Ik zie mensen die een betere wereld

When I look around, I see people who want to contribute. I see people who want to make a better

willen maken, door het doen van baanbrekend wetenschappelijk werk, door het creëren van

world, through the use of ground-breaking scientific work, through the creation of impressive

indrukwekkende kunstwerken, door het schrijven van kritische artikelen of inspirerende boeken,

artworks, by writing critical articles or inspiring books, by setting up sustainable businesses. You

door het opstarten van duurzame bedrijven. Jullie hebben je eigen instrumenten gekozen om deze

have chosen your own instruments to carry out this mission of creating a better world. Some chose

missie te vervullen van het creëren van een betere wereld. Sommigen kozen de microscoop als hun

the microscope as their tool. Others chose dancing or painting or making music like we have just

instrument. Anderen kozen dansen of schilderen of het maken van muziek zoals we net hebben

heard. Some chose the pen. Others work through the means of money.

gehoord. Sommigen kozen de pen. Anderen werken door middel van het instrument van het geld.

Dames en heren, ik maakte een andere keuze. Bedankt. Dames en heren – (Gelach) (Applaus) Ik

Ladies and gentlemen, I made another choice. Thank you. Ladies & gentlemen, I seek the same.

streef naar hetzelfde doel. Ik deel de doelen van de sprekers die aan het woord zijn geweest. Ik heb

goal. I share the goal of the speakers who have already spoken. I have not chosen the pen, the

niet gekozen voor de pen, het penseel of de camera. Ik koos voor dit instrument. Ik koos voor het

paintbrush or the camera. I choose this instrument. I choose the gun.



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